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World News

Prince Philip remembered for 'real and endured' Christian faith in memorial service

by Sophie Drew

The Duke of Edinburgh has been remembered for his "enduring" Christian faith during a memorial service at Westminster Abbey.

However, Prince Philip did not "have time" for the "theological controversies that divide people", said the Dean of Westminster, Reverend Dr David Hoyle, who led the service. 

Instead, his eulogy reflected on the Duke's "heartfelt trust in a loving God", and the Christian motto at the centre of his lifelong service. 

The Queen welcomed well-wishers from across the world for a second service, dedicated to her husband, who died in April 2021. 

The Dean of Westminster said: "On the back of his store in Windsor Castle is fixed - in perpetuity and for everyone to see - a small, enamelled brass plate on which is inscribed his motto. It is simply, "God is my help." 

"We do not understand the man unless we see him at the heart, to be a man of faith. That faith was never dogmatic, sentimental or paraded. 

"As it went in search of understanding, was frequently questioned and examined. However, it was real and it endured, inspiring and shaping a lifetime commitment to the making of this world a better place.

"I'm not sure Prince Philip had time for the theological controversies that divide people; his faith was a heartfelt trust in a loving God, who's intention for this world is glimpsed in the life and teaching of Jesus Christ. 

"Such trust, such hope, as could unite people in a common endeavour. 

"This trust, this hope, was not idle, wishful thinking or escapism. Rather, it evoked in him a kind of impatience - an eagerness - for that God-intended future for which his gaze was always fixed. 

"He knew, however, that that future - from any human point of view - had to be arrived at step-by-step. 

"He was practical, wanting to put flesh upon his dreams." 

Despite his lofty position as part of the British Monarchy, the Dean of Westminster said that Prince Philip always looked to God to guide him, instead of getting caught up in flattery.

Rev Dr Hoyle continued: "I sense he did not believe that these achievements were made in his own strength. I am reminded of those words "God is my help". I think he understood his constant need for inspiration and of guidance.

"I'm quite sure that his prayers were not reserved for public occasions alone. 

"He would hate to think that I should paint a picture of him as a plaster saint - someone without the usual human foibles and failings. 

"He was far too self-aware ever to be taken in by flattery. Of course, it must be said that his life bore the marks of sacrifice and service."

"Unlike most of us, however, he was one of those rare people who remained true to - and guided by - what you might call an inner-spiritual compass

A sense of being called to play a part in the making of a God-intended world. 

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