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Tributes pour in from civic leaders following death of Prince Philip

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HEARTFELT tributes poured in from civic leaders across Hampshire and Dorset following the death of Prince Philip aged 99.

The Duke of Edinburgh – the longest serving Royal consort in British history – passed away "peacefully" at Windsor Castle last week, Buckingham Palace announced.

As the UK began a period of national mourning ahead of his funeral today (Saturday), local community leaders and organisations paid their respects, with flags flown at half-mast at New Forest District Council's Appletree Court HQ in Lyndhurst and local election campaigning suspended for a few days.

The Queen and Prince Philip in July 2002 during the Golden Jubilee (46007256)
The Queen and Prince Philip in July 2002 during the Golden Jubilee (46007256)

NFDC members held a two-minute silence at their meeting on Monday and chair Cllr Allan Glass said: "This comes at a time when the nation continues to come to terms with the ongoing grief from the loss of loved ones to the pandemic, and our thoughts and prayers now go out to Her Majesty the Queen and the rest of the Royal Family in sincere condolence."

Cllr Glass told the meeting that, alongside the Deputy Lieutenant for Hampshire, Hallam Mills, he had laid flowers within the grounds of the civic offices.

Prince Philip was known for his love of the sea, having spent time in the Royal Navy. He was a familiar face at Cowes Week on the Isle of Wight and regularly competed at the regatta.

In 1982 the Duke sailed his Yeoman class yacht in the Queen's Cup, and among his crew was former Lymington mayor Barry Dunning, who recalled the day fondly.

"He was quite a character, and just a very good sailor," he told the A&T. "We were very conscious of the fact we were sailing with royalty, but he was royalty with a common touch - very fun to be around."

In 1973 Prince Philip became patron of the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust in Fordingbridge, having previously been president for eight years.

The Duke of Edinburgh inspecting a pheasant release pen at the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust's site in Fordingbridge (46112849)
The Duke of Edinburgh inspecting a pheasant release pen at the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust's site in Fordingbridge (46112849)

Chief executive Teresa Dent said: “His wildlife conservation credentials have rightly been lauded at a global scale.

"At home, in the Sandringham Estate, he masterminded a now-classic and impressive combination of wildlife conservation and wild game management alongside commercial farming.

"He was a very knowledgeable naturalist with a deep love of the wider countryside and all country sports – regularly making contact with our upland researchers when at Balmoral."

The Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, Nigel Atkinson, said he would write to the Queen on behalf of the people of Hampshire to "express our deepest sympathy and heartfelt condolence".

Hampshire County Council leader Cllr Keith Mans, added: "Over the years, Hampshire has had the privilege of welcoming His Royal Highness, on many visits to our county, and we now remember with warmth and fondness these treasured memories."

Prince Philip's funeral will be held today
Prince Philip's funeral will be held today

Cllr David Flagg, chair of BCP Council, recalled a visit by the the Duke of Edinburgh in 1966, when he accompanied the Queen to Christchurch Priory, and later in 1969 when the Queen opened Poole Hospital and 2004 on a trip to Bournemouth.

He said: “Many local people who are still resident in our area will have attended these historic events and will treasure their own recollections of those days."

The Right Rev. Dr Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester, said the country had lost a "great statesman and a beloved member of our royal family".

"The Duke of Edinburgh will be remembered for his loyalty to his Queen and country," he said. "As the senior Royal Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Prince Philip led others in exemplifying everything the Garter stood for in terms of outstanding service to the nation.

"This is a great loss for the country, for the whole Commonwealth, and above all for Her Majesty and the Royal Family. My thoughts and prayers are with them all.”

The duke’s funeral will be held at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, at 3pm, and will be broadcast live by the BBC.

While the Duke of Edinburgh is entitled to a full state funeral, he will not have one. Before he died, Philip insisted on a ceremony with minimal fuss and his body will not lie in state.

Due to Covid, the funeral will be stripped back, with just 30 guests able to attend, and the public have been advised not to travel to Windsor to pay their respects.

Messages of condolence can be sent via the Royal website at www.royal.uk/condolence

Due to the current Covid restrictions, residents are politely discouraged from laying their own floral tributes and are instead asked by the royal family to consider making a donation to charity at www.royal.uk/donations

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