East End pays tribute to Prince Philip

Prince Philip behind the Queen visiting Mayflower School in Poplar in 2017

Prince Philip behind the Queen visiting Mayflower School in Poplar in 2017, his last major public engagement, escorted by head-teacher Dee Bleach - Credit: Mike Brooke

The school headteacher who invited the Queen and Prince Philip to the East End four years ago has paid tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh, who has died at the age of 99.

The Royal visit in 2017 was to mark the centenary of the First World War bombing of the then-Upper North Street School in Poplar - now Mayflower School - where 18 children were killed, most of them infants. 

Prince Philip visiting Mayflower School in 2017 with The Queen stops to chat to the children as he arrived

Prince Philip visiting Mayflower School in 2017 with The Queen stops to chat to the children as he arrived - Credit: Mike Brooke

Prince Philip was visibly moved when he visited Upper North Street with the Queen to learn about the devastation in 1917 when infants aged five to seven were killed in a German air raid. 

The Royal couple were invited by headteacher Dee Bleach and the centenary event organiser, Stanley Kaye, who spent months tracing relatives and families of the children. 

They issued a joint statement to the East London Advertiser following the announcement from Buckingham Palace. 

Children greeting Prince Philip with the Queen when the arrived at Mayflower School in 2017 

Children greeting Prince Philip with the Queen when the arrived at Mayflower School in 2017 - Credit: Mike Brooke

“We were deeply saddened to learn of the death of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh,” it said. “He has been an ever-constant by the side of the Queen.   

“We were honoured that the Queen, together with Prince Philip, attended the 100th anniversary of the bombing of the Upper North Street School in June 2017, which was his last official engagement. He will be missed.” 

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Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs played host to the Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen for the visit. 

A statement from Buckingham Palace said: “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen has announced the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.”

Mayor who played host to Prince Philip and the Queen in Poplar in 2017... "His death is cause of sadness in east London"

Mayor who played host to Prince Philip and the Queen in Poplar in 2017... "His death is cause of sadness in east London" - Credit: Mike Brooke

The mayor told the Advertiser: “I met him when he came to Poplar four years ago. His death announced today is a cause of sadness in east London. He represented loyal opinion. His passing is an end of an era.  

"The duke represented our national identity. This is a time of reflection of our changing society. He was a symbol of our nation.” 

The Union Flag is flying at half-mast over Tower Hamlets Town Hall and a Book of Condolence is open online for the public.

Prince Philip was a patron of air ambulance charities in the UK. The helicopter service at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel said it was "deeply saddened by the death of His Royal Highness" who was a patron and a great supporter.

Prince Philip in the East End... visiting Bethnal Green's famous Repton Boxing Club in the early Millennium decade

Prince Philip in the East End... visiting Bethnal Green's famous Repton Boxing Club in the early Millennium decade - Credit: Archant

He was a familiar face in the East End over the years when he looked in on the Repton boxing club in Bethnal Green a decade ago. 'The Duke' also visited Wapping boys' club back in 1961 where he announced a network of youth clubs being set up across London helping to keep youngsters active and off the streets.  

Generations of youngsters in east London were among those across the nation who took part in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme, which has helped millions achieve their potential since it was introduced in 1956.

It aims to motivate young people between 14 and 25 in self-development activities to take them from adolescence to adulthood. Its flexibility adapts to different cultures and has spread worldwide to 130 countries.

How the people remember the Queen and Prince Philip in The Mall on 50th anniversary of her reign in 2002

How the people remember the Queen and Prince Philip in The Mall on 50th anniversary of her reign in 2002: Duke of Edinburgh, June 10, 1921 - April 9, 2021. - Credit: PA

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