Life, Duty, Legacy. Remembering Our Founder – His Royal Highness, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh 1921 – 2021
It is no understatement to say that HRH Prince Philip led an extraordinary life of service in support of Her Majesty The Queen, the people of the United Kingdom and The Commonwealth and also – through the work of The Prince Philip Trust Fund – to the local residents of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.
Born in Corfu in 1921, Prince Philip of Greece was the youngest child – the only boy in a family of sisters – of Prince Andrew of Greece and Princess Alice of Battenberg. Following the family’s exile from Greece, he went on to be educated in France, England, Germany and Scotland, where he attended Gordonstoun School.
He subsequently graduated from the Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth where he first met Princess Elizabeth. After graduating top of his class in 1940 he served in the Royal Navy, with distinction, in World War II.
Prior to the announcement of his engagement to Princess Elizabeth, he renounced his Greek title, became a British citizen and took his mother’s anglicised name of Mountbatten. Philip Mountbatten and Princess Elizabeth were married in Westminster Abbey on 20 November 1947.
Prince Charles was born at Buckingham Palace in 1948, Princess Anne in 1950, Prince Andrew in 1960 and Prince Edward in 1964.
Prince Philip took leave from his stellar career in the Royal Navy in 1951 in order to support Princess Elizabeth as she took on more royal duties in support of her father King George VI as his health worsened. The King died the following year. Prince Philip never returned to the navy, instead supporting his wife, Queen Elizabeth as she ascended the throne.
Carving out a new role for himself, Prince Philip championed causes in which he was keenly interested, such as wildlife and the environment, industry, science and technology and supporting young people. Amongst a host of his charitable endeavours, he became the first President for the World Wildlife Fund for Nature and created the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, helping millions of young people over the years to challenge themselves and achieve in a range of different activities.
During his life, Prince Philip was an outstanding sportsman. He was a keen sailor, played cricket and polo and excelled at carriage driving. The sight of Prince Philip at the reins of a carriage was, over the years, a familiar sight to those local residents living and working near Windsor Castle and the Great Park.
During his lifetime, Prince Philip was associated with almost 1000 charities as either President, Patron or Honorary Member. However, only one such charity specifically bore his name.
The Prince Philip Trust Fund was created in 1977 in thanks for the Duke of Edinburgh’s support of The Queen during the first 25 years of her reign. During his tenure as Chairman from its inception and latterly as Patron, The Prince Philip Trust Fund has granted well over £2 million in funds to over 1600 deserving causes in support of the local community, benefitting thousands of local residents in the process.
Treasurer and Trustee Ross Wilson has been involved with The Prince Philip Trust Fund since the Charity was launched.
“Prince Philip was an incredible Chairman and Patron. He was hugely knowledgeable in a vast array of subjects and particularly around the local community which he cared for so much. He was always well-informed, ready to embrace change and took a great interest in the Trust.
“The Trustees met twice a year and after each meeting would have dinner together with Prince Philip, and that was my opportunity to see him in somewhat of a less formal environment where he was able to share with us some of his experiences and travels around the world. He was an incredible storyteller and possessed a wonderful sense of humour. He invariably had the Trustees in fits of laughter.
“I feel very honoured to have had the opportunity of gaining a little insight into the man himself over the many years that I’ve known him.”
“I am naturally delighted that The Prince Philip Trust is able to honour his legacy by continuing the work to help the local residents in a community in which he lived, worked and admirably supported over the years.”
“On behalf of all of the Trustees at the Prince Philip Trust Fund, his leadership, good humour and dedication to public service has been, and will continue to be, an inspiration to us all. He will be sorely missed.”
HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
10 June 1921 – 9 April 2021