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Prince Philip: Gordonstoun hold special tribute to mark Duke of Edinburgh’s love of sea and north-east on day of funeral

Prince Philip’s former school Gordonstoun has held a special tribute to mark his love of the sea and the north-east on the day of his funeral.

Students and staff gathered at Hopeman Harbour for a ceremony at the port that nurtured his lifelong passion for life on the waves.

Prince Philip learned to sail on the Moray coast, planting the seed for what would become his distinguished Navy career, while a pupil at the boarding school near Elgin.

And his experiences learning education could be about more than academic success also led to the creation of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards.

Prince Philip learning to sail while a Gordonstoun pupil.

Gordonstoun tribute celebrated Prince Philip’s happiest times

Today a wreath was laid in his honour at sea while a piper played on the quayside.

Meanwhile, pupils and staff at Gordonstoun gathered to join the national silence ahead of the funeral of Prince Philip outside the school.

Hopeman Harbour was home to some of his happiest times while growing up at Gordonstoun after a turbulent childhood.

Today fresh images showing his growing confidence at the helm of a vessel have emerged, while also revealing his expertise at washing dishes on board.

Gordonstoun pupil John Prendergast piped the funeral march Flowers of the Forest from the quayside.

The Elgin teenager’s instrument was draped with the crest of the Duke of Edinburgh after being tied on by the Queen at the Braemar Gathering in 2019 after the school’s success in the pipe band contest.

Moray Lord Lieutenant Major General Seymour Monro, who saluted during the music, met Prince Philip several times during his career as an Army commander, including presenting him to a raucous tent of soldiers in Germany following the Gulf War.

He said: “My heart was slightly in my boots wondering what we were going to discover.

Prince Philip: School life in north-east at Gordonstoun laid foundations of Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme

“In we went, and he had a great broad grin on his face. We went past every table and had lots of banter, it was a tremendous half an hour.

“He was just so good with people of all ranks and backgrounds, just so straightforward and a wonderful man. It was a privilege to have known him.

“He had a great connection in Moray with Gordonstoun but he was very fond of being Honorary Air Commodore of RAF Kinloss and very upset when it was closed.

“I well remember the last parade that he took and he was not a happy chap at all, and I think the Chief of the Air Staff realised that by the end of the day too.”

Prince Philip during the disbandment parade at RAF Kinloss in 2011.

Prince Philip inspiration to Gordonstoun students

Gordonstoun pupils following in the footsteps of Prince Philip also shared the inspiration he provides on the day of his funeral.

The 99-year-old, who was head boy during his time at the school, was the oldest surviving student when he died.

And his legacy at the school continues with a foundation to increase access to the boarding school to underprivileged families carrying his name.

Prince Philip washing dishes while at sea on the Gordonstoun yacht Diligent.

Principal Lisa Kerr said: “He had an immensely strong character, combined with a unique sense of fun, infectious optimism and strong sense of duty.

“More than anything, he understood and was hugely supportive of Gordonstoun’s educational ethos, of not only fulfilling academic potential but also of developing life skills through experiences outside the classroom, including sailing and community service.

“We are immensely grateful for his support over the years and his presence and support in the school’s life will be sorely missed.”

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