A minister has paid tribute to Prince Philip as he remembered the incredible time he spent a weekend with the Royal family at Balmoral Castle.
Rev Ian Miller described his experience meeting the Duke of Edinburgh an “honour” after he died at Windsor Castle on Friday.
The prince who had recently been treated for a pre-existing heart condition and an infection, passed away two months before his 100th birthday.
Ian, who is interim moderator at Lomond Parish Church, was invited to stay with Royals in August 2012 shortly after retiring as minister at Bonhill Parish Church after 38 years.
During his two-day stay as a VIP guest, he got a rare glimpse into the life of the Royals and spent time with them in the grounds of their Scottish home, including being invited to a family barbecue where the duke “took charge” and made a spaghetti bolognese.
He said: “I was very saddened to hear of Prince Philip’s death and I feel very sad for the Queen as he was her right hand man.
“He was a fascinating character who was full of vigour and he made me feel very at ease in his company.
“He was the sort of person you would enjoy to sit and have a pint with.
“I feel very honoured to have met him and had the experience I did. It was wonderful.
“I visited during the Olympics and there was a moment when the younger ones, like princesses Eugenie and Beatrice went through to watch it.
“He turned around said to me ‘do you just want to stay here and you and I can chat’?
“We had a long conversation and covered many subjects, particularly his interest in the planet. He was obviously very well read.
“I took on the advice given to me by John Cairns, who was the minister at Dumbarton Riverside Church and he was also appointed Chaplain to the Queen.
“He said ‘if you know what you’re talking about, debate the issue with him but if you don’t, keep your mouth shut’!”
Ian told of his shock at receiving the Royal invite, which saw him conduct a Sunday service at Crathie Kirk parish church, a regular place of worship for the Royal family when they are in residence at Balmoral.
He said: “In the summer they often spend some time at Balmoral and they often invite ministers to do the service at Crathie.
“I don’t know why I was asked to go but I received an official invitation from the palace.
“I was told the Queen loved to meet ordinary clergy and I said, well they don’t come more ordinary than me!
“The Co-op undertakers told me I couldn’t turn up to Balmoral Castle in my ramshackled car so they took me up there in a limousine.
“I must be the only minster to have arrived at the castle like that.
“I went up on the Saturday morning and came back on the Monday and it was wonderful.
“They were very much like a normal family. I stayed at Balmoral for the two days and joined them for breakfast, lunch and dinner.”
Also in attendance over the weekend were Prince Andrew, Prince Edward, Countess of Wessex Sophie Rhys-Jones and princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.
Ian was also invited to a family barbecue on Sunday after delivering the service, which he said was a barbecue like no other.
He went on: “It wasn’t the kind of barbecue with hamburgers. It was at this little cottage and everyone got together.
“Prince Philip made it clear that he was very much in charge of that and he was doing the cooking in the kitchen.
“He was making this venison spaghetti bolognese and I went up to him while he was making it.
“I must have hesitated a bit and he said ‘yes, don’t tell me the meat is an unusual colour. It’s that or nothing”!
“And then he smiled.
“It was just a really lovely experience and I really took to them.
“They were incredibly hospitable and they made me feel very much at home.”