Prince Philip death: Which charities did the Duke of Edinburgh support?

Duke of Edinburgh supported more than 900 charities throughout his lifetime

Olivia Petter
Saturday 10 April 2021 14:56 BST

In the wake of the Duke of Edinburgh’s death on Friday 9 April, many people are looking back on the royal’s life, much of which he devoted to philanthropy.

Throughout his 99-year-long life, Prince Philip was associated with 992 charities in one capacity or another, either as president, patron or as an honorary member.

According to the Royal Family website, his particular interests spanned scientific and technological research and development, the welfare of young people, education, conservation, the environment and the encouragement of sport.

These organisations, all of which are listed on the Royal Family website, include: BirdLife Australia, which is dedicated to the conservation, study and enjoyment of Australia’s native birds and their habitats, the Mount Everest Foundation, which funds British and New Zealand expeditions to mountainous regions of the world, and Muscular Dystrophy UK, which provides care and funding research for muscular dystrophies and allied disorders.

Prince Philip was also a patron of the Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth (his daughter, Princess Anne, is president) and he was an honorary member of the Association for Physical Education, which promotes high-quality physical education for young people, inside and outside the classroom.

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In the arts and culture world, the Duke made significant contributions through his work as a patron of the Arts Club and of the Chartered Society of Designers. He was also a patron for the Cartoon Museum in London.

In addition to this, the Duke served as Chancellor of four universities in his lifetime, including the University of Edinburgh Wales from 1952 to 2015 and the University of Cambridge from 1976 to 2015.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Duke of Edinburgh’s biggest philanthropic contributions.

Prince Philip was the first-ever president of World Wildlife Fund (WWF), which he joined from its advent in 1961.

The WWF champions the conversation of the planet with a focus on transforming markets and policies toward sustainability and protecting and restoring species and their habitats.

Prince Philip remained president until 1982, after which he became International President and then, in 1996, he was appointed President Emeritus of WWF until his death.

His eldest son, the Prince of Wales was appointed president of the WWF in 2011.

In response to news of the Duke of Edinburgh’s death, WWF released a statement offering their condolences to the Queen and the rest of the royal family.

Pavan Sukhdev, President of WWF International, said: “The Duke of Edinburgh has been a tireless champion for the environmental cause and a passionate ambassador for conservation issues around the world for decades.

“His Royal Highness helped chart the course of WWF from its very beginning and has truly made enormous contributions to the organisation.”

Prince Philip had been a patron for Book Aid International since 1966.

The organisation is the UK’s leading international book donation and library development charity and offers books to those in underdeveloped countries to support education and creativity.

The charity’s mission statement is to create a world “where everyone has access to the books that will enrich, improve and change their lives”.

Following news of Prince Philip’s death, Book Aid International released a statement on behalf of chief executive Alison Tweed thanking the late Duke for his contributions.

“His Royal Highness has been Book Aid International’s Patron for over 50 years,” it said before going on to describe Prince Philip as a “great reader who believed in the power of books”.

“We feel incredibly lucky to have had His patronage for so long, and were honoured that His Royal Highness chose to remain our patron even after his retirement,” the statement continued.

“I know that I am joined by our partners and readers around the world in thanking His Royal Highness for his patronage and expressing our profound sorrow at his passing.”

Prince Philip was a royal patron of the charity Plan International, the global children’s charity supporting girls and boys growing up in impoverished countries.

The organisation works to provide these children with education, health care, clean water and future opportunities.

In light of Prince Philip’s death, Rose Caldwell, CEO of Plan International UK commented: “We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of His Royal Highness, the Duke of Edinburgh, who has been a long standing royal patron of Plan International UK.

“Over the years, His Royal Highness has been incredibly supportive of the work we do with young people both here in the UK and across the world. As a global children’s charity striving to give every child the same chance in life, his support has been hugely appreciated.”

The Duke of Edinburgh became a patron for the British Heart Foundation in the 1960s after being invited to do so by Sir Horace Evans, who was Head of the Queen’s Medical Household at the time.

The organisation funds research related to heart and circulatory diseases.

Prince Philip is said to have played a valuable role in fundraising for the charity, attending several galas and events and opening various medical centres funded by the charity.

In March 2017, the Prince hosted a dinner event for the British Heart Foundation at St James’ Palace to celebrate 55 years as its patron.

Following his death, Dr Charmaine Griffiths, the charity’s Chief Executive, said: “We’re deeply saddened by the death of our patron, Prince Philip HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, and offer our condolences to Her Majesty The Queen and the Royal Family. 

“Prince Philip offered steadfast support to the BHF for nearly 60 years and was a remarkable advocate for the power of research to save and improve lives from heart and circulatory diseases. 

“Prince Philip’s role as our patron was one aspect of a life characterised by support for good causes and devotion to public service. His contribution will forever be remembered.” 

The Duke of Edinburgh Award was created in Prince Philip’s name in 1956 and is largely seen as one of his largest societal contributions.

He was its chair until his 80th birthday and remained a patron up until his death.

The programme is open to 14-24-year-olds and involves various challenges designed to help support the community, the environment, physical fitness, the development of new skills, and training for and completing an expedition.

There are three different levels: bronze, silver and gold, all of which champion the idea of setting personal challenges and pushing personal boundaries.

In the wake of Prince Philip’s death, Ruth Marvel, chief executive of DofE, said: “The Duke’s timeless vision for young people has never been more relevant or needed.

“The DofE has played a crucial role in supporting young people to survive and thrive despite the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic, and we will continue to build on his legacy.

“The Duke was a lifelong advocate for young people, believing in each individual’s potential and creating in the DofE what he saw as a ‘do-it-yourself growing up kit’”

Ms Marvel added that the organisation is “honoured” to continue the work that the Duke started and ensure that all young people, “especially those from marginalised groups” can benefit from “the better educational outcomes, employment prospects, community ties and better mental health that are associated with doing DofE”.

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