We express our sincere condolences to the Queen and all the Royal Family on the death of Prince Philip at the age of ninety-nine. He was a dedicated public servant and consort, a much-loved husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He was also a great friend to the Jewish people, attending many Jewish functions and events.
Philip was himself a refugee and recalled that for many of his early years he had “no fixed abode”. Whilst at school in Germany, he got into trouble for mocking the Nazi salute, and then – when the Hitler Youth began to infiltrate the school – his parents quickly brought him to the United Kingdom. There in 1933 he attended Gordonstoun School in Scotland whose headmaster Kurt Hahn was himself a Jewish refugee from Germany who helped others escape.
Hahn was a strong character and pioneering educationalist. He became a mentor and friend to the young Philip. His approach to physical education, encouraging personal initiative, compassion and service to others not only imprinted these qualities in Philip’s character, but also became the inspiration for what would become the highly influential Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme that trained thousands of young people in life skills and leadership. Hahn himself became a disciple of Yeshua, joining the Church of England in 1945, where he was active member and speaker.
The ceremony at Yad Vashem in honour of Princess Alice, 30 October 1994. Prince Philip, right, with his sister Princess Sophie of Hanover in the Hall of Remembrance (Yad Vashem)
Prince Philip’s mother, Princess Alice, is lovingly remembered for sheltering a Jewish family from the Holocaust and is listed as one of the “Righteous Among the Nations” at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum. She was buried on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem and Prince Philip visited Israel in 1994 to honour her memory and meet with Israeli leaders. Prince Philip’s long and distinguished service demonstrated courage, patience, resilience and hope, and his forthright manner and outspoken wit won him many friends. We wish ‘chayim aruchim’, long life, to the Queen and the Royal Family, and trust that he may receive the welcome of our Messiah, “well done, thou good and faithful servant”.
Prayer: God of all comfort, we give thanks for the life of service of Prince Philip and pray for your comfort and strength for Queen Elizabeth and all the Royal Family at this time of loss. Thank you for the life and example of this man of courage and faith who served his Queen, country and Your purposes so well. May we who bear witness to Yeshua, the Prince of Peace, show the same faithful service, integrity of character, and joie de vivre both in this age and the age to come. In our Messiah’s name we pray. Amen.