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Prince Philip: A Celebration display opens at the Palace of Holyroodhouse

Release date: Friday, 23 July 2021

From Friday, 23 July, a visit to Edinburgh’s royal palace includes 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. Examples of Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme badges, as presented by His Royal Highness, will be on display.

The display will 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. On display for the first time will be the silver-gilt casket presented to Prince Philip with the Freedom of the City of Edinburgh in 1949, as well as the casket presented with the Freedom of the City of Glasgow in 1955, made of oak from the roof of Glasgow Cathedral.

Prince Philip exhibition

Silver-gilt casket presented to Prince Philip with the Freedom of the City of Edinburgh in 1949. ©

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.

His Royal Highness was an enthusiastic collector of contemporary Scottish art and acquired a large number of works from the annual exhibitions of the Royal Scottish Academy. Paintings from this collection, including works by Robin Philipson, James Orr, Barbara Balmer and Victoria Crowe, will be on display at the Palace, with many reflecting His Royal Highness’s interests in Scottish landscapes and wildlife.

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.

The display is included in standard admission price to the Palace of Holyroodhouse

Related exhibition
Prince Philip: A Celebration

Commemorating the remarkable life and legacy of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh