Stratford to create online book of condolence following Duke of Edinburgh's death
AN ONLINE book of condolence will be opened in Stratford in tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh, it has been announced.
A statement on behalf of the town said: "It is with great sadness that Stratford-upon-Avon acknowledges the death of HRH, the Duke of Edinburgh.
"On behalf of the community, the town mayor and district chairman have expressed their sincerest condolences to the Queen and other members of the royal family.
"Due to Covid restrictions, public books of condolence cannot be opened at the present time. However, it is hoped that an e-condolence facility will be available very shortly."
The statement added that Union flags in the town will be flown at half-mast until the duke's funeral while people wishing to lay wreaths or floral tributes are invited to do so in the Garden of Remembrance in College Street, Old Town.
The duke, who was the longest-serving consort in British history, died on Friday.
Buckingham Palace said in a statement: “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
“His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle."
Prime minister Boris Johnson was one of the first national figures to pay tribute to the duke.
He said: “He was an environmentalist, and a champion of the natural world long before it was fashionable. With his Duke of Edinburgh awards scheme he shaped and inspired the lives of countless young people and at literally tens of thousands of events he fostered their hopes and encouraged their ambitions.
“We remember the duke for all of this and above all for his steadfast support for Her Majesty the Queen.
“Not just as her consort, by her side every day of her reign, but as her husband, her ‘strength and stay’, of more than 70 years.
“And it is to Her Majesty, and her family, that our nation’s thoughts must turn today. Because they have lost not just a much-loved and highly respected public figure, but a devoted husband and a proud and loving father, grandfather and, in recent years, great-grandfather.”
- The duke was born on June 10 1921 on the Greek island of Corfu.
- He was a prince of Greece and Denmark and his parents were Prince Andrew of Greece and Princess Alice of Battenberg.
- He was exiled from Greece as a child and grew up in France, Germany and Britain.
- He and the Queen were distant cousins and both great-great-grandchildren of Queen Victoria. They attended some of the same events in their youth – a wedding in 1934 and King George VI’s coronation in 1937. But they had their first publicised meeting in 1939 when Philip was 18 and Princess Elizabeth was 13.
- The princess’s parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, had taken her and her sister, Princess Margaret, to visit the naval college in Dartmouth and cadet Philip was assigned to entertain the princesses.
- Elizabeth first fell for tall, blond, athletic Philip during their Dartmouth encounter when he amused her by jumping over tennis nets.
- The pair wrote regular letters to one another and later met on numerous occasions, with Philip even spending Christmas with the royal family during the Second World War.
- During the war Philip fought for Britain in the Royal Navy. He saw active service from the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean, and by 1945 was in Tokyo Bay as the Japanese surrendered.
- Philip and Elizabeth’s engagement was announced in July 1947 and the royal wedding took place on 20th November, 1947 in London’s Westminster Abbey. Elizabeth was 21 and not yet Queen.
- Five years after they married – in 1952 – George VI died and Elizabeth became the monarch.
- Philip renounced his Greek title and became a naturalised Briton in 1947. He became Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten.
- He chose his new surname Mountbatten – an Anglicised form of his mother’s maiden name Battenberg – rather than Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg – the family name of the Danish royal house from which his father was descended.
- He was made the Duke of Edinburgh by Princess Elizabeth’s father, George VI, just before the wedding. The Queen later made him a prince of the UK.
- The Queen and Philip had four children: Prince Charles (now the Prince of Wales), Princess Anne (now the Princess Royal), Prince Andrew (now the Duke of York) and Prince Edward (now the Earl of Wessex).
- He is known for supporting the Queen through her long reign, and carrying out thousands of royal engagements. He also was involved for decades with hundreds of charities, and set up The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award youth adventure scheme.
- He was also known for his off-the-cuff remarks, which ranged from the quick-witted and funny to the politically incorrect and offensive.