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Rest in Peace, Duke of Edinburgh

The Duke of Edinburgh, 1921-2021

by Claire Law

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)


To celebrate the life of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Preparation and materials


  1. Have Slide 1 showing as the students enter.

    Show Slide 2.

    Point out that most people are aware of the recent death of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen’s husband, on Friday 9 April 2021. He was 99 when he died, and had accomplished many things in his long life. He spent most of his life at the Queen’s side, supporting her as her consort.

  2. Show Slide 3.

    A consort generally refers to a wife, husband or companion of a reigning monarch. The Duke of Edinburgh is the longest-serving consort in British history, having been married to the Queen for 73 years.

  3. He was born on the Greek island of Corfu on 10 June 1921. His family tree includes members of the Danish, German, Russian and British royal families.

  4. Show Slide 4.

    As a young person, the Duke of Edinburgh excelled at sport. He first met the young Princess Elizabeth in 1934, when he was 13

  5. Show Slide 5.

    Their engagement was officially announced in July 1947, and they married in November that same year

  6. Show Slide 6.

    Their first child, Prince Charles, was born a year later in November 1948, and three other children followed: Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward. They had eight grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren

  7. As consort to the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh faithfully supported his wife and the royal duties in which she was engaged. Throughout the Queen’s reign, he attended many events with her and took many trips to other countries.

  8. Show Slide 7.

    The duke’s main role was to support the Queen, but he also had special projects of his own that he was passionate about, including the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. This programme offers challenges and adventures to thousands of young people in the UK.

    Note: if some of the students have participated in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, you may like to ask them to contribute something about their experiences of gaining a Bronze, Silver or even Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. The programme continues today and encourages young people to serve their community, develop skills and engage in physical activity

  9. In later years, the Duke of Edinburgh began to be less active in terms of public engagements. He retired in 2017, having completed over 22,000 royal engagements on his own. He last appeared in public with the Queen in July 2020, when a photo was released to mark his ninety-ninth birthday.

    Show Slide 8.

  10. After the Duke of Edinburgh’s death, his eldest son, Prince Charles, paid tribute to his ‘dear Papa’, saying that he and the royal family miss him enormously.

  11. The Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral will take place at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, on Saturday 17 April at 3 p.m. The funeral will begin with a national minute’s silence.

Time for reflection

The role of consort to the Queen is hugely important. The Duke of Edinburgh supported the Queen without overshadowing her. According to royal protocol, when they appeared together in public, the duke had to walk either by the Queen’s side or a few paces behind her. He was reported as saying that his job as the Queen’s consort ‘first, second and last was never to let her down’.

His faithful support of the Queen, which he demonstrated by accompanying her on trips and royal engagements as well as representing the Crown on solo royal engagements, was how he practically lived out service to the country and the monarchy.

There are times when we may also be called to be a support act. It can be tempting to want fame, attention and glory for ourselves. However, there is power and strength in faithfully serving a cause that we believe in or supporting someone who benefits from our presence, without clamouring for the limelight ourselves. We can learn a great deal from the example of the Duke of Edinburgh in dedicating our time and talents to a cause that we believe in.

Right now, the Queen and the royal family are mourning the loss of the Duke of Edinburgh. Many people across the nation and the world are remembering the many things that he achieved in his long life. Although there is sadness when someone dies, there can also be a sense of comfort in remembering what they brought to the world through their life.

Ask the students, ‘Are there people to whom we could offer support at this time?’

Pause to allow time for thought.

Ask the students, ‘What difference do we make to the people around us?’

Pause to allow time for thought.

Encourage the students to think about the Duke of Edinburgh’s life and consider what it teaches them today.

Pause to allow time for thought.

Optional: show Slide 9. 

There is a parallel with the role of the Duke of Edinburgh and that of Jesus’ disciples. The disciples were followers of Jesus who dedicated their life to serving the kingdom of God, but they were ready to make it clear that they acted not in their own name or power, but in the name of Jesus. Like the Duke of Edinburgh, they travelled around representing someone else, in their case, Jesus. The disciples left a legacy through their life of service.

Many Christian traditions celebrate feast days or remembrance days for each of the disciples. In the Greek Orthodox Church, 30 June is a day to celebrate and remember all 12 apostles, those who continued to serve Jesus after his death and resurrection.

Dear God,
We pray for Queen Elizabeth and the royal family as they grieve the death of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
We take a moment to be thankful for the Duke of Edinburgh’s life and the lives of other people who have dedicated themselves to serving others.
We pray for courage and wisdom to find ways to offer support and encouragement to others.
May our own lives be examples of faithfulness and commitment to what we believe.
May we always think of the needs of other people.

Publication date: April 2021   (Vol.23 No.4)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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