It is with great sadness that we heard the news of the passing of HRH The Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh. He led a long and full life, dedicated to his service to his Queen, Country, Commonwealth and to our Corps.
HRH The Prince Philip served as Captain General from June 1953 until 2017. During his 64 years of service as Captain General, he visited the Corps on hundreds of occasions all around the world. The Corps benefitted hugely from his close interest and support over the years, and he provided a significant element of continuity to twenty-seven Commandants General Royal Marines. He was also known to be a strident advocate for the Royal Marines Band Service and enthusiastically attended both the Mountbatten Festival of Music and the biennial Beating Retreat on Horseguards .
He was an active member of the Royal Marines Association and paid considerable interest in the activities of the RMA. This was perhaps highlighted during the RM350 activities in 2014, the highlight of which was a parade hosted by HRH at Buckingham Palace bringing together serving and veteran Royal Marines and cadets, where he presented a standard to the Royal Marines Cadets.
He was also a strong advocate of the development of the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund at a time of great need within the Corps Family, at the height of combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. He was present at RM Barrack Stonehouse on the day when the operational honours for HERRICK 5 were announced, meeting and talking to the many recipients of gallantry and distinguished service awards. The Royal Marines and the Royal Marines Association had the tremendous privilege in being at the forefront on his final public engagement in 2017, at Buckingham Palace. He had a remarkable way of engaging in meaningful manner those of the Corps Family he met, that made each and every one feel valued and their views relevant. Who could forget the smile on his face and his genuine warmth of his conversation on that ‘soft’ day?
In those private moments with members of the Corps during his many visits, he had a reputation for his ready wit and a tremendous sense of humour that put everyone at ease. At a dinner to mark the 50th anniversary of Operation Musketeer, he clearly enjoyed listening to the ‘dits’ and reminiscences of those present who had taken part in that remarkable amphibious operation.
As a Corps and Corps Family, we could not have asked or expected any more from our Captain General.
The thoughts of our Trustees, Staff and Members of our Association are with Her Majesty The Queen our Royal Patron and the Royal Family at this very sad time.
Brigadier Richard Spencer CBE (Retd), Deputy Chief Executive