Duke of Edinburgh: Pupils at his former school lay wreath at sea

Published
image copyrightJeff J Mitchell
image captionPupils and staff from Gordonstoun school cast a wreath into the Moray Firth from the Ocean Spirit in a tribute to former pupil Prince Phillip

Pupils at the Duke of Edinburgh's former school have paid tribute to him by laying a wreath at sea in his memory.

Gordonstoun school remembered Prince Philip during an event at Hopeman Harbour in Moray.

Pupils gathered on the school's yacht, Ocean Spirit, which was anchored off the Moray harbour.

A lone piper played Flowers of the Forest on the harbour wall as a wreath was laid in the water.

As a pupil at the exclusive boarding school in the 1930s, Prince Philip learned to sail in the sea in the Moray Firth.

Gordonstoun's principal Lisa Kerr said the school had spent the last week reflecting on "how proud we are in shaping what was important to the duke".

She added: "We can't have large-scale gatherings at the moment, but to be able to have a smaller tribute to him which is still an appropriate scale is great.

"For us to put together this tribute felt like the right thing to do in these circumstances - it represents his love of the Moray Firth, Hopeman Harbour and Gordonstoun."

image copyrightJeff J Mitchell
image captionThe Ocean Spirit was was anchored off Hopeman Harbour in Moray
image copyrightJeff J Mitchell
image captionThe floral tribute was left in the seas where Prince Philip learned to sail

Ms Kerr said the school had provided stability after the turbulent early years of the prince's life.

She said: "When he came to Gordonstoun in 1934 as the school's tenth pupil it was a place where he found security and stability and a place where he was able to discover his true self and become the very best version of himself.

"It was somewhere that he developed his love of the sea, his love of sport, his connection with the outdoors and particularly built his focus on service to others, which is such an important part of the Gordonstoun curriculum even today."

The school has released new pictures of the duke sailing a boat when he would have been about 15 years old.

image copyrightMajor B Varvill RAMC
image captionPrince Philip captured on camera in 1937 - when he would have been about 15 - at the helm of one of Gordonstoun's boats, a two-mast, 14-ton boat named Diligent

Ms Kerr said his connection to Gordonstoun was "lifelong", and he had written to the school in the final days of his life.

Three of Prince Philip's children and two grandchildren attended Gordonstoun.

'Mum and Dad'

Ms Kerr added: "When he came to Gordonstoun as a parent or grandparent, there was no pomp and ceremony.

"There's a lovely story of how he came to one of Prince Edward's drama performances and he sat in a seat with a handwritten sign that simply said 'mum and dad'."

image copyrightJeff J Mitchell
image captionPupils gathered at Gordonstoun to observe the minute's silence for Prince Philip