Lord Sheikh’s House of Lords speech paying tribute to His Royal Highness, The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh delivered on 12 April 2021.
My Lords, I apologise for missing my slot earlier. I would like to pay tribute to His Royal Highness, The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and his strength, drive and tireless commitment to making the world a better place.
As someone who was born and brought up in a colony and who has a connection with a number of Commonwealth countries, I have witnessed the progress in democracy and prosperity that has been made, driven in part by His Royal Highness’s unfailing commitment to co-operation and peace. His continuous devotion to that duty can be seen by the fact that so many leaders and communities across the world have expressed their condolences.
As well as improving the lives of those in the Commonwealth and other countries, His Royal Highness also worked to transform the lives of many young people through the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. These awards have affected millions around the world, supporting young people on their path to adulthood and teaching them about service to community. His Royal Highness was associated with 992 charities during his life, which is indeed an admirable achievement, and I am sure his legacy will long continue.
I have previously said in your Lordships’ House that I am a great supporter of the Commonwealth, which encompasses 54 countries and a third of the world’s population. The Commonwealth is very diverse, yet it is a global family that includes many communities and religions that share our values of democracy and the rule of law. It is an enduring symbol of unity that His Royal Highness worked tirelessly to support and grow.
Over the past year in particular we have all felt the importance of working together to tackle the pandemic collectively. His Royal Highness has helped promote understanding and connection between the world’s different communities, to bring us closer together despite our physical distance.
The impact of his efforts can be seen by the countless honours and decorations His Royal Highness was awarded for his work across the world, including numerous awards in the Commonwealth realms and from a number of Islamic countries, which were Member First Class of the Order of the Supreme Sun from Afghanistan, Member Special Class of the Order of Muhammad from Morocco, the Order of King Abdulaziz from Saudi Arabia, and the commemorative medal of the anniversary of the founding of the Persian Empire, to name a few.
The Duke of Edinburgh was an advocate for interfaith dialogue. He organised many summits to bring religious leaders together to promote world peace and the protection of the environment. For instance, he founded the Alliance of Religions and Conservation in 1995 and later supported FaithInvest, which helps religious groups to invest in line with their values. .
On behalf of the trustees of the National Muslim War Memorial Trust, I would like to offer our sincere condolences to Her Majesty the Queen on the passing of her husband.
His Royal Highness served with distinction alongside Muslim servicemen in the eastern and Pacific fleets in 1940 as a midshipman on HMS “Ramillies” and in 1944 as second in command of HMS “Whelp”. His dedication to service, leadership and courage was an inspiration to all servicemen.
He will be deeply missed by veterans around the world.