A week of remembering


Dean Sue reflects on Prince Philip's association with our cathedral and her personal gratitude to the Duke. She talks about the "Lovers Knot" which for 72 years has witnessed the love and devotion of our monarch and her consort.

This week is a week of remembering. Throughout the week as a nation, we are called on to remember the life and work of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. On Thursday as Cathedral and city we remember the Hillsborough disaster and those who died in or who have been affected by that disaster.

Remembering is an important part of the Christian tradition. Having so recently journeyed through Holy Week and Easter we see the importance of remembering the last week in Jesus’ life, his death and his glorious resurrection. Here in the Cathedral we celebrate Holy Communion every day as we remember Christ’s promise to be there with us in the blessed sacrament.

Throughout the week, as we reflect on the life of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh we are reminded that he was a refugee, he left his homeland in an orange crate. We are reminded that he served in the Second World War and is a War veteran. We are reminded of his passion for the earth and his work with the World Wild Life Fund. We are reminded of his Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme for young people. We are reminded that he was a husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather besides being the Queen’s consort.

Here in the Cathedral we are remembering the visit of HRH Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip to the Cathedral in 1949. The pictures of the day reveal two very young royals and as Princess Elizabeth is given the ‘Golden Key’ to open the Rankin Porch we see Prince Philip two steps behind her.

In commemoration of that visit the monograms ‘E’ and ‘P’ were entwined with a true ‘Lovers Knot’ and carved on the first pier of the Nave. Choristers Kevin Lavelle and Peter Smith held the stencil while the Princess dipped the brush in the white paint to trace her initial.

 A member of the Cathedral Congregation, Alan Matthews recounts the story of his friend Peter Smith, one of the boys holding the pot of paint. Peter told Alan that Prince Philip said ‘let’s slosh it on!’ After the ceremony Tom Murphy carved the sculpture into the stonework. Where it proudly stands today.       

For over 72 years the ‘Lovers Knot’ has witnessed the love and devotion of monarch and consort. It stands as testament not only to their love for each other, but also for the love of this Country.

The service given by Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh to Queen and Country is an example to a world which has become so individualistic. He lived a life for others whether it be for the family or for his many charities and in that is an example for all of us.

In remembering Prince Philip over the past days I have become more aware of how I benefited from the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. I have a Gold Award and as I think back I now realise how trekking 50 miles and more across the Brecon Beacons, how serving others through the award gave me an outlook on life that is about resilience and service to others. I have much to be grateful for in the way the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme allowed me to become the person I felt called to be.

There is much to remember this week and there is much to be grateful for.

Let us pray

Blessed Jesus,
Lord of Lords and King of Kings,
we give you thanks
for the life of Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
for the grace and mercy he received from you,
for his faithful love and support of Her Majesty, The Queen,
and his service to this nation at home and abroad.
Enfold him in your everlasting arms
grant him rest
and raise him up at the last
in the company of the saints in light. Amen

Dean Sue