Prince Philip Passed Away At The Age Of 99 But Not Before Making His Mark On Singapore History
On Friday (9 Apr), the world was rocked by news that the United Kingdom’s Prince Philip had passed away at the age of 99.
His death was announced by his wife, the Queen, over the Royal Family’s Twitter at about 7pm Singapore time.
As Singapore hasn’t been a British colony for some time, many Singaporeans might think of him as some faraway royal.
However, the Duke of Edinburgh has actually a close connection with our country, having visited us at least 5 times, most recently just 15 years ago in 2006.
Read on to find out some details of his trips here.
According to records from the National Archives of Singapore (NAS), Prince Philip first visited our shores solo way back in 1959.
He was just 38 years old then, and already married to Queen Elizabeth II.
At the time, Singapore was still a British colony, so the royal visit was a big deal for us.
He arrived on the royal yacht Britannia.
When he arrived at Clifford Pier, he cut a dashing figure in full naval uniform.
Prince Philip is at the centre.
He was met by Governor of Singapore, Sir William Goode, and school children lined the road to welcome him – a sight you don’t see much nowadays.
He was given a state banquet in his honour at Victoria Memorial Hall – now known more for its concerts and theatre shows.
Among the places he visited was Kranji War Memorial, where he placed a wreath.
He attended a rally at the Padang organised by our youth organisations.
Singapore Polytechnic students and alumni might also be interested to know that he opened their school.
In Feb 1965, just 6 months before Singapore became an independent nation, Prince Philip visited again on a state visit.
The trip solidified his place in Singapore’s history as he visited in our independence year.
This time, he came to Singapore by plane.
The royal was greeted by Yang di-Pertuan Negara Yusof Ishak, who later became the 1st President of Singapore. You might also know him as the face on our dollar bills.
The highlight of the trip was his visit to an HDB estate in Queenstown.
One lucky family had the honour of him visiting their flat, along with the President. The Prince even posed happily with them.
It would probably be a day that the See family would remember for their whole lives.
During the trip, Prince Philip also met our late founding father Lee Kuan Yew during an official reception at the Istana.
He also played a game of polo at the Polo Club on Thomson Road.
When Prince Philip came back to Singapore in Feb 1972, he was accompanied by the Queen and their only daughter, Princess Anne.
The Queen was making a 3-day state visit to our country.
The royals were hosted to a dinner reception by Mr and Mrs Lee Kuan Yew.
(From left), Mrs Lee, the Queen, Mr Lee, Princess Anne and Prince Philip.
During the trip, Prince Philip visited an HDB flat again, this time with his wife and daughter.
The lucky flat owner was teacher Lim Cheng Kee, who lived on the 18th floor of Block 53, Toa Payoh Lorong 5.
The royals also visited Jurong Hill, where they planted a tembusu tree.
They also visited the Jurong Bird Park.
And the Singapore Armed Forces Training Institute (SAFTI), standing on a land rover.
Prince Philip visited the University of Singapore, the precursor to the National University of Singapore (NUS).
In 1989, the Queen visited Singapore again for a 3-day state visit. Of course, Prince Philip was right by her side. This is when the photos turn to colour.
They were hosted to a state banquet by then President Wee Kim Wee.
At the banquet, they also met Mr Lee once again.
Earlier, they had paid a courtesy call on Mr Lee at the Istana.
During the trip, the royal couple would visit Kranji War Memorial, where Prince Philip had visited 30 years ago.
They also visited NUS, where students put on a show for them.
Prince Philip also did what most Singaporeans did at the time – visit Orchard Road. Specifically Centrepoint, a very popular mall back then.
Prince Philip’s last trip to Singapore would take place 17 years later, in 2006.
He accompanied the Queen again, on a 2-day state visit.
They were welcomed at the Istana by then President S R Nathan.
They also met Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his wife Ho Ching.
That night, at a dinner at the Istana, they again met Mr Lee Kuan Yew and his wife.
During the visit, the royal couple would lay a wreath at the Cenotaph in Esplanade Park and meet former servicemen.
Prince Philip also attended a National Youth Achievement Award (NYAA) event with Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who was then Education Minister.
Making his mark on Singapore
During his visits to Singapore, Prince Philip met many of our legendary figures, from our founding father to our 1st president and our current Prime Minister.
So as part of the always-constant British monarchy, he’s indeed made an indelible mark on our country.
That’s why Singaporeans will remember him fondly even though he’s sadly passed away.
Our heartfelt condolences go out to the Royal Family, and may he rest in peace.
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