Before marrying into the Royal Family, Prince Philip had a distinguished Naval career.
Perhaps, one of his greatest ties to the North East was his work with the region’s most famous historic warship, HMS Trincomalee.
The Duke’s support for the 200-year-old ship’s restoration, was credited as invaluable by the president of the HMS Trincomalee Trust.
Built in 1817, just after the Napoleonic wars, Trincomalee is the star attraction of Hartlepool’s National Museum of the Royal Navy, bringing in hundreds of thousands of visitors to the region every year.
His Royal Highness joined the Navy himself aged just 18, graduating as a cadet and was on active service in the Royal Navy throughout the Second World War.
According to Royal UK, his first naval appointment was as a midshipman to HMS RAMILLIES, which escorted the first contingents of the Allied Expeditionary Force from Australia to Egypt.
In 1987, when Trincomalee was brought to Hartlepool for restoration, Prince Philip's naval background sparked an interest in the project which saw him lend his personal support as patron.In May 1993, came a highpoint of the Prince’s patronage, when the Royal's own famous ship Britannia, sailed into Hartlepool.
Her Majesty’s engagement included opening a new multi-million-pound marina, and the Duke headed for HMS Trincomalee, to see the progress being made to restore the ship to its original configuration.
For many, it was a historic day in Hartlepool's history. The Duke brought attention to what would become the town's new main attraction.
But many visits to the region over the years, including in 2004, to see the replica of Captain Cook's vessel Endeavour, as it was moored in Whitby, have brought great attention to the Maritime industry in the North East.
I think undoubtedly it was his service in the Royal Navy that was the real catalyst that saw him wanting to be part of keeping this icon, this jewel in our maritime crown, alive.