A WELSHMAN will lead the Royal Navy contingent forming a guard of honour for the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral on Saturday.

33-year-old lieutenant commander Hywel Morgan has been selected as Captain of the Royal Navy Guard due to his ship’s unique association with Prince Philip.

Lieutenant Commander Morgan, from the Rhondda Valley, commands survey vessel HMS Magpie, named after the frigate which His Royal Highness commanded at the beginning of the 1950s.

Three of the ship’s company have been called up as part of the Royal Navy’s involvement in ceremonial duties surrounding the Duke’s passing and funeral this weekend, including providing the Guard in the Quadrangle of Windsor Castle.


The sailors have been honing their drill since Saturday morning under the direction of the Royal Navy’s State Ceremonial team, firstly at HMS Collingwood in Fareham, Hampshire, and now alongside their Army and Royal Air Force counterparts at Pirbright in Surrey.

“The State Ceremonial team have done their absolute best to help us get into shape,” Lieutenant Commander Morgan said.

“It’s been an intense period with people coming from all over the country to begin training on Saturday morning, getting to grips with rifle drills, working together, moving around the parade ground as one.

“The next stage is to join with the RAF and Army contingents and make sure we reach the highest standards expected of us.”

Sailors practise their drill at HMS Collingwood in Fareham. Picture: Royal Navy.

Sailors practise their drill at HMS Collingwood in Fareham. Picture: Royal Navy.

The father-of-two has served in the Royal Navy nearly 11 years, much of it spent with survey ships, especially HMS Enterprise, including last year when he helped survey the port in Beirut in the wake of the catastrophic harbour explosion.

He also commanded fast patrol boat HMS Express, the only Royal Navy warship based in Wales, which is used to give university students a taste of naval life as well as support general training and front-line operations when required.

He took charge of HMS Magpie just days before the Duke’s passing.

Prince Philip never had the opportunity to visit the new HMS Magpie, which entered service in the summer of 2018, but he did receive regular updates from the ship’s company on their work surveying harbours around the UK.

One of the duke’s final acts was to approve the ship’s motto earlier this year: lux in tenebris lucet – shine light into darkness.

“Our affiliation on HMS Magpie with the Duke of Edinburgh runs deep. It seems right and proper to be Captain of the Royal Navy’s Guard of Honour contingent as the nation bids him farewell,” Lieutenant Commander Morgan said.

“With the Duke’s links with the Navy through history, it’s an absolute privilege and honour to be taking part.”