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HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Patron of the Research and Development Society

The Research and Development Society is saddened to learn of the death of HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh on April 9, 2021. We offer our sincere and heartfelt condolences to Her Majesty the Queen and all the Royal Family at this difficult time.

His Royal Highness was a patron of the R&D Society; our former and long-standing Administrative Secretary, Clive Jones notes in a history of the Society that “In 1969 steps were taken to obtain the Patronage of HRH the Duke of Edinburgh. After lengthy negotiations with Buckingham Palace, His Royal Highness eventually attended an Evening Meeting held at The Royal Society in May 1970 and thereafter kindly consented to become the Society’s Patron”.

His passion for reserach and development spanned a whole spectrum of activities; he served as Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh from 1953 to 2010 and the University of Cambridge from 1976 until 2011; played a key role in establishing the Royal Academy of Engineering, commissioning the Prince Philip Medal which is awarded biennially by the Academy to an engineer of any nationality who has made an exceptional contribution to engineering as a whole, through practice, management, or education. He had a strong interest in the industrialisation of science and engineering, visiting research centres and laboratories, mines and factories, engineering facilities and industrial sites with the objective of understanding and contributing to the improvement of British industry, a key area of focus for the R&D Society.

I was fortunate enough to meet him at a Buckingham Palace Garden Party in 2015 and experience his ability to combine both interest and wit when speaking on a subject. After asking about the Society, he then went on to ask me what I did for my day job. When I explained that I worked in medical devices, he was quick to quip that he has “been on the wrong end of a few of those in his time”.

He will be sadly missed not only by those who had the fortune to be acquainted with him, but by a much wider population throughout the world who appreciate the enthusiasm and support he has given to so many important causes. Those of of us who experienced his passion and support for research and development, know that his legacy in this field will be more enduring. His recognition of the importance of the application of science to industrial output is particularly pertinent at the present time, as the UK government works to redefine its industrial strategy around a new “Plan for Growth” initiative. His ability and willingness to challenge the status quo will be sorely missed.

Iain Simpson


Research and Development Society

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