Portsmouth fondly remembers 'great' Prince Philip with Royal Navy and Armed Forces 'doing him proud' at funeral

RESPECTS were paid to ‘great’ Prince Philip whose ‘poignant’ funeral took place earlier today at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle.

By Steve Deeks
Saturday, 17th April 2021, 7:00 pm
Updated Saturday, 17th April 2021, 8:15 pm

While no official minute’s silence was held in Portsmouth, people across the city spoke fondly of the Duke of Edinburgh for his wide-ranging contributions to Great Britain and the legacy he leaves behind.

The former Royal Navy officer, who visited Portsmouth on various occasions over the years, was ‘done proud’ by the Armed Forces during the moving ceremony that saw the Queen sit alone.

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Gary and Shereen Priestley toast the Prince. A minute's silence in Bath Square, Old Portsmouth, for the Duke of Edinburgh at the start of his funeral Picture: Chris Moorhouse (170421-44)

People in the city opened up on their thoughts of Prince Philip as he made his final journey.

Michelle Ebbage, 56, who lives in the city centre, said: ‘He was a great man and will be a big loss. He told the country to pull its finger out during the war.

‘I met him once years ago when he was visiting with Lady Diana walking along Southsea seafront. He was very friendly and was walking past waving.’

Michelle’s mum Janice, 75, said: ‘He did a lot for the country even if he was not in the limelight. It must have been awful for the Queen to be behind the coffin on her own.

Daughter and mum Michelle Ebbage and Janice Palmer pay tribute to Prince Philip in Commercial Road

‘To be married 73 years is a big loss for her but I think she will get on with it and carry on working.’

Darling Duffield, 24, of Commercial Road, said: ‘I did the Duke of Edinburgh award when I was at school, which I think is a really good thing to do. He’s created a strong legacy.’

Darling’s mum Frances Duffield, 59, added: ‘The Duke of Edinburgh award was a fantastic idea and showed that he cared about the young.

‘It helps people to volunteer and show commitment and teaches good ethics.

Daughter and mum Darling and Frances Duffield pay tribute to Prince Philip in Guildhall Square

‘He did a lot of things to help people. It’s a sad loss.’

Andy Conroy, 50, of Southsea, said: ‘He was a decent man. I didn’t know a lot about him but I think he had a difficult life to begin with the Royal Family against him because he was Greek. His sister also died in a plane crash when he was young.

‘He would sometimes say the wrong thing and put his foot in it but that’s why people liked him, because we could all relate to that.

‘It is a sad day, though you wouldn’t know it from how a lot of people are carrying on. If it was 50 years ago shops would be shut and people would be wearing black.

Andy Conroy and Marc Fourcroy, of Southsea, pay respects to Prince Philip in Commercial Road

‘It must be difficult for the Queen having been married to him for 73 years.’

Marc Fourcroy, 20, of Southsea, said: ‘I think Prince Philip was a symbol of patriotism and someone who brought together the military and strength to the country.

‘He is a symbol for the UK to rally behind with his morals and was loved by the country. Hopefully his spirit can live on in his grandchildren.’

Over at the Southsea War Memorial on the Common, an anonymous artist had put up a picture as a tribute.

In Bath Square, Old Portsmouth, a crowd had gathered and an applause was held after a minute's silence while others raised a glass in his memory at The Point.

Fire stations across the area – including Horndean and Southsea – stopped for a minute’s silence and firefighters lined up outside their stations in his honour.

Sue and Chris Fogden after a minute's silence in Bath Square, Old Portsmouth, for the Duke of Edinburgh at the start of his funeral Picture: Chris Moorhouse (170421-45)

Meanwhile politicians shared their thoughts on the funeral.

Leader of Portsmouth City Council, councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said: ‘I thought the funeral was very well done and professional.

‘I think everyone could empathise with the Queen and her feeling of sadness as she was sat on her own.’

Cllr Vernon-Jackson also said he was ‘taken back’ after watching his old Oxford school chaplain David Conner, the Dean of Windsor, delivering the moving service. ‘Hearing his voice took me back to when I was a child,’ he said.

‘He did very well and was very professional. The Queen relies heavily on him and does not want him to go.’

Penny Mordaunt, Portsmouth North MP, said: ‘What the Royal Family have gone through is sadly echoed in many furnaces we have seen during the year.

‘As well as immense sadness for the Queen I felt huge pride in all did and in particular his service to our armed forces, especially the Royal Navy. They did him proud today.’

Stephen Morgan, Portsmouth South MP, said: ‘Today’s funeral was a very poignant tribute to Prince Philip who served The Queen and our country with distinction. His duty and devotion to public service will be an inspiration to many.

‘As shadow Armed Forces minister, I want to particularly thank the 750-strong members of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army and Royal Air Force for providing ceremonial support to the funeral today.

‘Their contribution will be a source of great pride and honour to all those who serve in our armed forces, but also to the whole country.’

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage said: ‘I found the funeral extremely moving. A fitting and very personal tribute to a remarkable man.

‘My heart ached for Her Majesty the Queen, sitting alone and isolated, without the man who had been by her side for so long. I hope she knows that the love of our nation is with her.’

Alan Mak, Havant MP, said: ‘A poignant and moving service that was a fitting farewell to a remarkable man who has given outstanding service to our country and the Commonwealth.”

‘I joined residents from across the Havant constituency to observe a minute’s silence in memory of the Duke, and he will be fondly remembered for his service in the Royal Navy and to our country and the Commonwealth.’

In Palmerston Road, Southsea, the one minute's silence passed by without so much as a lowering of voices.

Resident Maureen Phillips, 84, said this might reflect people's feelings about the media coverage of the Duke's death.

She said: 'With everything on the television and in the papers, I wonder if people just thought it would be a bit much.

'It's hot today as well and I think people are too excited by the hot weather to be bothered by it.

'I do hope it was observed elsewhere though, and at least in the shops.'

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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Tribute to Prince Philip at Southsea War Memorial. Picture by Trevor Gladwell.
Firefighters at Horndean Fire Station honour Prince Philip
The coffin of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, is carried into his funeral service at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle on April 17, 2021. Photo by Danny Lawson - WPA Pool/Getty Images
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Photo by EDDIE MULHOLLAND/AFP via Getty Images.