Archbishop pays tribute to HRH the Prince of Wales on his 70th birthday

On 14th November 2018 the House of Lords paid tribute to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales on the occasion of his 70th birthday. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rt Hon Justin Welby, spoke on behalf of the Bishops’ Benches:

The formal motions passed by the House were as follows:

The Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Evans of Bowes Park) to move that a Humble Address be presented to Her Majesty The Queen as follows:

“Most Gracious Sovereign,
We, Your Majesty’s most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, beg leave
To assure Your Majesty of the great pleasure felt by this House on the seventieth birthday of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales;
To convey to Your Majesty the admiration that is felt by this House for His Royal Highness; and
To express the hope that His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales may long continue to enjoy good health and happiness.”

The Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Evans of Bowes Park) to move that a Message be conveyed to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales as follows:

“Your Royal Highness,
We, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, warmly congratulate Your Royal Highness on Your Royal Highness’s seventieth birthday;
We express our gratitude for Your Royal Highness’s outstanding service to the nation, not only in supporting Her Majesty The Queen but also in making Your Royal Highness’s own deep contribution to national life, in particular in Your Royal Highness’s creation of The Prince’s Trust which has done so much to support disadvantaged young people and in your work with The Prince of Wales’s charities;
We wish Your Royal Highness many happy returns.”

The Archbishop said:

The Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, on behalf of these Benches, I express our warm congratulations to His Royal Highness on the occasion of his 70th birthday and associate myself with the sentiments already expressed by those on the other Benches, especially as regards His Royal Highness’s work in the Commonwealth.

In a speech that he gave some 40 years ago in this Chamber, His Royal Highness spoke of,

“the very real desire on the part of all sorts of people to give service to other human beings without thought of any remuneration or particular recognition for themselves”.—[Official Report, 25/6/1975; col. 1418.]

I am sure we can all agree that he has lived up to his own statement through his lifelong dedication to the service of our nation and his ongoing concern for our young people, especially through the Prince’s Trust, as was outlined by the noble Earl, Lord Howe, and the noble Lord, Lord Newby.

There has been talk of meddling. In the Church we politely say “being prophetic”. To some extent, His Royal Highness is a prophet. A prophet in the Old Testament is someone who sees slightly further into things than other people and, perhaps to some people’s discomfort at times, may bring them out and is then proved to be right. He has shown his prophetic instincts, not least in his welcome advocacy of the critical need to protect the environment and, as has already been said by the noble Baroness, Lady Smith, his instincts around plastics pollution. Those efforts have been well ahead of most of us in this Chamber.

His Royal Highness has been a leader also in speaking out on the plight of persecuted Christians around the world—something for which I am most grateful personally, including, as it does, benefit to the Christians of the Anglican Communion. His deep confidence in his own personal faith has been a basis for, as he has put it, “building bridges across chasms”. His own personal clear and orthodox Christianity is, like that of Her Majesty, combined with a proper, informed and profound hospitality to those of other faiths or no faith, and an equal concern for their flourishing.

When I have had the privilege of seeing His Royal Highness at work, I have been struck by his profound pastoral skills, which have been outlined this afternoon. I think particularly of an event at Liverpool Cathedral for the bereaved relatives of police who had died in the line of duty. The impact he had on some of those who had been very recently bereaved was noticeable. His focused attention on the person he is meeting is always evident, as well as his striking sense of humour, as has already been said. His love for his family has been spoken of. As the whole nation has seen, it is matched by his clear love for and dutiful service to his country. We have united this year to celebrate his family’s joys and I am delighted to express the same joy on this occasion.

In this Chamber, before business every day we pray for our Royal Family*. I am sure that we join, in one way or another, with the good wishes or prayers that His Royal Highness may be endued, as the Prayer goes, “with thy Holy Spirit”; enriched “with Heavenly Grace”; prospered “with all happiness”; and brought “to thine everlasting kingdom”.



*The Parliamentary prayer contains the following:

“Almighty God, the Fountain of all Goodness, We humbly beseech thee to bless Philip Duke of Edinburgh, Charles Prince of Wales and all the Royal Family: Endue them with thy Holy Spirit; enrich them with thy Heavenly Grace; prosper them with all happiness; and bring them to thine everlasting kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

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