New Portsmouth exhibition documents Prince Philip’s naval career & Queen’s role in Navy

One year after The Duke of Edinburgh passed away aged 99 at Windsor Castle, a new exhibition has opened featuring a naval uniform and an admiral cap worn by Philip. The exhibition is titled ‘Her Majesty’s Service: The Queen’s Role At The Heart Of The Royal Navy Family’.

The items are part of an exhibition at the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard (NMRN). The exhibition looks at The Queen’s close ties to the senior service as part of celebrations for her Platinum Jubilee.

photo credit: Royal Navy Media Archive via photopin cc

Prince Philip served in the Royal Navy for a number of years before Princess Elizabeth became Queen (Royal Navy Media)

The Queen also maintains close links with over 20 naval charities which support the health and welfare of sailors and their families. The Monarch is currently the Lady Sponsor of the frigate HMS Lancaster and the Royal Navy’s flagship, the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.

The exhibition also includes photographs depicting The Queen’s many engagements as ceremonial head of the Royal Navy. as well as 41 shell cases from the gun salute fired to commemorate Prince Philip’s death.

A NMRN spokeswoman said of the display: “It captures the wide variety of duties, from the launching of ships, visits to personnel and the presentation of Queen’s Colours, to world tours on the Royal Yacht, fleet reviews and street parties.

A new exhibition in Portsmouth celebrates The Queen’s role in the Royal Navy and includes items belonging to Prince Philip.
Stephen Lock / i-Images

“There have been seven fleet reviews during her reign, including one to celebrate her coronation in 1953 just off the coast of Portsmouth, and most recently in 2005, to mark the bicentenary of the Battle of Trafalgar. The Queen also has a deeper, more personal connection to the Royal Navy and was born into a family steeped in service with the Royal Navy.

“As the daughter and granddaughter of Monarchs who served as young men in the Royal Navy, she later married a serving naval officer and two of her sons became naval officers.

“She has experienced the same emotions felt by every member of a naval family and paid testimony to this at the commissioning ceremony of HMS Queen Elizabeth in 2017. Photographs exploring The Queen’s long and loyal service and a recently acquired naval uniform belonging to the Duke of Edinburgh, displayed for the first time alongside his admiral’s cap, add an intimate touch to the exhibition.”

Prince Philip was commissioned in the Royal Navy, rising to the rank of Lieutenant during the Second World War. He became one of the youngest First Lieutenants in the Royal Navy. During training at Dartmouth, he graduated as the best cadet in his course.

Philip’s career in the Navy saw him in active duty at the Battle of Crete, where the Greek Royal was mentioned in dispatches for his service. This demonstrated his loyalty to his adopted nation.

However, in July 1951, Philip had take leave of the Royal Navy due to his father-in-law’s bad health, having been stationed in Malta for a short time, leading a relatively normal life. Philip would never return to his naval career and even stated he was sorry he never got to return.

The items belonging to Philip join other naval uniforms worn by The Princess Royal and a flying suit worn by The Prince of Wales.

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