log in

Prince Philip would want royals to get on with the job, says William

The Guardian - Mon Apr 12 14:04

The Duke of Edinburgh would want family members “to get on with the job”, Prince William said, as he and his brother paid tribute to a “grandpa” and “an extraordinary man”.

Prince Harry, who has flown from California to attend Saturday’s ceremonial royal funeral, described Philip as “master of the barbecue, legend of banter, and cheeky right ‘til the end”.

He said his grandfather would be saying right now, beer in hand: “‘Oh do get on with it!’”

The Duke of Cambridge shared a private photograph of his great-grandfather with Prince George, then aged two, riding in the box seat of a horse-drawn carriage. The photograph was taken by the Duchess of Cambridge in Norfolk in 2015.

The brothers released separate statements within half an hour of each other, with protocol dictating William’s was released first.

The funeral of Philip, who died on Friday aged 99, will bring the two together in public for the first time in a yearduring which relations have become strained, especially following Harry and Meghan’s explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Separated by the Atlantic since their last public meeting at the Commonwealth Day service in March 2020, the two will be separated by 2-metre social distancing as they walk behind the coffin during an eight-minute procession behind Windsor Castle’s walls ahead of the funeral service at St George’s Chapel.

In his statement, William said: “My grandfather’s century of life was defined by service – to his country and Commonwealth, to his wife and Queen, and to our family.

“I feel lucky to have not just had his example to guide me, but his enduring presence well into my own adult life – both through good times and the hardest days. I will always be grateful that my wife had so many years to get to know my grandfather and for the kindness he showed her.

“I will never take for granted the special memories my children will always have of their great-grandpa coming to collect them in his carriage and seeing for themselves his infectious sense of adventure as well as his mischievous sense of humour.”

“My grandfather was an extraordinary man and part of an extraordinary generation. Catherine and I will continue to do what he would have wanted and will support the Queen in the years ahead. I will miss my Grandpa, but I know he would want us to get on with the job.”

02:58

The life of Prince Philip, the Queen’s ‘strength and stay’ – video obituary

Harry, who has arrived in the UK, is staying at Frogmore Cottage in Windsor, where he is observing Covid-19 protocols. He said in his statement: “My grandfather was a man of service, honour and great humour. He was authentically himself, with a seriously sharp wit, and could hold the attention of any room due to his charm – and also because you never knew what he might say next.

“He will be remembered as the longest reigning consort to the monarch, a decorated serviceman, a prince and a duke. But to me, like many of you who have lost a loved one or grandparent over the pain of this past year, he was my grandpa: master of the barbecue, legend of banter, and cheeky right ‘til the end.

“He has been a rock for Her Majesty the Queen with unparalleled devotion, by her side for 73 years of marriage, and while I could go on, I know that right now he would say to all of us, beer in hand, ‘Oh do get on with it!’

“So, on that note, Grandpa, thank you for your service, your dedication to Granny, and for always being yourself. You will be sorely missed, but always remembered – by the nation and the world. Meghan, Archie, and I (as well as your future great-granddaughter) will always hold a special place for you in our hearts.

“‘Per Mare, Per Terram.’”

With preparations under way for Saturday’s service, MPs in the House of Commons paid formal tributes to the duke.

Downing Street said it was too early to consider proposals for a lasting memorial to his life.

The prime minister’s official spokesperson said any proposals would be looked at carefully but “it’s not right, while we are in this period of mourning” to consider a memorial.

“There will be a time to rightly consider longer-term tributes,” the spokesperson said. Ideas suggested include renaming the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, where the duke first met the Queen.