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Celebration of Philip’s life now available to visit at Windsor Castle

·3-min read

An exhibition celebrating the life of the Duke of Edinburgh has officially opened.

Prince Philip: A Celebration is now on display as part of visits to Windsor Castle until September.

The display has been curated by the Royal Collection Trust and features a series of timeless pieces marking key moments within his official duties and his work in support of the Queen.

Some highlights include the Coronation Robe and Coronet worn by the duke during the Queen’s Coronation in 1953, his Chair of Estate, which is usually located in the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace, and his personal desk, which was presented to him as a wedding gift by the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1947 and is made from Canadian maple wood.

Another includes a painting by the British-Australian artist Ralph Heimans, commissioned in 2017 when Philip retired from public duties, which has never been shown in public before.

The artwork shows the duke standing in the grand corridor of Windsor Castle, not far from the room where his mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, was born in 1885.

Her birth is also marked in the exhibition due to a journal, which previously belonged to Queen Victoria, being displayed that recorded the birth and described the princess as being “very pretty”.

The Queen is understood to be aware of the exhibition but no confirmation has yet been received whether she will attend it.

Prince Philip: A Celebration
The duke’s Chair of Estate was made for him after Elizabeth II’s Coronation, to accompany her Chair of Estate in the throne room at Buckingham Palace (Royal Collection Trust/Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2021/PA)

Sally Goodsir, curator of decorative arts at the Royal Collection Trust, said the exhibition had been in the works for more than a year and was expected to be held originally to mark the duke’s centenary on June 10.

However, after his death on April 9 this year, it is now being held as a celebration of his life and work.

She said: “There are works from the Royal Collection, as well as more private works, such as paintings acquired by him during his lifetime, works presented during state visits, and during some of his solo tours without the Queen, particularly in the 1950s and 1960s.

“There are also displays which show his involvement with environment and conservation when they were really quite new concerns in the middle of the 20th century.”

Prince Philip: A Celebration
The journal in which Queen Victoria recorded the birth of the Duke of Edinburgh’s mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, at Windsor Castle in 1885 (Royal Collection Trust/Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2021/PA)

The location of the exhibition is also deliberate as it is being held in two rooms of the castle – the Lantern Lobby and St George’s Hall – which the duke was “instrumental” in helping to restore after the fire at Windsor Castle in 1992.

“Prince Philip was chair of the restoration committee and he convened that committee within three weeks of the fire, bringing together British and global heritage experts and skilled craftspeople to really rebuild Windsor Castle,” Ms Goodsir said.

“As people couldn’t gather as they might ordinarily have done at the time of his death, and at the funeral, then this is a chance to visit and find out a little bit more about him.”

– Prince Philip: A Celebration is part of a visit to Windsor Castle from June 24 until September 20 2021.
Tickets must be pre-booked via www.rct.uk or 0303 123 7300.

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