Statement - His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh

10 Apr 2021
Prime Minister

PRIME MINISTER: Good morning everyone, on this very sad day, awaking to the news for many about the passing of His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh. On behalf of the Australian people, and the Australian Government, I extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to Her Majesty and the Royal Family for the passing and death of His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh.

Your Majesty, here in Australia, and indeed across the world, your Commonwealth family joins in your sorrow and your mourning and that of your family. But also, we give thanks for the life of who you described as your strength and your stay. Your Prince, Prince Philip. Husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.

The Duke's life was one of duty and of service, of loyalty and of honour. Memories of him will of course tell stories of his candour, and a unique and forceful and authentic personality. But above all, he was a man who was steadfast, who could be relied upon, always standing by his Queen.

In Australia, we also know of that steadfast commitment and loyalty of the Duke of Edinburgh. Patron of some 50 organisations here in Australia, a legacy of 775,000 Australians who were award recipients under the Duke of Edinburgh Award program. As the Governor-General reminded us last night, he visited our country on more than 20 occasions. On board the HMS Ramillies in 1940 as a midshipman. In that crowning tour when he had joined the new Queen, in great ceremony and great excitement here in Australia. But there were also moments of deep compassion, in particular in the terrible bushfires of 1967 in Tasmania, where he comforted the victims and he toured the burnt out Cascade Brewery.

There are many towering figures that the world has lost and known but few have been before us in our lifetimes for such a long time. His presence and service a reassurance, a reminder of the stability we so often need in a world that can be so uncertain. With his passing, we say farewell to another of the greatest generation. The generation that defied tyranny, that won a peace, and built a liberal world order that protects and favours freedom. An order that indeed Australia still shelters under for our own peace and prosperity and stability to this day.

But above all, today, we think of our Queen. While your strength and stay, Your Majesty, may now have passed, Jenny and I pray that you will find great comfort in your faith and your family at this time. But we also, Your Majesty, say to you as a Commonwealth, let us also now be your strength and stay, as you continue to endure, as you continue to serve so loyally and so faithfully, as you have done over so many generations. She has been there for us over such a long time. Let us be there now for you, Your Majesty, and allow us to send our love to you on this, I am sure, one of your most sad of days. I am sure her Prince would join me in saying: God save our gracious Queen. Long live our noble Queen. God save our Queen. 

Later today, I will be attending with His Excellency the Governor-General to sign the official condolence book with Jenny. Tomorrow, I intend to attend St Andrews here in Sydney to give thanks and to pay our respects for the life of the Duke of Edinburgh. There will be announcements by the Anglican Church of Australia about other remembrance services that will be held and I will leave that to the Anglican Church of Australia to make those announcements. At Australians can right now go and register their official condolences. That can be done and they will all be passed on in the appropriate way to Her Majesty. In addition, hard copies, formal copies, we encourage members of Parliament and local governments across Australia to make those available for those who would prefer to do that in person. And I encourage you to make contact with your local member of Parliament and with your local government to arrange to be able to do that and I am sure they will be putting those arrangements in place. Of course, encouraging all federal members of Parliament to ensure that they are making that service available to their constituents, and I would say particularly their more elderly constituents, who I know will be feeling this particularly today. 

In addition to that, the Royal Family has requested that people from around the world, should they like to do more in paying their respects, to donate to one of the Prince's many, many charities and patron organisations. If you go to the website, you will find the link there to the Palace site and there you will see the list of the many different organisations that span a great life of service. Later today in Canberra there will be a 41 gun salute to mark the passing of His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh.

But for now, we send our love to you, our Queen. We join you in your mourning and your sadness and we join you in giving thanks and pray for your endurance and for your strength at this difficult time. Thank you.