Displays Will Commemorate The Life and Work of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Special displays at Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse this summer will commemorate the remarkable life and legacy of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Britain’s longest-serving consort.
Opening at Windsor Castle on 24 June and at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh on 23 July, the two separate but closely linked displays will chart significant events and achievements in The Duke of Edinburgh’s life through a total of more than 150 objects.
Themes explored in Prince Philip: A Celebration will include The Prince’s early life and naval career, his role as consort and his support for the sovereign at home and abroad. The displays will also focus on His Royal Highness’s wide-ranging patronages and associations, including sport, science and industry, conservation and the environment, art and collecting, and encouraging younger generations.
A highlight of the display at Windsor Castle will be a section devoted to Prince Philip’s role in The Queen’s Coronation of 1953. His Royal Highness chaired the Coronation Committee, one of two committees convened to plan the event, and played a key role in the decision to broadcast parts of the service live on television. The Coronation Robe and Coronet worn by Prince Philip during the service will be on display, alongside his Chair of Estate which is usually located in the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace.
Many of the objects in the Windsor display have been selected to highlight Prince Philip’s close associations with the Castle and the local community. His Royal Highness’s mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, was born at Windsor Castle in 1885, and the Journal in which her great-grandmother Queen Victoria recorded the birth and described the new-born as ‘very pretty’ will be on display. Prince Philip’s roles as Ranger of Windsor Great Park, Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter and Chair of the Restoration Committee following the Windsor Castle fire of 1992 will also be explored. Items on display will include George A Weymouth’s portrait of The Prince standing in the shell of St George’s Hall after the fire, holding a roll of floorplans.
Gifts presented to Prince Philip during State Visits, overseas tours and official engagements at home and abroad will form part of the displays at both Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Examples at Windsor Castle will include a First Nations feather headdress presented to The Prince during a Commonwealth visit to Canada in 1973 and a wine cooler in the shape of a giant grasshopper presented by President Pompidou of France in 1972.
The Duke of Edinburgh was installed as a Knight of the Garter in St George’s Chapel in 1948 and marked many public and private occasions there. His funeral took place in St George’s Chapel on 17 April 2021. A display of archival material and historic photographs in the Chapel’s south quireaisle will celebrate his faith and service to society, his support of the Chapel and his role in the foundation and development of St George’s House consultation centre.
Exploring similar themes to the Windsor display, the display at the Palace of Holyroodhouse will include a section charting Prince Philip’s early life and naval career. In The Prince’s Midshipman’s log book from 1940–1, he describes his role operating the ship’s searchlight during the Battle of Cape Matapan while stationed on the HMS Valiant off the coast of Greece. Another section will bring together items from his wedding to HRH The Princess Elizabeth in 1947, including the wedding invitation, order of service and wedding breakfast menu. On the occasion of their wedding, Prince Philip was granted the royal dukedom of Edinburgh and the display will look particularly at his connections to Scotland and its capital city.
HMY Britannia, also known as the Royal Yacht Britannia, was built in the Clydebank shipyard in Scotland and launched by The Queen in 1953. The Duke of Edinburgh took a keen interest and active role in both the technical aspects of Britannia, drawing on his own practical naval experience, and the interior design of the Royal Apartments. The display in Edinburgh will include two of the architect Sir Hugh Casson’s original design sketches for the yacht’s sun lounge and dining room, as well as a silver model of Britannia presented to The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh by Lloyd’s Register of Shipping in 1972.
Prince Philip was a keen collector of contemporary Scottish art, and between 1958 and 1996 he acquired a large number of works from the annual exhibitions of the Royal Scottish Academy. Paintings from this collection, including works by Robin Philipson and James Orr, will be on display at the Palace, with many reflecting His Royal Highness’s interests in Scottish landscapes and wildlife.
BOOK TICKETS – Prince Philip: A Celebration is part of a visit to Windsor Castle from 24 June until 20 September 2021, and part of a visit to the Palace of Holyroodhouse from 23 July until 31 October 2021.