THE Duke of Edinburgh helped “heal” the grieving cross-cultural “family” of Greenwich beneath the gleaming bronzed hull of the Cutty Sark last night.

In the wake of the Woolwich tragedy, the Baron of Greenwich visited around 300 united members of the borough’s diverse community – marking 60 years since he became patron of the iconic tea clipper.

Afternoon tea was served to groups including Greenwich Gurkhas, Riding for the Disabled, Greenwich Sikh Community, Royal British Legion, Scouts, and Blind Independence Greenwich who were invited to enjoy “their ship”.

News Shopper: Duke of Edinburgh greets Filipino Community, picture courtesy of National Maritime Museum

Chairman of Cutty Sark Trust Lord Sterling told the community: “As far as we are concerned this is your ship in your borough, on a world heritage site.

“I hope, remembering the cowardly actions of last week, all of us can blend and meld as one great community.”

Sea cadets greeted Prince Philip and a bugler heralded his arrival which comes on the 60th anniversary since he boarded the ship and co-founded the Cutty Sark Preservation Society in 1953.

Leader of Greenwich Council Councillor Chris Roberts said: “This is a cross-section of the community of Greenwich and it is particularly pleasing to see members of our armed forces, particularly those who have suffered an enormous loss in the past week.

“I think the chance to be able to heal our community in the week after that tragedy, Baron Greenwich to meet here is a tremendous opportunity for us today.

“The navy, and army of Woolwich form part of the DNA of this borough and therefore the loss of Drummer Rigby felt like a loss of a member of family.

“We want to grieve as a family and be left alone – it means a very great deal to his Highness to allow us to begin this process.”

The 91-year-old mingled and joked with the groups who enjoyed a spread of tea, cakes, macaroons and sandwiches under the 94-foot-long revamped ship.

News Shopper: Duke of Edinburgh's Cutty Sark visit enjoyed by Greenwich community groups

Young people from National Maritime Museum’s Youth Advisory Group, for 14 to 20-year-olds, said he shared a joke with them about the museum’s labels being printed too small and asked if they would fix them.

Tianna Oti told News Shopper: “He said the labels were too small to read and he asked us if we would help them improve.

“After what happened last week it [the event] was a really good up.”

Adrian Richards added: “He is a really sociable person and it was a great opportunity to meet him. “I really liked the speech. We are a really warm family and we all care about our borough.”

President of the Association of Old Worcesters Colin Steere was at the original event on May 28 1953 when the Duke of Edinburgh greeted cadets on board the vessel.

Mr Steere said: “I think it is a good thing she [Cutty Sark] is being saved. I much preferred her afloat but time marches on.”

Young cadets were present at yesterday's event, including Cadet Sergeant Major Luke Brodie-Brown, of Blackheath-based Army Cadet Force for 13 to 18-year-olds: “It’s been very good. It doesn’t happen every day.

"He asked who we brought along and whether it was our best cadets. I said it was our best. He asked if it was our cleanest.”

His Royal Highness was thanked for his continued support of the ship and borough and presented with an engraved glass tankard and a box of Meantime beer.