Prince Philip is being remembered by a Christchurch teacher with a very personal link - he was her godfather.
Prince Philip, a field marshall of the NZ Army, marshall of the Royal NZ Air Force and admiral of the fleet for the Royal NZ Navy, was honoured today with a 41-gun salute across Wellington Harbour at midday today.
“He was well-respected and if there's one thing I can say is it's his leadership was exceptional,” Defence Minister Peeni Henare said.
It was Prince Philip's close ties through the Royal Navy that set the scene for a remarkable relationship between the Duke of Edinburgh and teacher Elizabeth Grubb.
“He became my godfather because my father and he were both in the navy,” Grubb explained.
It was a role Prince Philip took very seriously.
“Every Christmas, I used to get a Christmas card from him and from when I was about 10, I think, there would be five pounds in it,” she said.
Grubb also liked to keep in touch.
“I used to write to him for his birthday and very often, when I wrote and told him things, he'd write back to me.”
When Elizabeth visited her parents in the UK, the whole family was invited to Buckingham Palace.
“Prince Philip was just wonderful, he enjoyed talking to my father and he was lovely to me and very charming to my mother.”
Over the years, he sent special gifts, including a bracelet with Prince Philip’s monogram on it for her 21st birthday and a silver coffee pot bearing the royal crest for her wedding.
“I've got that and I treasure that,” she said.
Grubb was also invited to Windsor Castle to attend two very significant celebrations - the prince's 80th and 90th birthdays.
“You sort of go up and you go and think, how am I going to identify myself among all these people? And he remembered.”
She said she was “very privileged to have been his goddaughter”.
“He was probably the busiest man in the world and he had time for me.”