Tributes paid to Prince Philip

David Burt and others expressed their condolences to the Royal Family in the wake of the death of the Duke of Edinburgh.

The Premier said: “The world remembers a long and full life, lived to the fullest by a man of unstinting devotion to duty.

“Prince Philip brought a necessary focus on issues of conservation and the environment over many years earning considerable respect for these pioneering efforts.

“Locally, numerous Bermudian students have participated in the Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme and have benefited from the camaraderie and life skills learnt through the programme.”

The Premier added: “As with any family, he is mourned today also as a husband and father, grandfather and great-grandfather.

“This is a personal and no doubt deeply felt loss for Her Majesty the Queen and on behalf of the Government and people of Bermuda I send our prayers for her comfort.”

Rena Lalgie, the Governor, said she was deeply saddened to learn of the Duke’s death and offered her condolences to the Royal Family.

Ms Lalgie said: “Prince Philip visited Bermuda on many occasions often in the company of Her Majesty and will be remembered fondly by all who met him during these visits.

“His commitment to young people both in Bermuda and across the world will live on in The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programme.”

Jovanna Douglas, the chairwoman of the Bermuda Duke of Edinburgh Awards, said Prince Philip’s legacy would live on through the programme.

Ms Douglas said that in the more than 50 years since the programme was launched in Bermuda, more than 10,000 people had taken part.

See pictures of Prince Philip in Bermuda here

Former Premier Ewart Brown, who met Prince Philip in 2009, said: “Wanda and I would like to extend our deepest condolences to Her Majesty the Queen and the Royal Family on the passing of The Duke of Edinburgh.

“On Prince Philip’s visit to Bermuda in 2009, we found him to be thoughtful, engaging, and witty — an energetic and delightful presence for all who encountered him.

“His contribution to the positive development of Bermuda’s youth through the Duke of Edinburgh Programme is one of particular note and for which we should all be appreciative.

“May the Queen, the Royal Family and all who loved and knew Prince Philip find comfort and solace in memories of his life.”

John May, the secretary-general of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation, added: “Prince Philip’s belief in the infinite potential of young people, coupled with his championing of non-formal education and learning, positioned him as a leader and thinker of truly global stature.

“Through the personal leadership and involvement of Prince Philip, the Award that bears his name has transformed the lives of millions of young people since it started in 1956 and has impacted countless more in local communities.

“His Royal Highness’s passion for, and commitment to, the work of the Award and the development of young people continued until the last. His determination, energy and enthusiasm will be greatly missed.”

Valerie Pethen, who was among coordinators of the 1994 Royal Visit to be appointed a Member of the Royal Victorian Order for her work, recalled first meeting the royal couple during a short stop at the airport in 1982.

In 1994, she said, “Prince Philip handed me a signed photograph of them when I was honoured by the Queen during a private audience at Government House.”

She added: “That was a humbling and emotional experience for me and I could see his amusement at my shock and confusion and he tried to put me at ease.

“There were many other occasions when the Bermudian members chatted with him at the service and reception of the Royal Victorian Order at Windsor Castle.

“But particularly memorable were his blunt and witty comments when we attended the Buckingham Palace garden party in 1996 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Royal Victorian Order.”

Ms Pethen said Prince Philip told them the Bermuda group: “Oh Bermuda, I’ve been there many times.

“A lovely place, but if you stand still long enough, you get covered in mildew!”

Alan Burland, of the Bermuda Sloop Foundation, said he took Prince Philip on a tour of the Spirit of Bermuda in 2009.

“I brought him on board and introduced him to the Captain and the first officers and told him about the programme – he was familiar generally with what we were doing,” Mr Burland said.

“He went on to say he wanted to meet everyone – he wanted to meet the whole crew. We went around and we met the entire crew and he spoke to every single one of them for at least a couple of minutes. An absolutely wonderful man.”

Mr Burland said Prince Philip was warm and engaging with a genuine passion for youth development.

“What we are doing was in keeping with his philosophy of taking young people out of their normal environment, get them working together in groups and developing within themselves and within teams,” he said.

“He was an absolute pleasure to be with and gave us great encouragement to continue what we were doing. It was very rewarding and refreshing.”

Walter Lister, a former Progressive Labour Party MP, said he met Prince Philip in 1975 after the Queen addressed the House of Assembly.

They met again in 2009 when Mr Lister, as chairman of West End Development Corporation, gave the Queen and the Duke a tour of Dockyard, which featured a performance by students from Sandys Secondary School.

“They were very down to earth,” he said. “I am not a Royalist, but I have met them and I respect them.

“He was very interested in the Dockyard and how it related to the dockyard in Portsmouth. He wanted to know how they had interacted between each other.

“He was in the Navy, so he knew things about the Navy himself.”

Mr Lister added that he also recalled seeing the Queen as a student at the Glebe School in her first official visit in 1953.

David Frith, the St George Town Crier, said he had a very memorable conversation with the Duke during his 2009 visit to the historic town.

He said that he and other officials, including Mariea Caisey, the Mayor, and the Reverend David Raths, the minister at St Peters, met the Queen and the Duke in the St George Town Hall.

Mr Frith said that he was introduced as the Town Crier, but seconds after he turned away to meet the next guest, Prince Philip turned around, pointed a finger at him and asked: “You also play the bagpipes, don’t you?”

Mr Frith said he was “somewhat taken aback” but said he did, and that Mr Raths also played the instrument.

Prince Philip then went to the next guest and said with a chuckle: “You don’t play as well do you?”

Mr Frith said: “We all, including the Duke, had a little snicker as he moved to where the Queen was.

“I have since, when telling this story, marvelled at the Prince’s obvious ability to assimilate all the extraordinary information he and the Queen are fed about what’s going to be happening at each of their meetings, and who they’re going to meet.

“The fact that he been apprised of my dual role was a source of great pride, really.”

Mr Frith added that his father, Horace Frith, was once invited to go sailing with the Duke during an earlier visit to the island.

He said that Prince Philip later attended a cocktail party at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, where insisted he meet with the “real sailors”, saying: “I want to meet the crews.”

Mr Frith said: “Of course the bigwigs had to escort him then into the back room at the yacht club where all the crews were, very unsuitably attired, and drinking beers.

“He had a right jolly old time thereafter talking and mingling with my dad and the other various crew members, to the chagrin of the RBYC ‘hoy polloi’ I’m sure.”

Cindy Swan, chairwoman of Project Action, also extended condolences to the Royal Family on behalf of the charity.

She said: “Our fundraiser tea parties over the years have long embraced a Royal theme.”

Mrs Swan added that she had spoken with the Duke about the seniors’ charity when she met him in 2009 and he jokingly he asked he if was eligible.