Queen honours Prince Philip’s aides

It was their final act of duty after many years of devoted service.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s three most loyal and long-serving aides, who walked with the Royal family behind his coffin during his funeral procession, have been honoured by the Queen with an exceptionally rare award.

Her Majesty on Thursday announced a special set of Demise awards, issued in the wake of a senior royal’s death, on what would have been Prince Philip’s 100th birthday.

To mark the occasion, the Queen recognised the service of those closest to her husband, including Brigadier Archie Miller-Bakewell, his long-serving private secretary, who was made a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO).

Brig Miller-Bakewell was also the Duke’s treasurer and had been his right-hand man for 11 years.

William Henderson, the Duke’s page, was made a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order (LVO), while David Berwick, a valet who joined his staff in 1975, became a Member of the Royal Victorian Order (MVO).

The last time the Queen awarded Demise honours was in 2002, in a combined list following the deaths of her mother, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and sister Princess Margaret. Those honoured included private secretaries, ladies in waiting and the bearer party.

Others whose loyal service to the Duke was recognised include the servicemen who took charge of the specially modified Land Rover that carried his body during his funeral.

Corporal Louis Murray, who was behind the wheel, and Corporal Craig French, Land Rover commander for the Royal hearse, both 29, who serve in the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, were awarded the Royal Victorian Medal (Silver).

Brigade Major Lieutenant Colonel Guy Stone of the Welsh Guards, who was in overall charge of the military arrangements, was made an LVO for his service.

Lt Col Stone, 48, from west London, was tasked with the challenge of rewriting the military ceremonial plans to comply with Covid restrictions, including making sure participants were bubbled in groups, socially distanced and tested every day for coronavirus.

He described the funeral as the monumental experience of his long career and said he was "overwhelmed" to be made an LVO.

Twelve members of the Royal Marines and 12 Grenadier Guards who formed the two bearer parties for the coffin were also among those whose service was recognised.

The Duke’s correspondence secretary Suzy Lethbridge, his assistant private secretary Rachel Loryman and his archivist and librarian Alexandra McCreery were all made LVOs.

The Duke was known for having a loyal team of staff, despite his legendary displays of temper. Many stayed with him for years, showing great devotion.

As the Queen marked what would have been her husband’s 100th birthday privately, several members of his family took the opportunity to pay warm tributes.

The Earl of Wessex, his youngest son, gave two television interviews, describing his father as "incredibly self-effacing", while saying he probably would not have wanted the hassle of celebrating turning 100. 

He said the Queen was doing "remarkably well" since losing her husband of 73 years in April. 

"I think that it was a fantastic partnership, but over the last couple of weeks, life has got considerably busier,” he told CNN.

"Things are beginning to open up more, there are more activities, so weirdly that sort of fills any particular void."

The Earl could not avoid the ongoing family drama surrounding the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s departure from royal life, admitting that it was "very sad", adding: "It’s difficult for everyone but that’s families for you."

Prince Edward, 57, said all members of the family had been forced to deal with "excessive intrusion" but had done so in different ways. 

Asked by the BBC about the Duke and Duchess’s decision to name their newborn daughter Lilibet, a "meaningful" choice that has sparked a legal row over claims the monarch was not asked permission, the Earl simply said: "Well, we just wish them all happiness."

The Princess Royal reminisced about her father’s life-long passion for engineering in an interview with ITV News and mentioned the special barbecue kit, transported in a Land Rover trailer, he had built for family holidays at Balmoral.

Credit: Geoff Pugh for The Telegraph

The Duchess of Cornwall, pictured above, marked the annual British Flowers Week festival with a tour of the Garden Museum on London’s South Bank and was presented with a bouquet which included rosemary, a symbol of remembrance.

She said she was "honoured” to be there, doing something she knew he would have appreciated.

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