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House of Windsor

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (1921-2021)

Prince Philip was born in Corfu, the son of Prince Andrew of Greece and Princess Alice of Battenberg, and a great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. After school in France, Germany and the United Kingdom, he entered the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth. During the Second World War, he served in the Royal Navy, rising to the rank of Commander; his active naval career ended on the accession of his wife as Queen Elizabeth II in 1952. He was created Duke of Edinburgh in 1947, shortly before his marriage to Princess Elizabeth, later Queen Elizabeth II. 

Prince Philip formed an important collection of contemporary art, notably by British and Commonwealth artists. With his wife, he purchased a notable selection of works by contemporary artists in 1960, to decorate a private guest suite at Windsor Castle. Barbara Hepworth, Mary Fedden, Sidney Nolan and Ivon Hitchens are among those represented in this collection, along with ceramics by the Austrian-born Lucie Rie (RCIN 35060).

Many works of art from around the world were presented to Prince Philip during official tours and visits, including alongside Queen Elizabeth II, other Members of the Royal Family, and solo tours, during which the exchange of diplomatic gifts have meant that examples of art and crafts have entered the Royal Collection (e.g. RCIN 93422). A keen amateur artist himself, Prince Philip recorded landscapes seen on his worldwide travels, and was inspired by the topography of the royal estates in Scotland, Norfolk and Windsor. He was also an interested photographer, publishing a small collection of ornithological photographs taken from HMY Britannia in the early 1960s, and was presented with an album of natural history photography during a tour of Australia in 1970. His interest in the natural world formed the topic of some of his fourteen published books including the publication of his 1989 Dimbleby Lecture Living Off The Land, while others related to his interest in carriage driving.

In addition to his patronage of British artists, Prince Philip took an active interest in the conservation and display of the Royal Collection. He was the initiator of the original Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace, opened in 1962, and was consulted on the design of the current Queen’s Gallery, opened 2002. He chaired the Restoration Committee following the 1992 fire at Windsor Castle.

Consort of Queen Elizabeth II


The income from your ticket contributes directly to The Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity. The aims of The Royal Collection Trust are the care and conservation of the Royal Collection, and the promotion of access and enjoyment through exhibitions, publications, loans and educational activities.