18 May 2024

Outpouring of support after mother’s death was overwhelming, says Edward

18 May 2024

The Duke of Edinburgh has said the outpouring of support following the death of his mother, the late Queen Elizabeth II, was “overwhelming”.

Edward deputised for the King as Lord High Commissioner at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland on Saturday, where he welcomed the newly elected Moderator, Rev Dr Shaw James Paterson.

As he addressed the Edinburgh assembly, the duke spoke of the support he received following the death of his mother from royal chaplains.

The late monarch passed away in September 2022 at Balmoral in Aberdeenshire, bringing an end to a 70-year reign and sparking tributes and memorials across the country, including in Scotland’s capital.

“For my own part, I just want to pay personal tribute to the chaplains of the Chapels Royal and especially those here in Scotland,” he said.

“There have been moments recently where I have been lucky to have sensed God’s care and love.

“And who could forget the scenes that followed the passing of my mother?

“The outpouring of emotions, the demonstration of respect, love and grief was overwhelming and a privilege to experience and behold.

“I think I can speak for my whole family when I say we will remain forever grateful for that support.”

The death of his father, Philip, his predecessor as duke, just the previous year, Edward said, made his mother’s passing “far more emotional”.

The Duke of Edinburgh, flanked by First Minister John Swinney and Edinburgh Lord Provost Robert Aldridge, said he was “really touched and comforted” by how chaplains helped the royal family “behind closed doors and away from the public gaze and the scrutiny”.

“I know it’s part of the job description, so perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised, yet it not’s necessarily what they did, it’s how they did it,” he said.

“Here were centuries of tradition, of rituals long practised, of prayer, of care and of comfort.”

Edward also congratulated Dr Paterson on his appointment as Moderator for the next 12 months – replacing the Rt Rev Sally Foster-Fulton – joking of the similarities between the life of a child of a minister, with that of a child of the royal family.

“Growing up in the family of a minister is never easy; having to come to terms with sharing one or both of your parents with the wider parish family,” he said.

“And believe me, I can empathise.”

Responding to the Duke of Edinburgh’s address, Dr Paterson asked him to urge the King, who has been diagnosed with cancer, to “take the time he needs before he gets up to full speed”.

“His health is important, and we will be praying for him and all who have got health concerns,” the Moderator added.

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