Prince Philip: Leeds Minster in solidarity with communities as city remembers Duke of Edinburgh with online service

it was a moment of quiet reflection as prayers were said to honour the Duke of Edinburgh’s life and his unflinching dedication to his Queen and country over the decades.

Saturday, 17th April 2021, 6:00 am
Rev Sam Corley, Rector of Leeds Minster watches The Lord Mayor of Leeds Eileen Taylor light a candle. Picture Tony Johnson

A special civil service of remembrance was recorded at Leeds Minster as the nation looks set to pause this for the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral this afternoon.

The service, which was led by the Rector of Leeds, the Reverend Canon Sam Corley, was broadcast on YouTube last night so that people across the city could reflect on the Duke’s life.

The Bishop of Leeds, The Right Reverend Nick Baines also read a sermon at the event which was also attended by the Lord-Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, Ed Anderson, the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Eileen Taylor and the Leader of Leeds City Council James Lewis.

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Rev Corley said what a “massive privilege” it was to lead Leeds’ remembrance service in honour of the Duke’s memory.

He said: "The people who were able to attend the service were there to represent each and every community and person in Leeds who couldn't be with us because of restrictions.

"It really is a massive privilege to have led the event and service, particularly when doing so on behalf of the whole city and district who are mourning in solidarity.

"I think the Duke of Edinburgh was perhaps one of those people who allowed the cracks to show, sometimes deliberately and sometimes not so deliberately, but he gave us a sense of 'actually, we're all people'.

"Some are born into great privilege and others quite the opposite, but like the Duke, we're all just trying to make the best of the opportunities before us.

"One of those, for me, is having the privilege of leading events such as these for Leeds, and it helps to remind us of how the Duke took advantage of privileges and opportunities before him to serve others - particularly through the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme."

Rev. Corley tells of the time he had the honour of meeting the Duke when he visited Saltaire with The Queen in 2012 as part of a series of events in Leeds and West Yorkshire.

He said: "I was asked to say Grace for the lunch we had and therefore was sat on the table with Prince Philip.

"It was remarkable that it was probably their third or fourth event of the day and yet they were still full of energy and interest.

"The Duke went round the four or five of us at the table, and we were only there for 90 minutes but he skilfully divided up his time between each of us.

"He was really interested, searching questions, and showing the real encouragement and humour for which he's become so well-known.

"He wasn't on the same table as The Queen but the communication between them through nods, winks and eyes was just so wonderful to watch.

"The Duke was telling us about when they would be leaving and what the signs were and like a well-oiled machine and a well-rehearsed script it was true to form.

"When he touched the handle of his coffee up, Her Majesty stood up and it was time to go - it was absolutely remarkable.

"There he was, staying true to his values and priorities, happy to walk two steps behind his wife.

"There's something deeply inspiring for us all to learn from that."