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Prince Philip 'persuaded' the Queen to talk for the first time about her own faith in Christmas broadcast

by Chantalle Edmunds

Prince Philip persuaded and encouraged the Queen to talk about her own Christian faith in her 2000 Christmas broadcast, according to a church leader who knew the Duke well.

Following the death of His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh, Rev Prof Ian Bradley, the author of God Save the Queen, spoke to Premier about his memories of the Duke.

"He was the person really who encouraged the queen to talk about her own faith in her Christmas broadcasts. You know, in the old days, they really used to be more like travelogues, and they would just say where the royal family had been. 

"But in 2000, the Queen's spoke very movingly and powerfully about her own Christian faith and the impact it had on her. And there was a very positive response from viewers. And Philip, it was Philip who really persuaded the queen to make more of her own Christian faith and he said, 'You should be talking about this.'"

Rev Prof Ian Bradley also preached for the Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen as a visiting preacher at the Parish of Braemar and Crathie. The Queen visits the church for Sunday services when staying at Balmoral with members of her family including Prince Philip.

He told Premier that Prince Philip liked to take notes during sermons and he was extremely interested in theology:

"He would note down all the details of the sermon. He was extremely interested in, in theology, he had a wonderful knowledge of the Bible, and then he would sort of quiz you at lunchtime, ask you about your sermon and really put you on your mettle. And I was amazed at his biblical knowledge. I mean, we sat up one evening, talking almost far into the night about biblical references to the environment, his great interest, of course. He was he was very well steeped in the Bible, but he was particularly interested in what the Bible had to say about creation and our relationship with creation.

"And he did a lot, of course, in his own life, to forward church involvement, and indeed, the involvement of all faiths, in creation. He was the man who was really behind that conference when he was the President of the International World Wildlife Fund in 1986, which brought together Christians and Buddhists and Hindus, and Jews, and Muslims, to think about their attitude to God's creation. 

"And at the end of the conference, it was Prince Philip, who proposed the creation of an alliance of religions and conservation, which was duly set up. And I mean, he put it in his own characteristically blunt terms. He said, 'If you believe in God, which is what Christians are supposed to do, you should feel a responsibility to care for God's creation.' And he was passionately involved in this. He was always writing letters to faith leaders and governments, he produced a very interesting book in 1989, called Survival or Extinction, A Christian Attitude to the Environment. And this was, you know, long before a lot of people were getting concerned about climate change and global warming and everything. And he said that he talked about the urgent need to face up to what we humans are doing, and that should lie heavily on the Christian conscience. So this was his particular Crusade, I think," Rev Bradley added.

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