The speech made by Lindsay Hoyle, the Speaker of the House of Commons, on 12 April 2021.
We meet today to pay tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh, who has been at the side of Her Majesty the Queen for more than seven decades, giving his unwavering support both as a husband and as a consort.
Described by Her Majesty as “my strength and stay”, for most of us Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, has always been there, providing this nation with a reassuring presence. Whether he was attending with such dignity the formal occasions when the Queen attended Parliament for the state opening, or visiting different places within the UK or in an overseas country, his support and loyalty were always clearly displayed. He was the longest serving consort in history and the oldest partner of a serving monarch. He never let the Queen down.
His passing also marks the end of an era. He was one of the last surviving heroes of the second world war, serving as an officer in the Royal Navy with distinction, and was heavily decorated for his bravery and long service. A qualified pilot, he gained his helicopter wings, became admiral of the fleet for over 50 years and helped to design the royal yacht Britannia. He visited troops in Iraq, travelled with the Queen throughout the Commonwealth and overseas territories, and stepped down from official royal duties only at the age of 96.
Outspoken, with a great sense of humour, he was not afraid of talking openly about issues that were close to him. He will be remembered for his loyal devotion to service and his leadership of hundreds of causes close to his heart. Perhaps his finest achievement was the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, which has helped millions of young people around the world to achieve their full potential as team members and future leaders in their chosen fields. As a moderniser and public reformer, he promoted the latest in engineering and design. As a pioneer in the World Wildlife Fund, he travelled widely to secure public interest in nature and its protection.
His sporting interests were wide-ranging. As a sailor, he regularly attended Cowes week for the regatta. He was a cricket enthusiast and player. He also took part in horse riding and performed as a top polo player. He was a winner for Britain, too, at carriage driving, which he took up later in life.
In March 2011, the Duke accompanied the Queen to Parliament for the diamond jubilee celebrations. I had the pleasure of introducing him to groups of Members waiting to greet him. I remember his interest in ties that Members were wearing, particularly if they showed a connection with the armed forces. He also had a special ability to put people at ease.
As we reflect on a life well lived, we should not forget the wide-ranging achievements of Prince Philip: the ambassador, serviceman, scientist, artist, naturalist, committee chairman, traveller and loyal supporter of the United Kingdom, the overseas territories and the Commonwealth. But we should always remember him as a family man: a devoted husband, a father, a grandfather and a great-grandfather. He was, without doubt, the father of the nation. He will surely be missed and impossible to replace.