by Colin Campbell
TRIBUTES were paid and flags on government buildings across the Highlands were lowered to half mast yesterday following the death of Prince Philip.
The response was respectful but restrained. The Duke of Edinburgh, unlike some of the other leading royals, in particular the Queen, Prince Charles, and Princess Anne, has been an infrequent visitor to the Highlands over the decades.
However the impact of his death on many people, and in particular older people, would have made yesterday a sombre one for them.
News broadcasts cutting into normal coverage across all channels almost immediately began describing the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, who was a year short of his 100th birthday, as “the end of an era”.
That is partly true. But as long as the Queen remains as the beloved – by many – guiding spirit of the nation, the era has not ended yet.
But she is 95 years old. The effect on her of the death of her husband and soulmate of nearly 70 years can only be imagined.
And amid the genuine sadness over the death of Prince Philip there will be widespread sympathy and concern, particularly among older people, many of who will themselves have suffered such bereavement, for the Queen.
Highland Council convener Bill Lobban expressed his deepest sympathies to The Queen and the Royal Family.
He said: “On behalf of Highland Council and the people of the Highlands we join the nation in mourning for His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh.
“We extend our heartfelt sympathies to all members of the Royal Family and honour his long service and duty to our country and Queen.”
At Highland Council buildings where flags are flown, all flags were lowered to half-mast until 6pm on the day of the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh.
Councillor Lobban has written to the Queen to offer sincere condolences.
An e-book of condolence will be available on The Royal website and Highland Council will also be making available an e-book of condolence on the council’s website.
A council spokesperson said more details will follow on how people can leave their own tributes.
Inverness Provost Helen Carmichael on her Facebook page displayed photographs and news stories of the Prince’s death.
Council Conservative group leader Andrew Jarvie displayed photographs of the Queen and Prince Philip and the words: “A remarkable partnership. A remarkable man. A remarkable life. Prince Philip rest in peace.”
On the Inverness Courier Facebook page, where there was a significant amount of grumbling from SNP supporters over the interruption to election campaigning, contributor Matt Davies said: “The Duke of Edinburgh was a man who dedicated his life to public service, a war hero and a conservationist, before it was fashionable, who did more to save the planet than any of us. Like all of us he had his flaws. But forget all that for a moment. He was a husband, father, grandfather & great grandfather.”