Gun salutes to remember Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh
- Credit: Archant
Norfolk is continuing to pay tribute to Prince Philip, who died on Friday, aged 99.
The Duke of Edinburgh was with his wife, the Queen, at Windsor Castle when he died and flags across the country on official buildings are flying at half mast and will do so until 8am on the day of his funeral.
That private occasion is expected to take place next weekend in Windsor.
Dignitaries, schools, religious leaders, historic associations and people across the county, which was well loved by the duke, have spoken of their memories of the 99-year-old.
Rachel Stroulger, Headteacher at Burnham Market Primary School, said: "It is with great fondness that we recall the Duke of Edinburgh’s visit to the opening of the Memorial Hall in South Creake, in 2015, where a group of children of mixed ages from Burnham Market Primary School, showed the special visitor a map of the local area which they had drawn themselves. The Duke of Edinburgh showed great interest in their art work and he engaged cheerfully with them all – it was an absolute delight and pleasure to be part of such a memorable event.”
Carl Lamb, 59, trustee of RAF Air Defence Radar Museum, near Horning, who was from Yorkshire originally but came to Norfolk whilst serving in the RAF between 1979 and 1988, said: "Prince Phillip came to the Air Defence Radar Museum two or three times, and the last time he came was in 2014 as a private visit.
"The thing that sticks in my mind the most is because he is ex-military himself and ex-royal navy, the ADRM goes back to 1941 so he was very keen to tell stories about when he was in the navy both at sea but also when he was in charge of the convoys coming across when he was based in Liverpool.
"He was very well briefed, he knew the subject backwards, he was extremely interested in what was going on and was very supportive of what the museum was trying to achieve with regards to safeguarding our heritage.
"One or two [of the stories] were a bit risqué should we say.
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"I would describe Prince Phillip as a man's man, he said it as he saw it, talked straight and he didn't take fools gladly.
"Obviously when you have a royal visit it is always very difficult to know what to give them as a parting gift, bearing in mind they have everything you can possibly think of, he arrived by helicopter and left by helicopter.
"I had to give the speech at the end and part of the speech was obviously thanking them, and I decided that all we could give him was a simple mug with the ADRM logo on it and he took that very well and made a few jokes about that actually, that he would obviously never be able to forget us, 'how can he, he has his morning coffee' "
"Being ex-military myself, it's not the first time I have met members of the royal family.
"Even though he was what he was, he was there as a private visit so it was very much talking along the lines of men that served in the military.
"You had a bonding, he was asking very straight questions that related to the museum and how the military worked which was relatively straightforward to answer.
"We have lost the unique character that this country owes a large debt to."
The Lord Mayor of Norwich, Vaughan Thomas, said: “On behalf of the city of Norwich, I extend my greatest sympathy to The Queen and the Royal Family following the news of the death of The Duke of Edinburgh. My thoughts are with his family.
“Here in Norwich we are marking his death respectfully in a number of ways. The Union Flag on City Hall is now flying at half-mast and will continue to do so until 8am on the day after the funeral.
“Other arrangements are also in place for those who wish to pay their respects, including via an e-book of condolence or by laying flowers and other tributes.”
Head of Norfolk Freemasons Stephen Allen said the Duke of Edinburgh was a welcome and much loved visitor to Norfolk and the family home at Sandringham House and the organisation was deeply saddened by his death.
He added: "Our members join with the rest of the county in sending our deepest condolences to Her Majesty The Queen and Members of the Royal Family on the lost her dearly beloved husband, father and great grandfather and give thanks for a life well live and much admired.”
The duke started his life in Freemasonry in 1952, at the age of 31 and was initiated into Navy Lodge, No 2612, on 5 December 5 of that year.
On March 6, 1953, HRH Prince Philip progressed to the Second Degree of Freemasonry, before advancing to the Third Degree on 4 May 1953.
The United Grand Lodge of England issued his Grand Lodge Certificate on May 7 that same year and he has remained a member to this day.
He was known to drop into meetings at Navy Lodge almost unannounced.
The Bishop of East Anglia, Rt Rev Alan Hopes, has paid tribute to Prince Philip, on behalf of Catholics across the Diocese of East Anglia.
He said: “We pray for the repose of the soul of His Royal Highness, the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. In mourning his death, we express our sincere condolences to Her Majesty the Queen and the Royal Family.
“Prince Philip’s long life was marked by an extraordinary example of duty and service to his Queen and his country. Countless individuals will have been touched by his many initiatives, particularly young people. His fidelity, in family life even in times of difficulty, has been inspiring. May he now rest in peace.”
Gun salutes marking the death are to take place across the UK, in Gibraltar and at sea today in mark of respect for the former Royal Navy officer.
Saluting batteries will fire 41 rounds at one round every minute from midday in cities including London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, as well as Gibraltar and from Royal Navy warships, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.
First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, the most senior officer in the Royal Navy, said: "His genuine empathy, affection and engagement with the Royal Navy resonated with us all.
"His generous spirit, his delight in all aspects of the Naval Service, and his deep understanding of our values, standards and ethos made him such a close friend to the Service for over eight decades."
The public is being encouraged to observe the gun salutes, which will be broadcast online and on television, from home.