By Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin, MBE, JP, MP
It is with deep sorrow that we learned of the death this morning of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and husband of Her Majesty The Queen.
Both I and the Government of the Cayman Islands send our condolences to Her Majesty the Queen; Charles, Prince of Wales; Anne, Princess Royal; Prince Andrew, Duke of York; and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.
The Duke first visited the Cayman Islands in April, 1962, lodging at the then-new Government House on Seven Mile Beach, and attending a grand reception at the Galleon Beach Hotel. We had the distinct pleasure of welcoming him back to the Cayman Islands on two additional occasions, with Her Majesty The Queen, for the Royal Visits in 1983 and 1994.
Prince Philip was a patron, president or member of over 780 organisations, and served as chairman of The Duke of Edinburgh's Award, a self-improvement programme for young people throughout the Commonwealth. This award scheme, which he founded, has had a profound impact on young people in the Cayman Islands.
Since the inception of the programme in the Cayman Islands in 1970, thousands of young Caymanians have participated, with over 3,250 Silver and Bronze Awards presented, and 67 receiving the Gold Award.
He was the longest-serving consort of a reigning British monarch and the longest-lived male member of the British royal family.
Prince Philip retired from his royal duties on 2 August, 2017, aged 96, having completed 22,219 solo engagements since 1952. He was 99 when he passed from this earthly realm today.
I ask the people of the Cayman Islands to offer special prayers for his widow, our Sovereign- Her Majesty The Queen, The Royal Family and citizens and residents of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth realms.
As we enter this period of official mourning, we will be announcing the location of official books of condolences on all three Cayman Islands. Both the United Kingdom Standard and Cayman Islands flags have been lowered to half-mast on all Government buildings.
I invite flags flown at businesses and private residences and premises throughout the Cayman Islands, to also be lowered to half-mast throughout the period of mourning, in a display of our support for our Monarch and The Royal Family in their time of grief.
May God welcome and rest his soul and comfort his surviving family members and friends.