Tributes paid in Suffolk and Essex following death of Prince Philip aged 99
- Credit: PA
Leaders in Suffolk and north Essex have paid tribute to The Duke of Edinburgh "who gave so much to our nation" after Buckingham Palace confirmed his death aged 99.
Prince Philip, who was the longest-serving consort in British history, passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.
Following the news of his death, an outpour of heartfelt tributes have been paid by leaders in the community, such as MPS and councillors.
Council leaders say it is a 'time for the nation to come together'
Councillor Graham Newman, chairman of Suffolk County Council, expressed his sincere condolences on behalf of all councillors and staff.
"His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh visited the county a number of times and on each occasion, it was abundantly clear the warmth of feeling the county had for him," he said.
"These visits included the opening of the Snape Maltings Concert Hall with The Queen in 1967, a visit to Ipswich Waterfront in 2002 as part of The Queen’s Jubilee celebrations and a visit to the port of Felixstowe in 2005.
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"His loss will be felt right across the globe for some time to come."
An online book of condolences has been opened on the county council’s website, allowing the people of Suffolk to pay their own personal tributes.
Councillor Kathryn Grandon, Babergh District Council chairman, said: “We send our sincere condolences to The Queen and the entire Royal Family during this sad time with our deepest sympathies.
"The Duke of Edinburgh visits to the district have always been received warmly with great affection, there will be a real sense of loss. This is a time for the nation to come together. “
Councillor Barry Humphreys MBE, Mid Suffolk District Council chairman, added: “I know the loss of His Royal Highness Prince Philip will be felt across Suffolk and the world.
"Their visits to the district have always been occasions that have brought great pride to our communities. I know the people of Suffolk will want to pay their own personal tributes at this time of national mourning.”
Due to Covid-19 restrictions an online book of condolence will be opened for residents to pay their respects and show their love and support for the Royal Family.
Meanwhile, the chairman of East Suffolk Council, councillor Keith Robinson, said: “On behalf of East Suffolk Council, our residents and communities, I would like to express our deep sadness following the passing of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. Our thoughts at this sad time are with Her Majesty the Queen and the Royal Family.
"We will of course ensure that the people of East Suffolk are provided with the information they need to pay their respects to the Duke of Edingburgh and his life of service to the country and to the world.”
Councillor Brian Harvey, Chair of West Suffolk Council sent his sincere condolences on behalf of councillors and residents in the area.
"Throughout his time as the longest-serving consort of a reigning British monarch, His Royal Highness provided exemplary steadfast and loyal support to our Queen as she carried out her duties," he said.
"However, he went far beyond simple support for royal duties and created a role for himself which brought him affection and admiration from all who met him, or who took part in activities which he sponsored.
"There are very many people throughout West Suffolk who have benefited greatly from taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh Awards, for example, and his involvement in hundreds of organisations and charities has brought his experience and compassion to many others.
"He is remembered with fond affection for his visits to West Suffolk, especially his good humour and patience, both as he played his part in various Royal visits and when he visited in his own right as patron or supporter.
"Prince Philip’s uncompromising devotion to duty and straightforwardness of speech will be missed and our thoughts are with the Royal Family at this difficult time. Their sadness at the loss of such a true and constant support for their family is shared by us all."
As a mark of respect, the flags at the council offices will be flown at half-mast from today.
Bishop Martin Seeley - Bishop of the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich - said Prince Philip has been the "most remarkable consort to Her Majesty" adding he made the role his own through his "distinctive style, intelligence and wit".
“Philip was baptised in the Greek Orthodox Church and he was officially received into the Church of England in 1947. He represented us with the utmost dignity and he was a stalwart ambassador for our country," he said.
Prince Philip has made lasting contributions in a number of fields, including as founder of the Duke of Edinburgh Award, President of the World Wildlife Fund and Chancellor of Cambridge University.
The Very Revd Joe Hawes, Dean of St Edmundsbury, said: “The people of Suffolk grieve the death of Prince Philip, a man of remarkable gifts whose life, forged in the fire of childhood adversity combined constant support and focus on unity and resilience in the Royal Family with tireless public service and an advocacy for causes which showed him to be ahead of his time.
“His down to earth wit and self-deprecating sense of humour, in evidence during his visit to St Edmundsbury with Her Majesty to distribute the Maundy money in 2009, endeared him to the public in Suffolk, Great Britain and throughout the Commonwealth”.
When did The Duke of Edinburgh visit Suffolk?
alongside Her Majesty The Queen on a number of occasions throughout his life.
Huge crowds were drawn to Lowestoft in 1985 when Queen Elizabeth II came to town with Prince Philip by her side, with people lining the pavements outside Woolworths.
Pupils at Ipswich School met Prince Philip in the summer of 1973, with hundreds turning up to greet him in the sun.
'He gave so much to our nation'
MPs across the counties have also taken to their platforms to share their condolences.
Therese Coffey, MP for Suffolk Coastal and the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, said Prince Philip "gave so much in service and support of this country and our Sovereign Her Majesty The Queen".
Ipswich MP Tom Hunt described the news as "incredibly sad".
"What a great man and what an enormous service he provided to our country over such a long period of time," he said.
James Cartlidge, South Suffolk MP, said he was saddened to hear of the death of HRH Prince Philip, who he said "gave so much to our nation".
"Thoughts and prayers with Her Majesty The Queen and the royal family," he added.
Jo Churchill, MP for West Suffolk said it was "such very sad news".
"My thoughts and prayers go out to Her Majesty The Queen and the Royal Family at this time," she said.
"Prince Philip's service to his country and the Commonwealth and unfailing support of Her Majesty over more than 70 years of marriage, will always be remembered. Rest in Peace."
In Chelmsford, MP Vicky Ford reflected on the time Prince Philip visited the new science buildings at the University of Hertfordshire.
She said: "He was full of interest in the future of research and his great sense of humour brought a smile to everyone’s face. A great man who dedicated his life to our country."
Flags to be flown at half-mast
As a mark of respect, flags on all police stations across Suffolk and Essex will fly at half-mast in tribute to The Duke.
Suffolk Constabulary’s Chief Constable, Steve Jupp, said: “I am deeply saddened to learn of the death of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
“His lifetime of public duty and steadfast dedication to Her Majesty and the entire country - from his career with the Royal Navy during and after World War Two, right up until his retirement in 2017 - is an example to all of us who work in public service.
“On behalf of Suffolk Constabulary, I would like to join with our policing colleagues across the United Kingdom by extending our sincere sympathy and condolences to Her Majesty The Queen and the entire Royal Family.”
Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington led tributes on behalf of Essex Police, he said: “Our deepest condolences are with Her Majesty The Queen and her family at this very difficult time.
“His Royal Highness served our Queen and country loyally and faithfully for many years and today we will lower our flags to both honour and remember him.”
The Royal Family website has been taken down as a mark of respect, and has been replaced with a simple tribute to Prince Philip.
The Suffolk Conservatives have also suspended all political campaigning until further notice.
Do you have any memories of the Duke visiting Suffolk? Share them with us here.