It is with great sadness that I relay the news of the passing of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. As the devoted husband and consort to Her Majesty The Queen, their marriage formed a foundation of leadership of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth for nearly eight decades. On the occasion of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, she referred to Prince Philip as her “constant strength and guide.”
His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, will be remembered fondly by British Columbians for his devotion to Queen and country, his duties as Royal Patron, and his ever-keen interest in the lives and work of Canadians. On behalf of all British Columbians, I extend my heartfelt condolences to Her Majesty The Queen, the entire Royal Family, and all citizens of the Commonwealth, on the loss of this steadfast companion and most loyal Prince.
Remembering the life of the Duke of Edinburgh
The Duke of Edinburgh was born in Greece and lived throughout Europe during his childhood. In the late 1930s, he began a long career in the Royal Navy and was proud to serve as Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom. As Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, he married the Princess Elizabeth in 1947. In 1952, their lives changed forever with the untimely passing of Her Majesty’s father, King George VI. Prince Philip became Consort to the Queen, supporting her in her duties as sovereign; his time as Royal Consort exceeded that of any other Consort in British history. Throughout Her Majesty’s reign, the Duke of Edinburgh was by her side through Royal tours of the Commonwealth, state dinners, Royal engagements, and he accompanied the Queen to ceremonies such as the Openings of Parliaments around the world. His public service was long and celebrated, culminating in his well-earned retirement at the age of 96 in 2017. His Royal Highness had immense love for his family, and is survived by four children, eight grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren.
In addition to his royal duties alongside The Queen, His Royal Highness served as Royal Patron to many charities and organizations. In Canada, he held many honorary military positions, including that of Colonel-in-Chief of the Vancouver-based Seaforth Highlanders. He served as patron or president of nearly 800 organizations, reflecting his interest in science and technology, sports, youth, conservation, and the environment. In British Columbia, his patronage included the Vancouver Club, the Abbotsford Flying Club, the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, the Vancouver Rowing Club and the Vancouver Racquets Club. In 1956, His Royal Highness launched the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, encouraging and supporting the personal development of young people. Nearly half a million Canadians aged 14-25 have participated in the program, and it has been the pride of Lieutenant Governors in British Columbia for many years to host the “Duke of Ed” award ceremonies at Government House in Victoria.
The Duke of Edinburgh in Canada and British Columbia
The Duke of Edinburgh always expressed great fondness for Canada on his many visits here. His first tour was with the then-Princess Elizabeth in 1951, with stops in Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo and a private retreat in Qualicum Beach. In 1954, the Duke of Edinburgh returned to Victoria, attended the British and Commonwealth Games in Vancouver and visited Kitimat. A cross-country tour of Canada was undertaken in 1959 by train, stopping in Golden, Revelstoke, Kamloops, Spences Bridge, New Westminster and with returns to Vancouver, Victoria and Nanaimo. The Duke of Edinburgh attended the Commonwealth Study Conference in Vancouver in 1962, and used the opportunity to present colours to the Seaforth Highlanders. 1969 saw Prince Philip return to study the operations of the newly launched-in-Canada Duke of Edinburgh International Award. From the 1970s onward, the Duke of Edinburgh visited British Columbia an additional six times, traveling to communities throughout all corners of the province.
Court Mourning observed by the Lieutenant Governor and Government House staff
Court mourning is observed by members of the Royal Family, households of the Royal Family, Household Troops, and Her Majesty’s representatives at home and abroad and their staff.
On the occasion of the death of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia is observing an official period of mourning. Some correspondence may be delayed and we appreciate your patience in this time of sombre observance.
How can British Columbians convey their condolences?
- The Office of Canadian Heritage is hosting an online book of condolences for all Canadians to convey their condolences. The online form to submit messages is located here.
- In lieu of flowers, cards or gifts, consider making a donation to His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh’s Royal Patronage – Canadian Organizations.
What, if any, impact will there be to Government House grounds access?
Government House grounds will remain open from dawn to dusk to visitors as per usual. Visitors will be asked to be mindful of the fact that Government House staff are currently observing court mourning. A sign will be posted at the gate to notify visitors.