The Duke of Edinburgh, who died in April, would have been 100 on June 10 — now royal lovers can see icons from his dynamic life, including gifts and a log book from his naval service in World War II

By Simon Perry
June 07, 2021 10:28 AM
Prince Philip; The Coronation Robe and Coronet
Credit: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images; Royal Collection Trust

Cherished items from Prince Philip's dynamic life with Queen Elizabeth are on display in two new exhibits coming to Windsor Castle in England and Holyroodhouse in Scotland.

The magnificent robe he wore to watch his young wife begin her historic tenure on the throne at her Coronation in June 1953 is just one of the historic items on display. Others that celebrate his naval career and heritage, while some give insight to the whimsical and sometimes wacky gifts he received in his official role, including a wine cooler shaped like a giant grasshopper given to him by President Pompidou of France in 1972.

Prince Philip: A Celebration will open on June 24 at Windsor Castle, where the prince spent his last days before his death on April 9, and moves to the royals' Edinburgh residence of Holyroodhouse on July 23.

Prince Philip: A Celebration
Credit: Royal Collection Trust

It is a poignant week for the Queen, 95, who will mark what would have been Philip's 100th birthday on Thursday. On Saturday, she will be joined by her cousin, the Duke of Kent, to celebrate a scaled-back version of Trooping the Colour, her annual belated birthday parade.

A highlight of the upcoming display organized by the Royal Collection Trust at Windsor Castle, will be a section devoted to Prince Philip's role in the Queen's Coronation of 1953. Philip helped organize the ceremony, chairing the Coronation Committee, one of two committees convened to plan the event. A modernizer at heart, he was also instrumental in the decision to broadcast parts of the service live on television. As well as his robe and coronet worn during the service, his Chair of Estate which is usually located in the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace is also set to be in the exhibit.

Prince Philip: A Celebration
Credit: Royal Collection Trust

Philip's close association with the castle — including his leadership of the restoration committee following the 1992 fire — and his links with the local community will also be marked. His mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, was born at Windsor Castle in 1885, and the journal in which her great-grandmother Queen Victoria recorded the birth and described the newborn as "very pretty" will be on display.

Also being shown is George A. Weymouth's portrait of the prince standing in the shell of St. George's Hall after the fire, holding a roll of floorplans.

A first nations feather headdress given to Prince Philip by Jim Shot Both Sides, Head Chief of the Blood Reserve, during a visit to Canada in 1973 also appears in the collection.

Prince Philip: A Celebration
Credit: Royal Collection Trust

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The Royal Collection Trust announced the display at the Palace of Holyroodhouse will include a section charting Prince Philip's early life and naval career, including his Midshipman's log book from his service in World War II from 1940–41 when war hero Philip described his role operating the ship's searchlight during the Battle of Cape Matapan while stationed on the HMS Valiant off the coast of Greece. 

The Journal in which Queen Victoria recorded the birth of Prince Philip’s mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg
Credit: Royal Archives © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2021
Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth
Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth
| Credit: Countess of Wessex

The Edinburgh exhibit will also contain two of the architect Sir Hugh Casson's original design sketches for the Royal Yacht Britannia's sun lounge and dining room, as well as a silver model of the ship given to the Queen and Philip by Lloyd's Register of Shipping in 1972.