Reflections on the death and funeral of HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh

Well done, thou good and faithful servant: Matthew 25: 21

Today is a day of historic significance - the funeral of the Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, husband of the Queen and the longest serving royal consort in history. Prince Philip was a man of considerable ability, whose contribution towards the national life of the United Kingdom has been seriously underestimated. A decorated war hero, Prince Philip was a deeply spiritual man, whose faith was combined with a deep passion for conservation, long before the environmental movement became fashionable or trendy. He is undoubtedly one of the most significant personalities of the twentieth and twenty first centuries.

The passing of Prince Philip has wider implications. The Covid-19 pandemic has been the cause of much grief and sadness. Not just the 127,191 lives that have been lost in the UK, but also the isolation and separation from loved ones and our inability to attend the funerals of people we have known and admired. As very few people will be able to pay their respects at the royal funeral, so we too have been denied an appropriate expression for our grief and sadness for the people we have loved and lost.

Perhaps the real meaning of today is to be found not just in this time of historic significance, where we mark the passing of the Prince Philip, but a recalling of our shared grief that was unmarked and unexpressed.

Rev Sean Swindells
Cruden Parish Church

Bible Reading

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Matthew 5:4


A prayer for those who grieve.

We give you thanks, Lord God, for each and every new day.
We give thanks to you as the Creator and as the giver of life.
We praise you that through Jesus, your Son, that life becomes eternal -
Through his Easter activity and his promise of life forever more,
and through faith in him.

We give you thanks for the people who enrich our lives,
They too are gifts from you.
For their friendship, their love, their companionship, we praise you.
And in a world where too many are isolated
We bring to you those for whom friendship and love
Are luxuries they don’t have.
We hold before you those fleeing their native countries
For safer ground
And who are left to feel unwelcome.
We pray for those whose lives have been turned upside down
Through warring, through violence, through grief.

We bring to you the governments of the nations of this world
and we pray, in your name Lord Jesus,
that they may know wisdom
and seek peace and justice above all else;
caring for all those who are their citizens
across nations and across borders.

We hold before you all who grieve
And we think particularly at this time,
Of the Royal Family
And of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, whose loss is so great
And who faces a gap in her life that can never be filled.
For all who mourn:
For all who mourn long-standing relationships
And relationships that were unable to be formed, we pray.

We hold each one before you
Asking Lord God, for your peace, your comfort,
For your strength, and for your courage.
We offer you the families of this world;
Those who have lost children unborn,
Those who have lost young people and adults, parents and friends.
Envelop all of them in your love this day and always.

These prayers we offer, Creator God,
Holding onto the promise of your constant presence with us
Throughout all eternity.
In the name of Christ.

(Very Rev Dr Susan Brown)

Prayer for when you can’t go to a funeral

Dear God,
Thank you for x, for all that they meant to me and to others.
I so wanted to say goodbye, to be alongside my friends and family.
Help me to know you are there,
Holding all my hopes,
Holding all those I Love, especially x,
And holding me this day.
Be close with your peace and hope.

Loving God,
Life is so strange just now – I don’t know what to do.
Comfort me with your presence,
Be with all who grieve
And give us strength and courage to face this and all the days ahead.

God of love,
Surround all those I love,
Especially those I can no longer meet.
Be light in my darkness,
Be hope in my fear,
Be love in every moment,
And give me grace to face each day ahead.

(From the Church of England)


May God in his infinite love and mercy bring the whole Church, living and departed,
to a joyful resurrection and the fulfilment of his eternal kingdom,
and the blessing of God Almighty,
the Father,
the Son and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always.