Prince Philip: Cutty Sark - Duke's London landmark legacy?

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This London landmark is Prince Philip’s legacy. Would the Cutty Sark be in south east London if it wasn’t for the Duke?

“Quite probably not – without his vision and passion perhaps the ship would not be here today if it wasn’t for him," said Dr Kevin Fewster, former Director of Royal Museums Greenwich.

It was once one of the fastest ships in its day, but in 1953 it was at the end of its life in the water. The clipper was taken over by the Duke of Edinburgh as President of the Cutty Sark Preservation Society.

Dr Fewster says: “He was the one that really drove that campaign to see the ship preserved and displayed in Greenwich so he was with her every step of the way.

“He had such strong inks to the sea, and I think for him the Cutty Sark represented so much about man and the sea and the great age of sail."

"And so Cutty Sark is in many ways the last of those ships and one of the most famous sailing ships in the world. And so I think for him it encapsulated many of those values. And so he saw a great need and opportunity to preserve the ship for all time," he added.Despite post-war austerity, Prince Philip helped raise enough money to build a permanent home for his ship.

“It needed money and it needed vision and, of course, it was just after the war. There was not a lot of money around and the money that was around was needed for many other things. 

"This project was his passion, as was Greenwich. So all those things came together, where the ship could be the realisation of many of those things," said Dr Fewster.

When the Cutty Sark was in trouble again, catching fire in 2007 during renovation work, Prince Philip was on site the next day to lend his support.

Five years later he was back on the deck of his beloved clipper to see it reopen to the public.

Dr Fewster says: “We’ll miss him greatly because he’d been associated with museums from the very beginning so he’s been an ever constant in the life and history of this organisation.”

The country has lost a prince but this ship has lost its patron.