Prince Philip: Former Calderdale mayor's memorable day in Duke of Edinburgh's company
Hours spent with His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, accompanying The Queen on a Royal visit to Calderdale remain very special memories for a former Mayor.
In 2004, Geraldine Carter, as Mayor of Calderdale, was among the party meeting the Queen at Halifax Railway Station, and while the monarch undertook the first part of her royal visit to the town, Coun Carter returned with the Duke to the Mayoral parlour at Halifax Town Hall.
At the Town Hall he met local business people and a group of young people who were winners of the Duke of Edinburgh Award that year – he had founded the award in 1956.
“He was very good company.
“When we were going around the businesses in the Town Hall he was very, very interested in what they were doing,” said Coun Carter, who is stepping down in May’s local elections.
Having earned the award the Duke had set up, the young people were especially delighted to meet him and in turn he enjoyed asking them about the tasks they had undertaken to gain the award.
“They were absolutely thrilled,” said Coun Carter.
The Town Hall party then made their way to The Piece Hall to meet up with the Queen for the next part of the visit.
Coun Carter, supported by her husband Brian as consort during her Mayoral year, said the role of consort could not be underestimated.
The Duke supported the Queen at public engagements when all eyes were on her.
“I wanted it to be a good day, a special day for her, then Prince Philip comes along and lightens the mood – he was lightening the load for her,” said Coun Carter.
The Duke had previously said “hello” to Coun Carter at a Royal Garden Party the previous year, but the memories of meeting him in Halifax were one of the high points of her life.
“It was one of the special days in my life.
“It was a brilliant end to my Mayoral year.
“He made the visit very special for a lot of people.
“I’ll never forget it,” she said.
Coun Carter expressed her sadness at hearing of the Duke’s passing.
Today the current Mayor of Calderdale, Coun Dot Foster, has expressed condolences to the Queen and the Royal Family on behalf of the borough on hearing that the Duke of Edinburgh had died.
She said: “We are saddened by the news today of the death of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
“Prince Philip has played a significant role in the public life of the nation for over 70 years.
“We will remember him for his many years of public service, for the support he has given the Queen throughout her reign and for his extensive charitable work.
“Our thoughts today are with the Queen and the Royal Family.”
As a mark of respect, the council is flying the Union flag at half-mast at Halifax Town Hall from today until the day of the Duke’s funeral.