His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh

April 9, 2021

We have been deeply saddened to hear of the passing of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh. All of us here at the V&A extend our heartfelt condolences to Her Majesty The Queen and the Royal Family.

After more than seven decades of public service, The Duke of Edinburgh leaves behind a remarkable legacy. In his resolute support for Her Majesty the Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh became the longest-serving Royal consort in British history. But far more than that, as a committed philanthropist, he became the dedicated patron and supporter to an incredible number of charitable organisations: he was Patron, President or a member of over 750. What is more, his inspirational Duke of Edinburgh Awards have become a developmental cornerstone for young people all across the globe, with over 130 countries and territories now offering programmes. In 2019/20, record-breaking numbers of young people achieved their Award.

As patron and collector, as well as designer and artist, The Duke of Edinburgh held a deep personal interest in British design, architecture and engineering, championing creativity and industry throughout his lifetime. The Prince Philip Designers Prize, created in 1959 as a response to post-war austerity, is just one example of his great personal engagement. The Prize celebrated the interwoven relationship between innovative design and daily life, rewarding outstanding examples of design. Some of the recipients’ works now reside in the V&A’s collection – from the ‘Apollo Ware’ bone china, designed by Neal French and David White, and made by Copeland & Co., about 1960, to a lapis lazuli, turquoise and diamond gold brooch by Andrew Grima made in 1967 – 8.

Royal Portrait of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh by Cecil Beaton on the Coronation day of Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace in 1953. © Cecil Beaton / Victoria and Albert Museum, London

From its foundation by Prince Albert and Queen Victoria, the V&A has enjoyed a proud history of Royal support. We have been privileged to receive the ongoing support of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh in our own era. Accompanying The Queen Mother and Princess Margaret, Prince Philip’s first visit to the V&A came as early as 1948 – some four years before The Queen’s Coronation. This Royal visit marked the Anglo Danish Society Reception, coinciding with the museum’s Anglo Danish exhibition. The V&A has been honoured by his Royal visits ever since – from the opening of the Sovereign exhibition in 1992; Genius of Wedgwood in 1995; to A Grand Design in 1999. The V&A is also privileged to house an incredible 104 objects graciously lent by the Royal Collection.  

It is with our deepest gratitude that we honour the Duke of Edinburgh’s dutiful and long-standing contribution to national life.


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