Tributes to Prince Philip

Communal leaders expressed their condolences


EDINBURGH, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 04: Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh smiles during a visit to the headquarters of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force's (RAuxAF) 603 Squadron on July 4, 2015 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Danny Lawson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Communal leaders have praised Prince Philip’s commitment to public service and recalled his “affection for the Jewish community.”

The Duke of Edinburgh died on Friday morning at Windsor Castle aged 99, Buckingham Palace said in a statement.

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis paid tribute to the “selfless and loyal public figure”, who offered his “steadfast support to The Queen” and “exceptional service to our nation”.

Rabbi Mirvis said he had been "deeply moved" by Prince Philip's "extraordinary sense of duty" as displayed in past personal conversations with the royal.

The chief rabbi also noted Prince Philip's “interaction with, and affection for, the Jewish community in the UK and his connection with Israel, where his mother is buried and which he visited in 1994.”

Rabbi Mirvis said he had been “a remarkable Royal, working well into his 90s” and a role model “for staying active in one’s latter years.”

 “His Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme, founded in 1956, has transformed the lives of many thousands of young people,” he added. 

 Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl said his life had been one spent “in public service.”

 She praised “his active duty in the Navy during the Second World War” and the “tens of thousands of engagements which he carried out over six and a half decades of royal duties.”

 “Our thoughts are with the Royal Family today; it is our sincere hope that their memories of Prince Philip will be a comfort to them in the period ahead,” she said.

Jewish Leadership Council chair Jonathan Goldstein highlighted the Duke’s devotion to public service and noted “many happy memories of his engagements with the Jewish community.”

 The Holocaust Educational Trust said the Duke’s loss “will be felt by us all” and praised his “immeasurable contribution to the life of our country”.

United Synagogue president Michael Goldstein said the Duke had been " a constant for generations of United Synagogue members and their families, the wider Jewish community and the nation at large."
“His attendance with the Queen at an event to mark our 100th Anniversary in 1970 is remembered fondly as are his leadership on issues such as the welfare of young people, environment and wildlife, and sports.
“As Jews, we are commanded to leave the world a better place than how we found it. Prince Philip's record of championing good causes and supporting many charities means he has certainly done just that. He earned the affection of our community and the nation and will be sorely missed," he said.

Reform Judaism chair Robert Wiltshire noted Prince Philip's "unwavering dedication to the country" while senior S&P Sephardi rabbi Joseph Dweck hailed the royal as "an example to the entire nation of steadfast loyalty, advocacy, patriotism, and responsibility."

Shomrim's Stamford Hill branch spoke of “his years of dedicated service”, while the actress Tracy-Ann Oberman said his death signalled “the end of an era.”

The Duke was discharged from hospital last month after a four-week stay, having been treated for an infection and undergone a procedure for a pre-existing condition.

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