A Service of Thanksgiving for the life of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, will take place at Westminster Abbey today, Tuesday 29th March 2022, at 1130hrs.
The service will give thanks for The Duke of Edinburgh’s dedication to family, nation and Commonwealth and recognise the importance of his legacy in creating opportunities for young people, promoting environmental stewardship and conservation, and supporting the Armed Forces.
The service will in particular pay tribute to The Duke of Edinburgh’s contribution to public life and steadfast support for the over 700 charitable organisations with which His Royal Highness was associated throughout his life. The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, founded by His Royal Highness in 1956, will feature prominently in the service.
The Service of Thanksgiving will incorporate some elements planned for the funeral of The Duke of Edinburgh, which were unable to go ahead due to Covid restrictions in place at the time. This includes Gold Award Holders from The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, and representatives from UK Cadet Force Associations, step lining the entry routes into Westminster Abbey for members of the Royal Family and other guests. His Royal Highness was Colonel-in-Chief of the Army Cadet Force, a role he first took up in 1953.
The Queen has also been actively involved in the plans for today’s Service of Thanksgiving, with many elements reflecting Her Majesty’s wishes.
Before the service begins, The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Portsmouth (Royal Band), directed by Lieutenant Colonel Jason Burcham RM, Principal Director of Music, will play as the congregation arrives. The Duke of Edinburgh was Captain General of the Royal Marines for more than six decades. The service will be sung by the Choirs of Westminster Abbey, and Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace, directed by James O’Donnell, Organist and Master of the Choristers, Westminster Abbey.
The service will be conducted by the Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle, Dean of Westminster, who will give the Bidding. Ms Doyin Sonibare, who holds her Bronze, Silver and Gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards, will give a tribute to His Royal Highness’ legacy, recognising the impact of the Award on young people across the globe. Ms Sonibare, who signed up for the Award through her local youth club in Barking, will share how the opportunity empowered her to fulfil her potential – both personally and professionally – and will continue to do the same for generations to come.
The First Lesson, Isaiah 40:25-31, will be read by The Right Honourable the Lord Wallace of Tankerness QC, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. The Second Lesson, Philippians 4:4-9, will be read by The Right Reverend and Right Honourable Dame Sarah Mullally DBE, Dean of Her Majesty’s Chapel Royals.
The Right Reverend David Conner KCVO, the Dean of Windsor, will then give the Address. David Conner has held the position as Dean of Windsor since 1998 and preached at services in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, on the occasions of The Duke of Edinburgh’s 80th and 90th birthdays in 2001 and 2011 respectively. In April 2021, he led the funeral service for The Duke of Edinburgh in St George’s Chapel.
After the Address, the Choir will sing Te Deum in C by Benjamin Britten, originally selected by The Duke of Edinburgh for his funeral service.
It was also His Royal Highness’ expressed wish that clergy from the Royal Estates of Windsor, Sandringham and Balmoral – known as The Queen’s domestic chaplains – played a part in the funeral service, given The Duke’s active role in the day-to-day management of the Estates. As this was not possible due to Covid restrictions in April 2021, the Minister of Crathie Church, the Rector of Sandringham and the Chaplain to the Royal Chapel of All Saints, Windsor Great Park, will offer prayers today recognising The Duke of Edinburgh’s energy and spirit of adventure.
Guide me, O thou great Redeemer will then be sung by the congregation. The hymn was part of the plans for His Royal Highness’ funeral service pre-Covid, at The Duke’s request. In line with government guidelines at the time, there was no congregational singing at the funeral service for The Duke of Edinburgh in April 2021.
At the conclusion of the Thanksgiving Service, The Archbishop of Canterbury will pronounce the Blessing, and the National Anthem will be sung by the congregation. The final piece of music, The Seafarers, will be played by The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Portsmouth as the guests depart Westminster Abbey.
Flowers at the service will be in shades of red, white and blue. The larger floral arrangements will feature red roses, carnations and Gerbera, white roses, Eustoma and large white chrysanthemums and blue agapanthus, delphinium and eryngium (known as sea holly). The smaller posies will feature red freesias, alstroemeria and spray roses, white dendrobium orchids, freesias and Eustoma and blue iris and eryngium. Orchids featured in The Queen’s wedding bouquet in 1947, and sea holly echoes The Duke of Edinburgh’s career in the Navy, and lifelong affection for the sea.