“It just felt the right thing to do” said the taxi driver behind the iconic black taxi convoy which marked the passing of HRS Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh on Friday.
Images and videos of rows of London black cabs lining up along The Mall to pay their respects to Prince Philip on Friday 9 April have gone viral around the world.
The London cabbie behind the idea, Stefano Marzocchi, has spoken about how the wonderful mark of respect from London’s finest took shape on Friday 9 April.
Stefano, a London cabbie for the last 23-years, said: “Not many people know that Prince Philip drove his own Taxi around London and I had a fleeting thought about what cabbies could do as a trade to show our respect when I heard the sad news about the Duke.
“I replied to a friend who had texted me about the breaking news saying that we should have a drive past the Palace in a convoy of honour. I soon got a reply from another taxi driver that he would be keen to join in, then another, and another so I put the idea on Twitter, and it gained momentum.
“I realised the idea was gaining traction so suggested mustering in Belgrave Square. I then put a message out to any interested cabbies to meet for a 1500 departure. Once at the square I spoke to a few drivers as to what we should do and together we agreed to drive into The Mall, turn the cabs so they faced the palace and get out for a minute's silence before departing. When we arrived at the Mall, parked up and got out the cabs I realised that the number attending far exceeded what I was expecting.
“The reaction has been amazing with news channels, MP’s, celebrities, and members of the public thanking us for our show of support. I may have been the first to put the idea into the public domain but I've no doubt if it hadn't been me it would have been another cabby. Someone asked me if this was a traditional thing to do and I simply replied, ‘I've no idea, it just felt the right thing to do’.”
Responding to the scenes from Friday, Dick Goodwin, Vice President for Taxi Charity for Military Veterans, said: “What an incredible sight last Friday to see so many London cabbies, including many of our volunteers, assemble on The Mall to show their respect to Prince Philip and their support for Her Majesty the Queen.”
Jim James Ellard MBE Royal Marines Asoc City of London Branch, said: “Can you pass to your colleagues that we Royal Marines admire the respect shown by the London Taxi Drivers by lining The Mall in respect for the Duke of Edinburgh and our Queen. Well Done London Cabbies.”