LEICESTER, United Kingdom – Cardinal Vincent Nichols has offered his prayers for the repose of the soul of Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, who died on Friday at the age of 99.
Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster and President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, called it a moment of “sadness and loss.”
“How much we will miss Prince Philip’s presence and character, so full of life and vigor. He has been an example of steadfast loyalty and duty cheerfully given. May he rest in peace,” the cardinal said.
Philip was born on the Greek island of Corfu on June 10, 1921, the grandson King George I of Greece. He married then-Princess Elizabeth in 1947. He became prince-consort when Elizabeth ascended the throne in 1952.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson paid tribute to the prince, calling him “a much-loved and highly respected public figure.”
“He was the longest serving consort in history, one of the last surviving people in this country to have served in the Second World War at Cape Matapan, where he was mentioned in dispatches for bravery, and in the invasion of Sicily, where he saved his ship by his quick thinking and from that conflict, he took an ethic of service that he applied throughout the unprecedented changes of the post war era,” the prime minister said.
“He was an environmentalist, and a champion of the natural world long before it was fashionable,” Johnson continued.
“We remember the [Prince Philip] for all of this and above all for his steadfast support for Her Majesty, The Queen. Not just as her consort, by her side every day of her reign, but as her husband, her ‘strength and stay’ of more than 70 years,” Johnson said.
Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury, the head of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion, also paid tribute to Prince Philip.
“On the occasions when I met him, I was always struck by his obvious joy at life, his enquiring mind and his ability to communicate to people from every background and walk of life. He was a master at putting people at their ease and making them feel special,” Welby said.
“The legacy he leaves is enormous. The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, which he founded in 1956, has inspired generations of young people to help others and instilled in them a vision for citizenship and a desire to serve their communities. His work with countless charities and organizations reflected his wide- ranging, global interests in topics including wildlife, sport, design, engineering and inter-faith dialogue,” he continued.
“In his powerful advocacy for conservation his was a prophetic voice for over half a century, as he brought people from around the world to a new concern and commitment to action for the future of our planet,” Welby added.
Follow Charles Collins on Twitter: @CharlesinRome