Help Musicians Chairman, Graham Sheffield, pays tribute to His Royal Highness Prince Philip, husband to our patron Her Majesty The Queen.
The Duke of Edinburgh was born in the year that Help Musicians was founded and we would have dearly loved to be celebrating his 100th birthday in our Centenary year. Whilst this is sadly not possible, we can nonetheless celebrate and pay tribute to his legacy of sustaining music and the arts, and give thanks for his unwavering support as the “strength and stay” of our longstanding Patron, Her Majesty the Queen.
In recent days, much has been said in the media of Prince Philip’s curiosity, intelligence and humour, with many reflections on the huge value that the Duke of Edinburgh Awards have brought to young people across the U.K since 1956. Through the promotion of musical performance within these awards (something we understand that the Duke, himself a keen and talented painter, was eager to encourage) he will have inspired so many musicians of the future and given confidence to young people at the start of their careers.
Prince Philip led a life of great public service, supporting hundreds of charities directly as Patron. We are deeply grateful for his support for Help Musicians – attending many of our events across the decades, both at the side of our Patron, and independently. In supporting our mission and encouraging others to do the same, he ensured that the musicians of today and of tomorrow continue to thrive and create the music we all love so much.
Gyles Brandreth recently revealed Prince Philip’s favourite song was the ballad Tom Bowling, which you can listen to here. Music has a unique way of bringing people together in difficult moments and this song seems an appropriate finale for one who so loved the sea, and did so much to encourage musicians. “His soul is gone aloft”.
Image: Queen Elizabeth II, Patron of Help Musicians, with the Duke of Edinburgh leaving the Royal Festival Hall, London, after attending the first royal concert of her reign, Help Musicians’ Festival of St Cecila concert in 1952.