Tributes have been paid in Greenwich to Prince Philip, who died this morning at Windsor Castle aged 99.
The Duke of Edinburgh was given the title of Baron Greenwich upon his marriage in 1947, and the Queen’s consort maintained links with the area throughout his life. He was instrumental in having Greenwich declared a royal borough in 2012.
He was a trustee of the National Maritime Museum from 1948 to 2000, and was its patron until his death; most recently attending the opening of its archive centre in Kidbrooke in 2017.
The duke also studied at the Royal Naval College in the late 1940s, and helped bring the Cutty Sark to Greenwich in the 1950s. The clipper ship had been due to be scrapped after the war, but the duke is credited with the idea of bringing it to Greenwich. He founded the Cutty Sark Society in 1951 and attended the ship’s opening six years later.
“Without his vision and passion perhaps the ship would not be here today if it wasn’t for him,” Kevin Fewster, the former director of Royal Museums Greenwich, told ITV News.
When the Cutty Sark was badly damaged by fire in 2007, the prince was part of efforts to restore the ship. Greenwich Council put £7 million into the project to save the Cutty Sark, with the area being declared a royal borough in time for the Queen’s diamond jubilee.
Flags at Woolwich Town Hall flew at half-mast today as a mark of respect.
Council leader Danny Thorpe said: “All of us can take so many lessons from someone who has given so many years of service and dedication to our country.”
The duke was awarded the freedom of the borough in 2012, and Thorpe said it was “an award we know he was particularly grateful to receive”.
Opposition leader Nigel Fletcher said: “The title of Baron Greenwich was one of those awarded to him at the time of his marriage, and throughout his decades of public service here, he proved himself worthy of it.”
Royal Museums Greenwich said: “His unwavering interest and support over more than 70 years has been invaluable. He leaves behind a wonderful legacy.”
Eltham MP Clive Efford recalled meeting the duke at an event for the Fields in Trust charity, which looks to protect playing fields.
“I met Prince Philip when he came to Eltham as President of the Fields in Trust charity,” he said. “All my questions about FiT were answered by Prince Philip. He was clearly passionate about protecting our open spaces and wasn’t just there as a figurehead.”
A gun salute will be fired at Woolwich Barracks at noon on Saturday. The public is being asked to watch online or on television.
(Updated at 10.40pm to include the gun salute and Clive Efford’s comments.)
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