Philip leads royal tribute to an old friend
11 May, 2017 — By John Gulliver
Prince Philip (Photo: Northern Ireland Office) and Dame Anne Griffiths
PRINCE Philip remembered an old friend when he attended a thanksgiving service at St Mark’s Church last week for his old archivist, Dame Anne Griffiths.
What would have been a dignified and well-attended service in honour of an outstanding woman with an extraordinary work ethic turned into a royal occasion when Prince Philip arrived, accompanied by more than 100 members of the Royal Household including the Lord Chamberlain, the Earl Peel, at the church in Primrose Hill.
The service was conducted by the vicar, the Revd Canon William Gulliford, with the blessing given by the former Bishop of Edmonton, the Rt Revd Peter Wheatley.
Anne Griffiths started her first job at 19 at the Palace in 1952 after leaving a secretarial college and became Prince Philip’s PA until her official retirement in 1984. Then she returned as an archivist, working three days a week, until the last few weeks of her life. She died recently at the age of 84.
A friendly, gentle woman, Anne Griffiths, who lived in Regent’s Park, was appointed Dame Commander of the Royal Victorian Order. She served as a church warden for many years at St Marks and later helped to build their archives. After the service, Prince Philip and members of the Royal Household who included the Queen’s Ladies in Waiting had tea with Dame Griffiths’ family and parishioners in the church gardens.
“It was a wonderful occasion for a remarkable woman who was a one-off,” the Revd Gulliford told me.