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A tribute to His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

The whole of the community at the King’s School, Canterbury expresses deepfelt condolences and prayerful respect to Her Majesty the Queen and the Royal Family, following the very sad news of the death of HRH, Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. As a School we have come together, even though parted by the Easter holiday and the regulations of the pandemic, to show our appreciation of a good life, well lived, and our admiration for his service and dedication to the Monarch and to the Nation, as the longest serving Royal Consort.

On his many visits across the years to Canterbury Cathedral and the King’s School, he set a fine example of how to be as a husband and companion, supporting one step behind, encouraging others and helping the one you love to achieve great things. The recent statues of Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Philip installed  in niches to the right of the great West Door of the Cathedral are mirrored by ones to the left side of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The one duo spanning the nineteenth century, our couple the twentieth into the twenty first.

The remarkable photo of the 1965 Maundy Thursday visit of Her Majesty and Prince Philip to Cathedral and School, uncovered in our archives by our wonderful Archivist, Peter Henderson, brilliantly captures the Duke’s gift of setting people at their ease at formal occasions by humour and humanity.

The Duke also inspired us by seeing an idea and vision, in his case, the Duke of Edinburgh Award, from conception to magnificent realisation. When I think back over the 100s of D of E expeditions that Wyn Watson and Adam Vintner have organised for our outward looking pupils and the times when I have seen the service element of the Award change lives and alter perspectives for good, I thank the Duke for all that he did for our pupils. From frying sausages at a Stelling Minnis Bronze Award camp site to the moment when 6a Leavers bowed to the Duke at St James Palace on receiving the Gold Award, it was the making of many practical skills, but the fulfilment of a holistic view of the pupils’ future lives and attitudes to others.

Peter Roberts,
Headmaster