It was their last act of duty after many years of dedicated service.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s three most loyal and long-standing assistants, who walked with the Royal Family behind his casket during his funeral procession, have been honored by the Queen with an exceptionally rare award.
Her Majesty on Thursday announced a special series of Demise Awards, awarded following the death of a member of the Royal Family, on what would have been Prince Philip’s 100th birthday.
To mark the occasion, the Queen acknowledged the service of those closest to her husband, including Brigadier Archie Miller-Bakewell, her longtime private secretary, who was appointed Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO ).
Brigadier Miller-Bakewell was also the Duke’s treasurer and had been his right-hand man for 11 years.
William Henderson, the Duke’s page, was made a lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order (LVO), while David Berwick, a valet who joined his team in 1975, became a member of the Royal Victorian Order (MVO ).
The last time the Queen bestowed the honors on Demise was in 2002, on a combined list following the deaths of her mother, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and her sister Princess Margaret. Those honored included private secretaries, ladies-in-waiting and the group of porters.
Others whose loyal service to the Duke has been recognized include the servicemen who took charge of the specially modified Land Rover that carried his body to his funeral.
Corporal Louis Murray, who was at the wheel, and Corporal Craig French, Land Rover Commander for the Royal Hearse, both 29, who serve in the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, were awarded the Royal Victorian Medal (silver).
Brigadier Major, Lt. Col. Guy Stone of the Welsh Guards, who was in charge of all military arrangements, was appointed LVO for his service.
Lt. Col. Stone, 48, from west London, was tasked with rewriting military ceremony plans to comply with Covid restrictions, including ensuring that participants were grouped into groups, socially distanced and tested daily for coronavirus.
He described the funeral as the monumental experience of his long career and said he was “overwhelmed” to be named LVO.
Twelve members of the Royal Marines and 12 Grenadier Guards who formed the two groups of casket bearers were also among those whose service was recognized.
Duke Lethbridge’s Correspondence Secretary, his Deputy Private Secretary Rachel Loryman, and Archivist and Librarian Alexandra McCreery have all been appointed LVOs.
The Duke was known to have a loyal team of staff, despite his legendary displays of temper. Many stayed with him for years, showing great devotion.
As the Queen privately marked what would have been her husband’s 100th birthday, several members of his family took the opportunity to pay him warm tributes.