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Prince Philip was a frequent visitor to Bermuda

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Greetings, Bermuda: the Queen and Prince Philip during their visit here in 2009. Prince Philip died today (File photograph)

The late Duke of Edinburgh was no stranger to Bermuda having visited the Island at least nine times.

Prince Philip died at Windsor Castle yesterday aged 99.

He was on island with the Queen for official visits in 1953, 1975, 1994 and 2009, and made short visits on his own in 1959, 1962, twice in 1964, 1989, 1990, 1991 and 2009.

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In November 1953, in what was called “Our proudest moment”, the Queen and Prince Philip arrived in Bermuda following her ascent to the throne at the start of their 30,000 mile, six-month tour of the Commonwealth and colonies. See pictures here

It was the first visit to the island by a sitting monarch.

They spent just over 24 hours in Bermuda, flying on a state of the art Boeing 377 Stratocruiser. The tour was conceived as a way of introducing her to her subjects.

People on the Island rehearsed what they would do on the visit for weeks ahead of time.

The couple had a whirlwind tour, accompanied by Governor Alexander Hood and his wife.

They visited St Peter’s Church, toured the United States Air Force Base, Kindley Field — now LF Wade International airport.

They paraded through Hamilton before paying a visit to the Parliament, delivering a speech from between the portraits of King George III and Queen Charlotte, seized from the basement of United States’ executive mansion, the White House, during the War of 1812 and gifted to Bermuda.

In 1975, he returned with the Queen for an official visit, with the Royal couple being driven to Government House at Langton Hill, Pembroke, in a $150,000, open-backed Rolls-Royce borrowed from a Philadelphia businessman.

The car was reputed to have once been owned by Czech Communist Party leader Alexander Dubcek.

Knighthoods were conferred on Sir George Ratteray and Sir Dudley Spurling at Government House.

The Duke toured Nonsuch Island to see the Cahow restoration project.

A gala dinner at the Southampton Princess Hotel was attended by more than 500 guests, who heard the Queen urge Bermudians to show what could be achieved, when people “of different race and ancestry are determined to live together under the rule of law, and in mutual respect and tolerance”.

The visit was wrapped up with a mini-tour of the East End, and lunch at the St George’s Dinghy Club.

In 1994, during a visit with the Queen, the Duke visited Tucker House in St George’s to see a new archaeological exhibit.

At a special dinner at what was then the Southampton Princess, she surprised everyone by touching on the subject of race during a speech about how much Bermuda had changed since the days of segregation.

The Queen’s visit of November 24-26, 2009 was the culmination of the celebrations of the 400th anniversary of English settlement of Bermuda.

Thousands of people descended on St George’s to welcome the Royal couple.

About 2,000 people crammed into King’s Square, as the Queen did a short walkabout, escorted by Ewart Brown, the Premier, and his wife, Wanda Henton Brown.

The visit came 56 years to the day since the Queen and the Duke first travelled to Bermuda.

In March 1991, during a tour which took in Canada and the Bahamas as part of his involvement with a number of international organisations.

The tour put him in touch with the World Wide Fund for Nature, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme, the Outward Bound Trust, the British Commonwealth Ex-Services League and the English Speaking Union.

The visit saw him make presentations to Duke of Edinburgh Award winners, in a ceremony at Government House.

Prince Philip was born in Corfu on June 10, 1921, descended from Queen Victoria’s daughter, Princess Alice.

His father, Prince Andrew of Greece, was of Danish descent, and the younger son of King George I of the Hellenes.

In December 1922, as the monarchy collapsed during the Greco-Turkish War, the toddler prince was smuggled out of Greece — in a cot made from a fruit box, and taken aboard HMS Calypso.

The Prince arrived in Britain from France at an early age, to be educated at a preparatory school, Cheam, and then Gordonstoun, in Scotland.

In May 1939, he left school to become a naval cadet.

When he renounced his Greek and Danish royal titles in 1947 and became a British subject, it was under his mother’s name, Mountbatten.

During his career at sea, he served on the battleship HMS Ramillies, cruisers HMS Kent and HMS Shropshire, the battleship HMS Valiant, the destroyers HMS Wallace, HMS Whelp and HMS Chequers and the frigate HMS Magpie.

In 1943 he was on board HMS Wallace as it covered the Canadian beachhead during the Sicily landings.

He was a first lieutenant on HMS Whelp and was present at the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay.

Since the accession to the throne, the Duke of Edinburgh has maintained a hectic schedule of royal functions.

He held several important service appointments and acted as patron or president of a large number of organisations of national significance.

Proud moment: Roddy Williams, Mayor of Hamilton, is introduced to the Queen and Prince Philip in 1953
The Queen and Prince Philip are shown the grounds of Government House at Langton Hill, Pembroke, where she planted a palm tree in 1953.
The Duke of Edinburgh meets members of the Bermuda Sloop in Dockyard in 2009
The Queen and Prince Philip during their most recent visit to Bermuda in 2009

He showed interest in scientific and technological research and development, in the encouragement of sport, the welfare of young people and in conservation and the state of the environment.

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Published April 10, 2021 at 8:08 am (Updated April 10, 2021 at 8:08 am)

Prince Philip was a frequent visitor to Bermuda

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