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Crathie Kirk minister to take part in Duke of Edinburgh memorial service

Rev Ken Mackenzie outside Crathie Kirk near Balmoral.
Rev Ken Mackenzie outside Crathie Kirk near Balmoral.

The minister of the church used by the royal family when staying at Balmoral Castle will be among the most prominent guests at a memorial service to the Duke of Edinburgh.

Reverend Kenneth MacKenzie, minister of the Parish of Braemar and Crathie, will join the rector of Sandringham and the chaplain to the Royal Chapel of All Saints, Windsor Great Park at the Westminster Abbey service on Tuesday.

All three were requested by Philip to play a part in his funeral following his death at the age of 99 in April last year.

However, due to coronavirus restrictions at the time, the duke’s farewell was limited to just 30 people and many of his wishes could not be fulfilled.

Missing gestures from Philip’s pre-pandemic arrangements will see young Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award holders and members of the youth UK Cadet Force associations line the steps of Westminster Abbey as guests arrive.

The duke’s express wish for the congregation to join and sing the rousing hymn Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer will also be granted.

Prayers will be said for the duke’s “gifts of character; for his humour and resilience; his fortitude and devotion to duty” by the Chapels Royal’s Sub-Dean, while “his energy and spirit of adventure” and “strength and constancy” will be heralded by royal estates’ clergy – known as the Queen’s domestic chaplains.

Queen hoping to attend

The royal family including the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Cambridges will gather as part of a 1,800-strong congregation.

The Queen is still hoping to lead her family at the high profile and personally significant occasion for her beloved late husband.

Although the monarch, who has faced mobility issues, is mentioned in the Order of Service, Buckingham Palace is expected to confirm on Tuesday morning whether or not she will be able attend.

The 95-year-old head of state pulled out of the Commonwealth Day service earlier this month due to comfort issues and has spoken about not being able to move.

She recently recovered from Covid-19 and appeared on good form at Windsor last week.

The Palace said the Queen has been actively involved in the plans for the service, with many elements reflecting her wishes.

Distinguished guest list

Around 30 foreign royals will attend, including Prince Albert of Monaco, Denmark’s Queen Margrethe, King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway, and Spain’s King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia, who would have originally been on the pre-pandemic guest list.

The duke’s wider family and friends will also be there, along with 500 representatives from his patronages and charities.

Also invited are Sir David Attenborough, Dame Floella Benjamin, Baroness Grey-Thompson and members of the military who were involved in the funeral, including Pipe Major Colour Sergeant Peter Grant and the Grenadier Guards Bearer Party.

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