Coldstream Parish Church’s congregation was joined by the Duke of Edinburgh for their Sunday morning worship at the weekend.
For most of them it was a complete surprise when the royal visitor, accompanied by members of the Douglas Home family from the Hirsel estate, came into the church.
“It was all very low key.” said one regular member of the congregation. “They arrived just before 11.15am and then we waited till they went out and the cars were waiting outside for them.”
Morning service was being taken by Rev John Shields, associate minister for the Coldstream charge, but Rev Shields refused to discuss the attendance of the Duke of Edinburgh at Coldstream Parish Church, saying it was a private visit.
Rev Shields is former minister of Channelkirk and Lauder and the Duke of Edinburgh is known to be a regular visitor to Thirlestane Castle near Lauder, which is said to be one of his favourite boltholes.
Some of the congregation suggested that Rev Shields is an old army colleague of the Duke of Edinburgh, but we have been unable to verify this as being the reason for the Duke of Edinburgh’s unexpected appearance at Coldstream Parish Church on Sunday morning.
On August 2, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen’s Consort, finally retired at the age of 96 after 64 years of public duty.