Queen honours Philip’s aides and members of military with key funeral roles

Duke of Edinburgh funeral
Duke of Edinburgh funeral (PA Wire)
22:30pm, Thu 10 Jun 2021
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The Duke of Edinburgh’s most loyal and trusted aides, who took part in his funeral procession, and members of the military who formed his coffin bearer party and the Land Rover hearse crew have been honoured by the Queen.

In a special set of rare Demise awards issued in the wake of the duke’s death and poignantly announced on what would have been his 100th birthday, the Queen recognised the service of those closest to Philip

The duke’s long-serving private secretary Brigadier Archie Miller-Bakewell was made a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO).

Brig Miller-Bakewell, who was also Philip’s treasurer, was the duke’s right hand man for 11 years, taking on the role in 2010.

Duke of Edinburgh funeral (PA Wire)

William Henderson, who was the duke’s page, has become a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order (LVO).

Philip’s valet David Berwick, who worked for the Queen’s consort for 46 years, joining his staff in 1975, has been made a Member of the Royal Victorian Order (MVO).

All three devoted years of service to the duke and royal family, and were invited to process behind his coffin as it was ferried through the grounds of Windsor Castle on a Land Rover hearse.

They followed the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge, the Duke of Sussex and other members of the family as they made the slow walk to St George’s Chapel for the poignant service, held amid Covid-19 restrictions.

The Queen last awarded Demise honours 19 years ago in 2002, in a combined list following the deaths of her mother Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and sister Princess Margaret, honouring those such as private secretaries, ladies in waiting and the bearer party.

She has recognised others who played key roles at Philip’s funeral including the Land Rover crew.

Duke of Edinburgh funeral (PA Wire)

The duke designed a custom-built Land Rover Defender TD5 130 as his own hearse and the polished sturdy, utilitarian vehicle was used to transport his coffin from the castle to the chapel.

Corporal Louis Murray drove the hearse while Corporal Craig French was the commander, sitting next to him and checking all was clear around the vehicle.

Both men, who serve in the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, have been awarded the Royal Victorian Medal (Silver) for their vital roles.

Those tasked with organising the carefully choreographed military ceremonial aspects of the duke’s final farewell have also been honoured.

Brigade Major Lieutenant Colonel Guy Stone of the Welsh Guards, who was in overall charge of the military arrangements, has been made an LVO for his service.

Lt Col Stone, 48, from Notting Hill, west London, described the funeral as the monumental experience of his long career, as the military pulled together to deliver on the day.

Duke of Edinburgh funeral (PA Wire)

“I’ve never been involved in anything where everyone was working so hard, regardless of their role, to make it so right and that made me exceptionally proud to be part of the Armed Forces,” Lt Col Stone said.

He was tasked with the massive challenge of rewriting the military ceremonial plans to comply for Covid restrictions, including making sure participants were bubbled in groups, socially distanced and tested every day for coronavirus.

He added he was “overwhelmed” to hear he was being made an LVO.

“It made me so very proud for our tiny team because it is a very tiny team that is tasked with putting together these huge events. I’m so proud of all those with whom I share this honour.”

Garrison Sergeant Major Andrew “Vern” Stokes of the Coldstream Guards was responsible for setting the discipline standards and seeing to the practical side of the military’s involvement.

Duke of Edinburgh funeral (PA Wire)

It was his job to make sure the distances between troops were kept exactly to the plan and that the execution of the displays was immaculate.

He has been made an MVO.

Warrant Officer Class 1 Garrison Sergeant Major Stokes, from Telford, Shropshire, said he was “hugely delighted yet humbled”, adding: “It has come as a great surprise.”

He will be taking part in the mini Trooping to mark the Queen’s official birthday at Windsor on Saturday.

“It will be a surreal experience, as it is every year in my role as the Garrison Sergeant Major, but in 2021 with the knowledge that I have been recognised for ‘distinguished personal service to the monarch’ it will be a particularly proud one,” he said.

Twelve members of the Royal Marines and 12 Grenadier Guards who formed the two bearer parties for the coffin were also named as award recipients.

Duke of Edinburgh funeral (PA Wire)

Most have received the Royal Victorian Medal (Silver), with some being made MVOs including Warrant Officer Class 1 Robert Henderson and Captain Mark Thrift of the Royal Marines, and Lieutenant Alec Heywood and Warrant Officer Class 2 Vandell McLean of the Grenadier Guards.

The Queen’s Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards bearer party was responsible for carefully moving the coffin from Windsor’s private chapel to the inner hall and then on to the hearse.

Lance Sergeant Joshua Andrews, 29 from Portsmouth, of the Grenadier Guards, came off paternity leave voluntarily after the birth of his third child, daughter Luella, to carry the duke’s coffin.

He said at the time: “Being in The Queen’s Company for as long as I have, it means the world that I have the honour to lift and carry Her Majesty’s husband. It is something that will go down in history and my little girls will grow up knowing that their dad was a part of it”.

He has been awarded the Royal Victorian Medal (Silver).

Following the procession, the Royal Marines bearer party lifted the coffin from the vehicle and carried it up the steps and into and through St George’s Chapel.

Duke of Edinburgh funeral (PA Wire)

The duke had close associations with the services. He was Captain General of the Royal Marines for 64 years and was Colonel of the Grenadier Guards from 1975-2018.

Others honoured included the duke’s correspondence secretary Suzy Lethbridge, his assistant private secretary Rachel Loryman and his archivist and librarian Alexandra McCreery, who were all made LVOs.

The duke was known for having a loyal team of staff, despite his legendary displays of temper.

Many stayed with him for years, showing great devotion.

The Royal Victorian Order and Royal Victorian Medal are in the Queen’s gift and bestowed independently of 10 Downing Street.

They are given to people who have served the Queen or the monarchy in a personal way.

The Order was founded by Queen Victoria in 1896.

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