HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (1921-2021)
It is with a heavy heart and great sadness that we mark the passing of our Company's Admiral, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh on 9 April 2021.
The Master, Wardens, Court and Members of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners are deeply saddened to learn of the death of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the Admiral of the Honourable Company.
His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh visiting HQS WELLINGTON in 1984.
His Royal Highness was Master of the Company from 1954-1957 after which he became our Admiral, an office he held until his death. Prince Philip supported the Company and visited the ship on a number of notable occasions in recent years including the retirement of our long-serving Clerk, Derek Field, in 1991, the 50th anniversary of “Wellington” arriving at Temple Stairs in 1998 and the 75th anniversary of the Company’s foundation in 2001.
His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh visiting HQS WELLINGTON in 2012 at the opening of the Convoy Exhibition (photograph shared by The Wellington Trust).
At his installation as Master on 8 June 1954, His Royal Highness said,
As you can well imagine there are many things which I have to do about which I know very little, and I can say that it is not easy for outsiders to understand the significance of the position which is special to a specialised profession. For better or for worse I was trained as a seaman, and I have had the very good fortune to serve with officers of both the Merchant Navy and the Royal Navy, and you can believe that I really do understand the importance and significance of the position of Master of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners. In fact I am not only honoured but I am slightly overwhelmed to find myself at the head of such a very distinguished company of seamen. I am feeling slightly embarrassed because I realise that the qualification for membership is, of course, a Masters’ Certificate, and up to a short time ago I felt that I was going to be in the very undistinguished position of being the only one here without one. Luckily the Minister of Transport and Aviation saved me any further embarrassment by making good the deficiency, so thank you very much indeed. You are quite safe; I do not think there is any chance of my using it!
HQS WELLINGTON on 9 April 2021 with her flags flying at half mast.
The Master, Captain Derek Chadburn marked the passing of our Admiral with the following words:
On behalf of the Wardens, the Court and the entire membership of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners, we are saddened by the loss of a staunch supporter. His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, became our Master in 1954 and when his term of office ended, he agreed to be appointed our Admiral; a position he held even when he retired from public duty. He will be remembered as a friend of the Honourable Company and our thoughts and prayers go out to our Patron, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the entire Royal Family as we mourn.
Read see the BBC's announcement of the death of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, click here.
To hear the Prime Minster's tribute, click here.