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Prince Philip’s funeral will honour naval career and love of the sea

Prince Philip specifically requested various maritime-themed aspects of his funeral (Picture: Getty Images)

Prince Philip’s funeral will honour his love of the sea with maritime-themed hymns, Bible verses and prayers. 

The Duke of Edinburgh has long been open about how much the sea means to him. He was famously devastated about having to leave the Royal Navy earlier than he thought, in 1951, to support the Queen taking on more responsibilities. 

He had been given command of his own ship and many believed he was on course to become First Sea Lord, the professional head of the Royal Navy.

Along with Prince Philip’s requests, his funeral will pay homage to his passion for the ocean. 

One of the hymns played at tomorrow’s ceremony will be Eternal Father, Strong To Save. Written in 1860 by William Whiting, it was was inspired by the dangers of the sea described in Psalm 107.

One line goes: ‘Who walkedst on the foaming deep, And calm amid its rage didst sleep: O hear us when we cry to thee for those in peril on the sea’. 

Prince Philip’s beloved uncle Earl Mountbatten of Burma, who was murdered by the IRA in 1979, also had it played at his funeral. 

During the service, the Dean of Windsor will read The First Lesson (Ecclesiasticus 43. 11-26) which reads: ‘Those who sail the sea tell stories of its dangers, which astonish all who hear them; in it are strange and wonderful creatures, all kinds of living things and huge sea-monsters.’ 

Prince Philip’s naval career was cut short when he had to leave his job in 1951 to support the Queen taking on more responsibilities (Picture: Getty Images)
Several Bible verses and hymns that relate to the sea will be sung at the ceremony (Picture: Getty Images)
The Duke also asked for the ‘ancient promise’ of being with those who die at sea to be prayed over him (Picture: Getty Images)

The Duke also asked for the congregation to pray that God grants him the ‘ancient promise’ that God will be with those who ‘go down to the sea in ships and occupy their business in great waters’. 

The promise is mentioned in Psalm 107, which the Church of England recommends the Royal Navy prays after a storm. 

Philip also asked for Pslam 104 – ‘My soul give praise unto the Lord of heaven’ – – to be included in the ceremony.

It tells of ‘Lord of heaven, in majesty and honour clothed … seas he made to be its robe’ and waters rising above the highest mountain.

Another request of the duke’s is for the battle call of action stations to be sounded at the funeral. The call queues all hands to battle stations.

This wartime alert will be performed by buglars, who usually do this at naval funerals before the Last Post is played which marks that ‘a soldier has gone to rest’. 

Prince Philip served in the Navy with distinction during the Second World War and made two round-the-world voyages in the Royal Yacht Britannia. 

When he was just 21 years old, he was one of the youngest First Lieutenants and second-in-command of a ship, the destroyer escort HMS Wallace of the Rosyth Escort Force.

He has previously described the sea as ‘an extraordinary master or mistress’. 

He said: ‘It has such extraordinary moods that sometimes you feel this is the only sort of life and 10 minutes later you’re praying for death.’ 

The Duke of Edinburgh will be laid to rest at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle at 3pm tomorrow.

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