Tributes have been paid to His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, 1921-2021, who died on 9 April 2021.
The longest-serving consort of a reigning British monarch, the husband to Queen Elizabeth II was an Honorary Fellow of Trinity College and Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, 1976-2011. His final duty as Chancellor was the conferring of Honorary Degrees on eight distinguished individuals at a special Congregation in the Senate House on 22 June 2011.
Professor Stephen Toope, Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge and Honorary Fellow of Trinity, said:
It is a great sadness to hear of the death of His Royal Highness, the Duke of Edinburgh. Prince Philip’s strong and deep relationship with Cambridge went back many decades, and his enthusiastic support of the University’s work, both as its Chancellor for 35 years and at other times in a personal capacity, was deeply appreciated here. On behalf of the Duke’s many friends and well-wishers at the University, I extend my most sincere condolences to Her Majesty the Queen and the Royal Family.
He was born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark on the island of Corfu. His family was exiled from Greece when he was a child. After being educated in France, Germany, and the UK, he joined the British Royal Navy in 1939, aged 18. It was at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth that Prince Philip first met King George VI’s two daughters, Elizabeth and Margaret.
During the Second World War, he served with distinction in the Mediterranean and Pacific fleets. In summer 1946 he asked the King for Elizabeth’s hand in marriage and the engagement was announced in July 1947. By then Philip had abandoned his Greek and Danish royal titles, become a naturalised British subject and adopted his family name, Mountbatten.
On the eve of their wedding on 20 November 1947, King George appointed Philip to the Order of the Garter and he was created Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich.
Philip left active military service when Elizabeth became Queen in 1952, having reached the rank of Commander. He was made a British prince in 1957 and has received 17 appointments and decorations in the Commonwealth, and 48 from foreign states. Prince Philip attended an average of 350 official engagements a year.
Of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh’s four children, Prince Charles is an alumnus of Trinity College.
A keen sportsman, Prince Philip helped develop the equestrian event of carriage driving. He was a patron, president, or member of over 780 organisations. In 1956 founded the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme for young people, which has since expanded to 144 countries.
Prince Philip retired from his royal duties on 2 August 2017, having completed 22,219 solo engagements since 1952. Then Prime Minister, Theresa May, thanked him for ‘a remarkable lifetime of service’. On 20 November that year, Prince Philip celebrated his 70th wedding anniversary with the Queen, which made her the first British monarch to celebrate a platinum wedding anniversary.