Prince Philip's Suffolk links remembered at Bury St Edmunds service
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
A service remembering Prince Philip and his connections to Suffolk has been held at Bury St Edmunds cathedral, ahead of his funeral tomorrow.
Mourners who had been invited to the service wore black and sat socially distanced on the cathedral's pews.
Among them were HM Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Clare, Countess of Euston, the High Sheriff of Suffolk, Edward Creasey and interfaith representatives, as well as a number of young people who are participants in the Duke of Edinburgh scheme.
Students from the Royal Hospital School, representing the Royal Navy, also attended.
Presiding over the service was the Right Reverend Martin Seeley, Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich who entered the church wearing a black mask, along with his mitre and staff.
The Bishop said: "We are indeed mourning. Sharing in the grief of our beloved Queen. Expressing our heartfelt sorrow at Prince Philip's death.
"Praying for Her Majesty and all the royal family as they bear the loss of husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
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"We mourn too for our own loss. The loss we experience as a people and a nation at the death of one who has been part, one way or another, of all our lives for all our lives.
"Prince Philip held something for all of us, represented something on behalf of all of us and we have lost that now."
The choir, who wore black robes, took their masks off to sing hymns but members of the congregation were not allowed to sing under coronavirus restrictions.
Reflecting on the Prince's life and his connections to Suffolk, Lord Timothy Tollemache recalled the story of the royal's trip 2002 to Suffolk to commemorate the Golden Jubilee.
He said: "Their helicopter flew into Ipswich and we drove down to the waterfront where a huge crowd had gathered. So many people had the chance to see them both at close quarters.
"We then travelled in convoy up the A14 where every bridge was crowded with people on our way to Stowmarket.
"Here again there were enormous crowds, before we travelled on to Bury St Edmunds with a visit to the Cathedral and a lunch at The Athenaeum.
"This lunch of course gave me somewhat of a problem. And I was anxious as well of who on earth should I choose to sit next to both the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh and indeed on the tables which had been set up for them.
"It was, perhaps, a good example of how not to make friends."
He went on to recount the royal couple's trip to Redgrave fen in search of a rare raft spider and Prince Philip's trips to Felixstowe Docks.
Lord Tollemache added: "I'm sure that all in this cathedral and in Suffolk would wish to give their thoughts and prayers to Her Majesty and to say to Prince Philip 'Rest in Peace, you have deserved it'."
The 2002 trip was not the the Duke of Edinburgh's only visit to St Edmundsbury cathedral. He last visited the cathedral for the Royal Maundy service on April 9, 2009 — exactly 12 years to the day he passed away.