Justin Welby, who will lead the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral on 17 April, said that the Duke of Edinburgh had led a “great life” and had a “remarkable willingness to take the hand he was dealt”.
Addressing the socially-distanced congregation at Canterbury Cathedral as well as those listening to the online livestream, he called for prayers for the royal family and all those who are grieving for loved ones.
He said: “For the royal family, as for every other, no words can reach into the depth of sorrow that goes into bereavement.
“We all know that it is not simply a factor of age or familiarity. It is not obliterated by the reality of a very long life remarkably led, nor is the predictability of death’s arrival a softening of the blow. Loss is loss.
“Our lives are not completed before death, but their eternity is prepared. So we can indeed pray that the Duke of Edinburgh may rest in peace and rise in glory. We may pray for comfort. We may pray and offer love for all who find that a great life leaves a very great gap.
“For the royal family and the millions who have themselves suffered loss, we can know that the presence of Christ will bring peace, and the light of Christ will shine strongly, and it is in that light that we can strengthen one another with eternal hope.”
The archbishop also said of the duke: “There was a willingness, a remarkable willingness, to take the hand he was dealt in life, and straightforwardly to follow its call. To search its meaning, to go out and on as sent, to inquire and think, to trust and to pray.”
At Windsor, Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, and Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, attended the Sunday service at the Royal Chapel of All Saints.
The Duke of York later said the Queen had described Prince Philip’s death as “having left a huge void in her life” and added: “We the family are rallying round to make sure we’re there.”
Sophie, Countess of Wessex, said it had been “so lovely for so many people to learn about” Prince Philip’s achievements, describing him as “intrinsic to every element of society”.
The Earl of Wessex said his father is “well-remembered”, adding: “That outpouring from all over the world (is) very much appreciated, so thank you.” Prince Charles also paid tribute to his “dear papa” with a video message on Saturday evening.