Archbishop Stephen joined BBC Radio 2 Good Morning Sunday and gave a tribute to The HRH Duke of Edinburgh. This follows:
In 1946 Prince Philip wrote to the then Princess Elizabeth saying that “to have been spared in the war and seen victory, to have been given the chance to rest and to readjust myself, to have fallen in love unreservedly, makes all one’s troubles seem small and petty.”
Two things in this short, heartfelt sentence say so much about its author, and point us to the things we should cherish and remember as we mourn the death of the Duke of Edinburgh.
First, it tells us of the love that drew Prince Philip to Princess Elizabeth and then bound them together for a lifetime; so much so that the Queen would refer to him as ‘her’ rock and ‘her strength and stay.’
Secondly, that reference to “all one’s troubles” hint at the upheavals and horrors that Prince Philip experienced in the first part of his life, not just active service with the Royal Navy during the Second World War, but, famously, aged just one, placed in an orange box and rowed out to the ship that was rescuing his family from military upheaval in Greece.
All of us face troubles in life. All of us face the death of loved ones, not least in this past traumatic year. All of us experience love - though not all of us are fortunate enough to find the lifelong partnership of love that Prince Philip and her Majesty the Queen enjoyed.
Today the Church remembers the story of so called doubting Thomas, who couldn’t believe in the resurrection until he saw it for himself. Jesus appeared to him and said: “Thomas, you believe because you’ve seen. How much more blessed are those who have not seen, and yet believe.”
My prayer today is that we see in Jesus Christ a love that will not let us down; that endures trials and hardships; that not only sustains us through a lifetime, but opens a door on a new lifetime to come.
In the light of such love, we pray for ourselves; for the life of our nation; for her Majesty the Queen and all the royal family; and for the Duke of Edinburgh, who served our nation with such faithfulness.
May he rest in peace and rise in glory.