HRH The Duke of Edinburgh - Eulogy from HM Lord-Lieutenant

It is a day of great sadness as we mourn the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, not only for the Nation but also for Her Majesty the Queen and the whole Royal Family who suffer a personal loss. The position of Head of State can be a lonely one; happily, the Queen has been able for over 73 years to count on the companionship, support, loyalty, fearless common sense and foresight of the Duke. 

For most of us Prince Philip has always been an integral part of the Royal Family and we may easily overlook his enduring and positive influence on our national life.

Perhaps he is most associated with The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme. It is known and respected in every school and household not just in the UK but all round the world. Many millions of young people worldwide have participated since it started in 1956. Initiatives come and go but this has stood the test of time: a gold award is highly prized and its UK recipients have always been rewarded with a reception attended by the Duke or other members of the Royal family. It stems from the Duke's admiration for the work of Kurt Hahn, the founder of the Outward Bound Movement and the Round Square Schools Group which includes Windermere School - The Duke himself was a pupil at Gordonstoun, the lead school of the Group. The ethos of their mission is the education of the whole person and the use of the outdoors as a means of self-discovery and personal development. He was always a keen sportsman: a regular competitor as a sailor, polo player and even until recently as a carriage driver and in particular an enthusiastic supporter of and participator at the Lowther Driving Trials. 

He was, with a prescience which is now increasingly appreciated, the first president of the World Wildlife Fund. His lively interest in science and technology involved him in a myriad of patronages, presidencies and university chancellorships in which role he always stimulated constructive debate. Initiatives such as The Prince Philip Designers' Award may have escaped general notice, but it has encouraged and enriched our national talent for design and innovation. Anyone involved in a visit by the Duke to a factory will have experienced a well briefed, enthusiastic and witty visitor engaging at ease with all he met and also being put on the spot with a searching question.

A list of the number of organisations of which the Duke was patron extends to 700, and those with a specific Cumbrian connection include the Cumbria Wildlife Trust, and the Outward Bound Trust of which he was Chairman of Trustees until 1999. Sadly he was unable to accompany HM The Queen on a return visit to Windermere in August 2013 because of ill health.  This was perhaps a particular shame since it was a conversation with George Pattinson in 1966, on a trip up the lake, which sparked of the idea of the original Windermere Steamboat Museum, now a major attraction as the Windermere Jetty, bringing visitors from around the country.

The Duke's more recent visits included the Outward Bound Centre in August 2014 and Sellafield in October 2016.

The Duke will be greatly missed, and our thoughts and prayers are with The Queen and the whole Royal Family at this sad time.