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By May 10, 2021 No Comments

Speaker, Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar and the People of Gibraltar were greatly saddened on the 9th of April to hear the news of the death of His Royal Highness the Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.

Prince Philip had always had an interest in Gibraltar.

He visited in November 1950 for the inauguration of our predecessor Chamber, the then Legislative Council and on several other occasions.

He was explicitly supportive then of the strengthening of the institutions of self-government in Gibraltar.

The development of our democracy and the emergency of this Parliament and his enhanced jurisdiction and powers are a demonstration that successive governments of Gibraltar and the People of Gibraltar have lived up to the challenge set by the Duke at the birth of Gibraltarian representative democracy.

He personally berthed the Royal Yacht Britannia alongside in the dockyard on the final stretch of his Arctic Adventure, and remained on the Rock for ten days. How fitting that the United Kingdom is now likely to commission a new Royal Yacht in his memory.

His Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme touched the lives of many young people in Gibraltar and around the world.  I know that many in Gibraltar are very grateful for establishment of that scheme and have benefitted greatly from it. The continued work by High Royal Highness the Count of Wessex will therefore be very welcome.

In 1991 he personally piloted the aircraft in which he flew into Gibraltar airport for a visit to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his award scheme. 

He was also Admiral of the Royal Gibraltar Yacht Club – something else which cemented our links with him.

And, of course, as Commandant General of the Royal Marines, a position he held for many decades,  he routinely wore the cap badge of that Corps that carries the word Gibraltar so prominently.

Every time I had the privilege of meeting him, here and in London, he recounted positive recollections of his many times on the Rock.

The last time I spoke to the Duke, he was keen to ask after the fortunes of our People and had fond words of recollection of the Convent, where he stayed on his visits to Gibraltar.

Mr Speaker, the condolences of all her loyal subjects in Gibraltar have been expressed in writing to Her Majesty The Queen.

I now propose that after any tributes, the successor in title to the Legislative Council he inaugurated 71 years ago, should hold a minute’s silence on his behalf.