On Monday 12 April, Sir David Amess paid tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh following his passing. Sir David spoke of the Duke of Edinburgh’s lasting legacy and the many accomplishments he achieved throughout his long life.
Sir David Amess said:
I pay this tribute to his Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh not just in a personal capacity, but on behalf of those residents I represent in the constituency of Southend West who would like to express their appreciation of everything the Duke has done for our nation.
Without question, the Duke of Edinburgh was one of my favourite royals. He really was my sort of person. We most definitely shared the same sense of humour, which not everyone understands and occasionally gets you into hot water, but there was never any malice. He was kind, generous, wise and a thoroughly decent person.
For someone who lived so long—just short of 100 years, and how I was looking forward to his sending a message to my annual centenarians’ tea party!—it was incredible that he did so much throughout his life. His childhood, his upbringing and what followed were quite extraordinary. It is not everyone whose mother becomes a nun and it is not everyone who has suffered so many personal tragedies, all carried out in the public gaze; yet in spite of innumerable challenges, he really did make the most of his life, whatever it threw up. In that, he set a wonderful example, hence the Duke of Edinburgh Awards.
I met him on a number of occasions, and I have three stand-out memories. When, together with the Queen, he visited Southend and they were going on to my former constituency of Basildon, he suggested I join them in the car; I did not think that would go down particularly well. For many years, I was associated with the Caravan Club, and he hosted a garden party at Buckingham Palace in 2007 for the club’s centenary. It was a wonderful occasion. Finally, at another event, he acted as the host of a Buckingham Palace reception on a rare occasion when Her Majesty was unwell, and we had a very amusing exchange, which I am not prepared to broadcast publicly.
For me, his lasting legacies will be as follows. I have had the privilege of handing out the wonderful Duke of Edinburgh Awards on many occasions. I am very involved with the scouts, many of whom subsequently went on to achieve the award. There was such pride and joy in the faces of the recipients, who really felt they had achieved something. Then there was his wonderful work through the World Wildlife Fund. He loved animals, and was passionate about the conservation of endangered species and the preservation of our environment long before it became a popular cause. His greatest legacy from my point of view is probably the support that he has given to our Queen. I doubt she would have been the wonderful monarch she is without the support her husband has given her over so many years.
Finally, I am drawn to two remarks made by members of the royal family following the Duke’s death. The first was from his daughter, Anne, who said:
“You know it’s going to happen but you are never really ready”,
and his daughter-in-law, the Countess of Wessex said:
“it was like someone took him by the hand and off he went”.
His spirit will live on in his children and grandchildren, who I hope will take notice of his wise counsels for the future of our monarchy. We will not see his like again. May he now rest in peace and receive his just reward.