James spoke about how West Norfolk was a special place for the Duke of Edinburgh and how people in the close knit communities feel they have lost one of their own.
Text of James speech in the debate that a Humble Address be presented to Her Majesty expressing the deepest sympathies of this House on the death of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh:
"Norfolk, and particularly Sandringham in my constituency, was a special place for the Duke of Edinburgh, and I pay tribute to his incredibly rich life and immense service to Her Majesty the Queen and to our country. The estate has long been held in strong affection by the royal family, with George V describing “dear old Sandringham, the place I love better than anywhere else in the world”.
The Duke of Edinburgh took on management of the estate at the start of Her Majesty’s reign and put conservation at the heart of his approach. It was at Sandringham, aged 50, that he decided to try carriage driving, saying, “well, we’ve got horses and carriages so why don’t I have a go?”
In his typically pioneering way, he established carriage driving as a sport and won team gold at the world championship.
When the Duke retired from public life in 2017, he chose Wood Farm at Sandringham as his home, enjoying its sanctuary to read, paint and entertain. In the historic villages around Sandringham, there are small, close-knit communities where there is great respect and admiration for him.
Villagers recall how approachable the Duke was, the keen interest he took in their lives and how he enjoyed chatting at the sawmill and other parts of the estate to find out the gossip and how things were going. Prince Philip, Her Majesty and the royal family are much-loved members of these communities.
On Christmas day, Prince Philip would lead the royal family to church, striding ahead and talking to the crowds. He opened village and school halls and unveiled the plaque at Snettisham in memory of those who lost their lives in the 1953 floods. He was generous in giving support and time to local groups away from the spotlight.
People in west Norfolk are rightly proud and protective of our royal links. That is why those communities feel that they have lost not only a remarkable national and international figure and their Queen’s husband but a much-loved one of their own.
On behalf of the people of North West Norfolk, I send the deepest condolences to Her Majesty and to the royal family."
To read more about Prince Philip's life visit here.