Buckingham MP Greg Smith writes exclusively to Bucks Free Press readers:

The sad passing of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, is a huge, irreplicable loss to our great country.

I never had the pleasure of meeting His Royal Highness. But I have a deep admiration for all that he achieved – and sacrificed – throughout his life. From his service in the armed forces, not least during the Second World War, to the patronage he gave to so many causes: his absolute commitment to public service, charity and family has always been a guiding light to the whole nation.

First and foremost, he will rightly be remembered for the incredible manner in which he has supported Her Majesty The Queen - as she commented in 1997, her “strength and stay”.

It is a matter of celebration that since 1952, the Duke completed 22,219 solo royal engagements.

It was wonderful to see the collection of images from the Duke's various visits to Buckinghamshire over the years, as published by the Bucks Free Press, including his visit in 1952 to the (former) Forest Products Research Laboratories in Princes Risborough.

Constituents have also been in touch with me with memories of His Royal Highness attending the opening of the Anthony de Rothschild Building at the University of Buckingham in 1996 and visit to Stowe in 2008.

Over his life, The Duke of Edinburgh was associated with some 992 charities and organisations. His active interest in so many areas are too many to mention here.

But I would like to highlight a couple of significant interest.

First and foremost, the sheer number of young people (many now adults) who benefitted from the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.

Secondly, with motorsport such important part of our local economy, for some 42 years His Royal Highness served as President in Chief of the British Racing Drivers Club.

To quote from the BRDC’s own tribute on their website: “He became one of the BRDC’s oldest Members, retaining a keen interest in the Club’s activities and in Silverstone. His support of the Club for this long period will be remembered with affection, gratitude and respect.”

Another passion for Prince Philip was his love of conservation. Between 1952 and his death the Duke oversaw the planting of 2 million trees, the creation of 45 new woodlands, the establishment of 160 hectares of wild bird cover; and the protection of 200 hectares of wild and uncultivated land.

Prince Philip was a remarkable man who dedicated his life to public service.

His passing is rightly mourned across the whole of our United Kingdom, overseas territories, the Commonwealth and worldwide.

May he rest in peace.