Britain’s Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh who died on Friday at the age of 99, "persuaded" Queen Elizabeth II, his wife, to talk more about her Christian faith ahead of her Christmas broadcast in 2000, a church leader close to the Duke revealed in a media interview.
“[Prince Philip] was the person really who encouraged the queen to talk about her own faith in her Christmas broadcasts,” the Rev. Prof. Ian Bradley, the author of God Save the Queen, told Premier Christian News.
He recalled that in the old days, “they really used to be more like travelogues, and they would just say where the royal family had been.”
The duke, the father of Prince Charles, died peacefully on Friday at Windsor Castle in England.
Bradley, who preached for the duke and the queen as a visiting preacher at the Parish of Braemar and Crathie, said that in her 2000 broadcast, the "queen spoke very movingly and powerfully about her own Christian faith and the impact it had on her."
"And there was a very positive response from viewers," he said. "And ... it was Philip who really persuaded the queen to make more of her own Christian faith. And he said, ‘You should be talking about this.’”
Bradley also shared that Prince Philip was interested in theology.
“He would note down all the details of the sermon. He was extremely interested … in theology. He had a wonderful knowledge of the Bible, and then he would sort of quiz you at lunchtime, ask you about your sermon and really put you on your mettle. And I was amazed at his biblical knowledge.”
In her 2016 book ahead of her 90th birthday, the queen reflected on Jesus’ central role in her life.
“I have been — and remain — very grateful to you for your prayers and to God for his steadfast love,” the British monarch wrote in the foreword to The Servant Queen and the King She Serves. “I have indeed seen His faithfulness.”
Mark Greene, the executive director of the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity who is the co-author of the book, said at the time that the queen has shown a "clear dependence on Christ."
“As I’ve been writing this book and talking about it to friends, to family who don’t know Jesus, to my Jewish barber, I’ve been struck how very interested they are to discover more about the Queen’s faith,” Greene stated.
“The Queen has served us all her adult life, with amazing consistency of character, concern for others and a clear dependence on Christ. The more I’ve read what she’s written and talked to people who know her, the clearer that is.”