Royals attend thanksgiving service for NCP founder Sir Donald Gosling

Senior royals have gathered to pay tribute to the National Car Parks (NCP) founder Sir Donald Gosling.

The Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke of Cambridge, along with the Earl and Countess of Wessex and Prince Michael of Kent, attended a service of thanksgiving in Westminster Abbey.

Sir Donald, who died in September at the age of 90, was a friend of the royal family through his association with the Royal Navy.

The Duke of Cambridge arriving for a service of thanksgiving (Jonathan Brady/PA)

He was made a Vice Admiral of the UK in 2012, and presented with a flag by the Queen during his installation ceremony in Windsor Castle.

Sir Donald and his business partner, Ronald Hobson, became two of Britain’s most successful entrepreneurs after setting up the company which became the NCP in 1948 with just £200 and a plan to turn a wartime bomb site in central London into a car park.

Fifty years later they collected £580 million from their share of the sale of the company to a US firm for £801 million.

Sir Donald Gosling and the Queen
The Queen, with the Duke of Edinburgh, presents Sir Donald Gosling with a flag during a ceremony at Windsor Castle to install him as Vice Admiral of the UK in 2012 (Ian Nicholson/PA)

Sir Donald was known for his love of the Navy and was devastated to be demobbed in 1949 after serving on HMS Leander.

Through his Gosling foundation, he gave £100 million to charity, most of it related to the Navy.

In 1994, he spearheaded an initiative to try to raise £60 million for a new royal yacht after the decommissioning of the Royal Yacht Britannia.

He loaned his own luxury yacht Leander – named after the wartime cruiser he served on – to the Queen for her Diamond Jubilee tour in 2012.

Entertainer Jimmy Tarbuck, singer Dame Shirley Bassey and Riverdance creator Michael Flatley were among the guests at the service.

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