Celebration of Philip’s life to go on show at Windsor and Holyroodhouse
By Laura Elston
The life and legacy of the Duke of Edinburgh will be celebrated at special displays at Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse this summer.
Philip – the nation’s longest serving consort who died aged 99 on April 9 – was set to have marked his 100th birthday this Thursday.
The two separate exhibitions will chart significant events and achievements in the duke’s life through a total of more than 150 objects, the Royal Collection Trust announced.
On show at Holyroodhouse will be touching wedding day mementoes from the day Philip married Princess Elizabeth in 1947, including the wedding invitation, order of service and wedding breakfast menu.
The menu included “Filet de Sole Mountbatten” – a tribute to the groom’s family name – and “Bombe Glacee Princesse Elizabeth” – a nod to the royal bride.
The Queen and the duke were together for 73 years, with the duke devoting himself to supporting the monarch in her duties as head of state at home and abroad.
Highlights of Prince Philip: A Celebration at Windsor will also include the Coronation Robe and Coronet worn by the duke during the Queen’s Coronation in 1953 and his Chair of Estate which is usually located in the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace.
Philip played a key role in the planning of the Coronation, and was instrumental in the decision to broadcast the service live on television.
Some of the gifts presented to the duke during state visits, overseas tours and official engagements will be on public view – including a First Nations feather headdress he was given in Canada in 1973 – embroidered with HRH.
There will also be a wine cooler in the shape of a giant grasshopper presented by President Pompidou of France in 1972.
Many of the objects in the Windsor display will focus on the duke’s close associations with the castle and the local community.
His mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, was born at Windsor in 1885, and visitors will be able to see the journal in which her great-grandmother Queen Victoria recorded the birth and described the newborn as “very pretty”.
The duke was chair of the Restoration Committee following the Windsor Castle fire of 1992.
George A Weymouth’s portrait of Philip standing in the shell of St George’s Hall in the aftermath of the blaze, holding a roll of floorplans, will be exhibited.
At Holyroodhouse, the display will include a section charting Philip’s early life and naval career including his Midshipman’s log book from 1940–1 in which he described his role operating the ship’s searchlight during the Battle of Cape Matapan while stationed on the HMS Valiant off the coast of Greece.
Philip was granted the royal dukedom of Edinburgh ahead of his wedding and the exhibition will explore his connections to Scotland and its capital city.
The duke took a keen interest in the design of the Royal Yacht Britannia, which was built in the Clydebank shipyard in Scotland and launched by the Queen in 1953.
On show will be two of the architect Sir Hugh Casson’s original design sketches for the yacht’s sun lounge and dining room.
The drawing of the spacious, light-filled sun lounge features a reclining green sun lounger and a table showing what appears to be a pair of white rimmed sunglasses and some binoculars.
Notes on the side describe the natural wood strip panelling, with the added suggestion that the furniture be “outdoor” type and upholstered in linen or canvas in “bright clear colours”.
The duke was also an avid 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 the collection, including pieces by Robin Philipson and James Orr, will be on display at the palace, with many reflecting Philip’s interests in Scottish landscapes and wildlife.
– Prince Philip: A Celebration is part of a visit to Windsor Castle from June 24 until September 20 2021, and part of a visit to the Palace of Holyroodhouse from July 23 until October 31 2021.
Tickets must be pre-booked via www.rct.uk or 0303 123 7300.