The Prince of Wales attended the state funeral of President George H.W. Bush on Wednesday at Washington D.C.’s Washington National Cathedral. He was not the only royal in attendance as King Abdullah II and Queen Rania of Jordan were also there.
The Prince of Wales, who represented Her Majesty The Queen at the funeral, was seated beside former UK Prime Minister John Major and flew to the United States after attending the Diplomatic Reception at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday evening.
The 41st President’s son, former President George W. Bush eulogised his father, remarking in part, “George Bush knew how to be a true and loyal friend. He nurtured and honoured his many friendships with a generous and giving soul. There exists thousands of handwritten notes encouraging or sympathising or thanking his friends and acquaintances.”
He continued, “He had an enormous capacity to give of himself. Many a person would tell you that Dad became a mentor and a father figure in their life. He listened, and he consoled. He was their friend. I think of Don Rhodes, Taylor Blanton, Jim Nantz, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and perhaps the unlikeliest of all, the man who defeated him, Bill Clinton. My siblings and I refer to the guys in this group as brothers from other mothers.”
The 43rd US President also told of his father’s final, loving words, “Last Friday when I was told he had minutes to live, I called him. The guy answered the phone, said ‘I think he can hear you, but he hasn’t said anything for most of the day.’ I said, ‘Dad, I love you, and you’ve been a wonderful father,’ and the last words he would ever say on Earth were, ‘I love you too.’ ”
Understandably emotional, President George W. Bush broke down at the end of his remarks saying:
“Well, Dad, we’re going to remember you for exactly that and much more, and we’re going to miss you. Your decency, sincerity, and kind soul will stay with us forever. So through our tears, let us know the blessings of knowing and loving you, a great and noble man. The best father a son or daughter could have. And in our grief, let us smile knowing that Dad is hugging Robin and holding Mom’s hand again.”
Last week, The Queen sent a message of condolence to the Bush family and the American people after the passing of the former President.
Her Majesty’s message read: “It was with sadness that I learned of the death of President George H W Bush last night. President Bush was a great friend and ally of the United Kingdom. He was also a patriot, serving his country with honour and distinction in Office and during the Second World War.
“Prince Philip and I remember our days in Texas in 1991 with great fondness. My thoughts and prayers are with President Bush’s family and the American people.”
The King and Queen of Jordan also expressed their sympathies and extended their condolences to the Bush family at Blair House. They also signed the condolence book.
Wednesday was a national day of mourning and flags flew at half mast in honour of the United States’ 41st President. US government officials, sports stars and dignitaries from around the world travelled to Washington to pay their respects to President Bush and the Bush family. All living former presidents and current US President Donald Trump also attended.
President George H.W. Bush died in Houston on Friday, 30 November. He was 94. His remains were flown to his hometown of Houston, Texas, after the Washington service where he will lie in repose at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church until 11:15 a.m. CST Thursday before being taken by train to his final resting spot.
President George H.W. Bush will be laid to rest beside his late wife, former First Lady Barbara Bush at the George Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University in College Station.