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New display celebrates the life of Prince Philip

This summer, a visit to Edinburgh’s royal palace of Holyroodhouse will include a special display commemorating the remarkable life and legacy of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Britain’s longest-serving consort.


Through more than 60 objects, Prince Philip: A Celebration charts significant events and achievements in The Duke of Edinburgh’s life, including his role as consort, his support for Her Majesty The Queen at home and abroad, and his wide-ranging patronages and associations. Many items have been chosen to highlight His Royal Highness’s close links with Scotland and Edinburgh.

Prince Philip’s association with Scotland began at the age of 13, when he became a pupil at Gordonstoun school. The school placed a strong emphasis on physical activity, supporting the local community and helping students to achieve their full potential, and it was the school’s headmaster, Kurt Hahn, who would later suggest that Prince Philip establish a programme for young people based on these principles. The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme is now the world’s leading youth achievement award and more than six million young people in the UK have participated since it was founded in 1956.

Gordonstoun.jpgPrince Philip at Gourdonstoun School c.1938 © Royal Collection Trust / All Rights Reserved

Upon leaving school Prince Philip entered the Royal Navy, and he saw action in the Mediterranean during the Second World War. In his Midshipman’s log book from 1940–1, he describes his role operating HMS Valiant’s searchlight during the Battle of Cape Matapan off the coast of Greece: “My orders were that if any ship illuminated a target I was to switch on and illuminate for the rest of the fleet”.

Coronation_Robe.jpgCoronation Robe and Coronet worn by Prince Philip © Royal Collection Trust / All Rights Reserved

The display will also bring together items from Prince Philip’s 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 royal couple were known as TRH The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh until The Queen’s accession in 1952.

Wedding_Invitation.jpgThe royal wedding invitation © Royal Archives / Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2021

As well as carrying out official engagements, Prince Philip spent time in Scotland relaxing with his family. The display will include a Highland ensemble worn regularly by His Royal Highness at Balmoral Castle, the Royal Family’s private residence in Aberdeenshire. Made in 1952, the kilt is of Balmoral tartan, which was designed by Prince Albert in the 19th century and inspired by the local Deeside granite. Prince Philip was a keen amateur artist, and his landscape of Loch Muick, which lies within the boundary of the Balmoral estate, will also be on display.

HMY_Britannia.jpgSilver model of HMY Britannia © Royal Collection Trust / Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2021

HMY Britannia, also known as The Royal Yacht Britannia, was built at Clydebank and launched by The Queen in 1953. The Duke of Edinburgh took an active role in designing both the technical aspects of Britannia, drawing on his own practical naval experience, and the interiors of the Royal Apartments. The display 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 (pictured) presented to The Queen and Prince Philip by Lloyd’s Register of Shipping in 1972.

His Royal Highness travelled on HMY Britannia to undertake his first solo overseas tour in 1956–7, opening the Olympic Games in Melbourne before visiting the Antarctic. Prince Philip’s copy of the programme from the Olympic Games will be on display, alongside two paintings by the artist Edward Seago, who accompanied The Prince on the tour and is believed to have been the first professional artist to paint views of the Antarctic.

Olympic_Games_Melbourne.jpgMelbourne Olympic Games 1956 Programme © Royal Collection Trust / All Rights Reserved

Gifts presented to Prince Philip during State Visits, overseas tours and official engagements demonstrate the extent of his travel in support of The Queen. Examples on display include a Moai sculpture presented on a visit to Easter Island in 1971 and a silver model of a windmill presented on the occasion of Prince Philip’s visit to Caledonian Flour Mills, Leith in 1955.

Janet Redler, Chief Executive of Janet Redler Travel & Tourism, said; “This fabulous display is well worth a visit on a trip to Edinburgh this summer. For fans of the British Royal Family in particular, this unique collection of treasures associated with the life of Prince Philip should not be missed, and is an eloquent tribute to Her Majesty The Queen’s much-loved consort.”

Prince Philip: A Celebration is part of a visit to the Palace of Holyroodhouse until 31 October 2021.

If you or your group would like to enjoy a tailor-made tour of Scotland, or indeed the rest of the United Kingdom, exploring the royal landmarks associated with Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, please do contact our friendly team today.

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