Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh and Honourary Admiral of the RCN, passes

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Navy News / April 9, 2021

The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) lost one of its own on April 9, 2021. Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, passed peacefully at Windsor Castle at the age of 99. The longest-serving royal consort in British history, Prince Philip was an Honourary Admiral of the RCN since 2011, and the Admiral of the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets since 1953.

A Second World War veteran, Prince Philip served in His Majesty’s Ship (HMS) Valiant and was awarded the Greek War Cross of Valour. In July 1942, he was promoted lieutenant and appointed first lieutenant (second in command) of the destroyer HMS Wallace, which took part in the Allied landings in Sicily. In 1952, His Royal Highness was promoted to the rank of commander, but his naval career came to an end upon the death of his father-in-law, King George VI, and The Queen's subsequent accession to the Throne.

Since the formation of Canada’s Navy in 1910, the Royal Family has had strong ties with the oldest of the three services of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Her Majesty and Prince Philip played an important part in the RCN’s centennial celebration in 2010. They graced the RCN-hosted International Fleet Review in Halifax during their royal visit, paying tribute to Canada’s Navy in grand and historic style, sailing amid an armada of 30 warships assembled for her inspection in Halifax Harbour.

Her Majesty and Prince Philip watched from the deck of the Canadian frigate Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) St. John’s as they sailed from Bedford Basin through to Halifax Harbour inspecting ship after ship – The Queen rising from her seat and waving in recognition of each and every one of them – as each ship’s crew in turn saluted and cheered her from their deck.

The warships were dressed with signal pennants, and while onboard St. John’s, The Queen’s Personal Canadian Flag flew with distinction from the mast. The Queen and Prince Philip, who was wearing the RCN uniform, disembarked HMCS St. John’s amid cheers from both its crew and the gathered spectators ashore.

With Prince Philip beside her, Her Majesty also greeted dozens of waiting naval veterans, who fought in both the Second World War and Korea.

Her Majesty and The Duke of Edinburgh also unveiled a plaque commemorating 100 years of Canadian naval service in Halifax on the second day of their Royal Visit. Later in the visit, Her Majesty presented a plaque commemorating HMCS Sackville, a Second World War corvette that escorted convoys and attacked submarines, and which is now a museum on the Halifax waterfront.

The Royal Family’s ties to the RCN continue to this day.

In May 2015, His Royal Highness Charles, The Prince of Wales and Her Royal Highness Anne, The Princess Royal were appointed as Commodores-in-Chief of the Royal Canadian Navy by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada.

This was the first time in history that members of the Royal Family were appointed Commodores-in-Chief of the RCN. The announcement of the appointments coincided with the RCN’s commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the end of the Battle of the Atlantic, one of the longest, largest and most complex campaigns of the Second World War.