At this time we remember Prince Philip and his life dedicated to the service of our Queen and country.

We have many memories of his visits to the Island.

One of his most recent was a private visit to his grandparents’ grave at Whippingham. His grandmother, Princess Victoria, was daughter of Princess Alice, the second daughter of Queen Victoria.

Princess Victoria married Prince Louis of Battenberg, a rising young officer in the Royal Navy. Their first daughter was named Alice, and it was she who married Prince Andrew of Greece. Alice’s son was Prince Philip.

Prince Louis became Admiral of the Fleet, but, although he had taken British nationality at the age of 14, there was so much anti German feeling in 1914 that he resigned his position.

The youngest son of Victoria and Louis was also called Louis, known to us now as Lord Louis Mountbatten of Burma. The Battenberg name was changed to Mountbatten in 1917. From 1914 the family lived in East Cowes at Kent House.

Prince Louis died in 1921 and his family erected an impressive gravestone and cross in St. Mildred’s churchyard. In 1950 his wife was laid to rest there.

Isle of Wight County Press: Prince Philip's ancestors' gravestone at Whippingham.Prince Philip's ancestors' gravestone at Whippingham.

Despite so many Royal connections and memorials, another grave Prince Philip asked to visit at Whippingham was that of his Solent sailing companion Uffa Fox.

Over lockdown it has been noticeable how many people enjoy walking in churchyards and cemeteries, peaceful places of reflection. Many churchyard maintenance teams have been continuing their most worthwhile exercise!

The art of the stonemason can be admired when examining the gravestones.

The oldest gravestones are generally to be found on the highest part of a churchyard, where the most burials have taken place.

The best time to read a difficult inscription is just before midday when the sun slants across the east face of the headstone.

This picks out the relief of incised lettering, or raised lead letters. Once churches are open again, most have registers of the inscriptions if you need clarification or are searching for a specific grave stone.

Many people have happy memories of Prince Philip’s visits to the Island. His interest in engineering was always keen, and in 1959 he took the new SRN1 hovercraft for a spin. He was impressed at achieving 35 knots in choppy seas off Osborne Bay, which slightly damaged the bow of the craft. This was never repaired, being known affectionately as “The Royal Dent”!

Long may we remember Prince Philip, and continue to care for the grave of his grandparents.