"Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker, for the opportunity to speak on this Humble Address. I offer my sincere condolences to Her Majesty the Queen on the death of her beloved husband the Duke of Edinburgh. I know I speak on behalf of my residents in South West Hertfordshire when I say that his passing has been sorely felt, not just by Her Majesty and the whole royal family, but by people up and down our United Kingdom and across the world.
I have listened to much of today’s tribute, and it is a reflection of the Duke of Edinburgh’s legacy that many colleagues have spoken so fondly of him. In many ways, today is our chance to celebrate his life. I was never fortunate enough to meet the Duke of Edinburgh, but I was well aware of his impact well before I came to this place.
Other Honourable and Right Honourable Members have spoken of the wonderful Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, which he founded in 1956. Millions of young people across over 130 countries have benefited from his idea. I really feel that I have missed out when others speak so highly of its effect on their own life journey. In my constituency, I sometimes see groups of young adults trekking towards the Chilterns, and often wonder whether they are part of one of the Award’s activities. I know many of my constituents proudly speak of when Prince Philip opened the Knox Johnston sports centre at Berkhamsted School in 2004, a school with a proud association with outdoor education and the DofE Award.
Prince Philip will always be fondly remembered across the Commonwealth. His support for the Commonwealth started before Her Majesty’s coronation in 1953, and his interest in international affairs and the environment ensured that he was always warmly welcomed wherever and whenever he was representing the Crown. The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Baroness Scotland, says it better than I could:
“Past, present and future generations of Commonwealth citizens owe a debt of gratitude to Prince Philip for remaining constant and steadfast in his commitment to the Commonwealth, and his assuredness and vision of its global importance.”
His focus on projects and programmes for cultivating understanding and self-reliance, and other pioneering initiatives, demonstrated through action that Prince Philip was a man not afraid of doing the right thing, and one who cared passionately for his subjects. We thank him for his exceptional public service. The Duke was an inspiration to many people across multiple generations for decades.
I close by sending my good wishes and sympathy to his family and Her Majesty the Queen. May he rest in peace."