Cambridgeshire mourns death of HRH Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh
- Credit: ELY CAMBRIDGESHIRE OLD PHOTOS PICTURES LOCAL HISTORY
Tributes have been paid to His Royal Highness Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, who has died aged 99.
As flags fly at half-mast across the county, including at Ely Cathedral, the Lord-Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire and Dean of Ely are among those to share memories of Philip's visits.
A special service will be held at Ely Cathedral to remember the life of HRH, Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh. Details will be confirmed over the next few days.
St Dunstan's Chapel has been reserved for private prayer or prayer with a member of the clergy.
In April 1987 the Queen and HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, visited Ely for a Maundy Service at the cathedral.
It was only the third time a reigning monarch had been to the city in 700 years.
When he returned to the city during the Queen's Jubilee of 2002, HRH was introduced to Ely dignitaries including the Mayor, Sheila Friend-Smith, MP Jim Paice and others.
A local online group said the Labour Councillors at the time boycotted the visit as they would have preferred to build houses on the site that is now Ely's Jubilee Gardens.
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Several Ely school children were privileged to meet and talk to the Duke.
HRH was also happy to meet with a few local well-wishers who were of course happy to meet the Prince.
A maple tree was planted to commemorate the special event.
The Duke also unveiled a carved commemorative stone - a tonne of Cumbrian green slate - which had been inscribed by Sutton calligrapher Tom Perkins.
Lord-Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, Julie Spence, said: "I would like to convey to Her Majesty The Queen, the deep sympathy felt by the whole of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough on hearing the sad news of the death of HRH Prince Philip The Duke of Edinburgh.
"While the whole country mourns, this can be as nothing to the feelings of The Queen who has lost not just her husband of 73 years.
"But also her most steadfast support throughout the whole of her reign, as the longest serving British Consort.
"And of course, to his family who have lost a beloved father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
"We will remember him with love and affection for the frequent visits he has made to this county, which included the period he served as Chancellor of Cambridge University.
"We also reflect on how he was a man ahead of his time, in particular for his interest in, and promotion of, the natural world - particularly through his work as President of the World Wildlife Fund.
"This is a passion he has handed down to his children and grandchildren - most notably HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH The Duke of Cambridge - where his legacy will undoubtedly continue.
"We will also remember him for the contribution he has made to so many people’s lives through initiatives such as the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.
"This scheme has given so much to so many generations of young people bequeathing to them his own love of outdoor activity, adventure, and service to others - setting many on their path for life."
The Dean of Ely, The Very Revd Mark Bonney, summed up the feelings of those within the cathedral community.
“Everyone at Ely Cathedral is saddened by the news of Prince Philip’s death and we extend our condolences and sympathy to Her Majesty the Queen and all the Royal Family," he said.
"His Royal Highness will be remembered here for visiting on the occasion of the Royal Maundy, and most recently for the centenary celebrations of the Diocese in 2009.
"Very particularly we are grateful that he was Patron of the Order of St Etheldreda our major fundraising arm, and was present at the memorable nave dinner which marked the completion of the Great Restoration.
"Prince Philip’s was a life of remarkable service to the Crown and the country. May he rest in peace and rise in glory."
Ely Cathedral has raised the Union Flag at half-mast from the West Tower.
Out of respect, the flag will remain at half-mast from the announcement of the death until the funeral.
A space on Cross Green has also been allocated next to the cathedral's main entrance for members of the public to leave floral tributes.
Former Mayor of Ely, Mike Rouse, said: "In different capacities Prince Philip visited Ely on numerous occasions and I know the city mourns his passing.
"My closest involvement was when, as chairman of East Cambs District Council, I hosted the lunch at the King's Ely dining hall for the 1987 Royal Maundy.
"My consort Maxine was only in her mid 20s and understandably very nervous on such a big occasion.
"Prince Philip could not have been more charming or understanding and immediately put her at her ease.
"We have nothing but respect and admiration and wonderful memories of a great man who was such a loyal advisor and companion to her Majesty the Queen."
East Cambs Councillor Peter Cresswell said: "HRH Prince Philip also visited Ely on November 19 2009 when, together with HM The Queen, they attended a service in Ely Cathedral to celebrate the 900th anniversary of the founding of the diocese.
"In my role as chairman of ECDC at the time, it was a great honour on that occasion, together with my wife Roslyn, for us to be presented to HM The Queen and Prince Philip.
"Today is a very sad one for the nation."
This was how a visit by the Duke of Edinburgh to Cambridge in 1952 was reported by the local press:
"The visit to the University of Cambridge by the Duke of Edinburgh was enriched and enlivened by the reception which the young consort received at every stage of his tour.
"It was a 'dusk and darkness' tour, but the car’s interior lighting was on and the crowds had a clear view of the slim, fair-haired Duke.
The outstanding items in the programme were the conferment of the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Law upon the Duke at the Senate House, his opening of the new laboratory at the University Engineering Department and his visit to the University Union where he was made an honorary member.
The Duke left a happy memory of an unassuming young man with a ready smile and a keen and intelligent interest in all that he saw.
(Our thanks to local historian Mike Petty for the contribution).