University of Brighton Design Archives

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Black and white photograph of HRH Prince Phillip on the judging panel of the Design Council's Duke of Edinburgh Design Prize.

Prince Philip: A Case of Exemplary Royal Patronage

Black and white photograph of HRH Prince Phillip on the judging panel of the Design Council's Duke of Edinburgh Design Prize.

Since its inception in 1944, the Design Council (formerly Council of Industrial Design) has been fortunate in being able to call on royal support for its many initiatives.  This began when King George VI and his consort Queen Elizabeth opened the Council’s most important early event, the Britain Can Make It exhibition, held at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London in 1946.  The other image shows Princess Margaret and her then husband the Earl of Snowdon during a visit to the Design Centre in Haymarket – part of what became a very consistent display of royal patronage under Paul Reilly’s directorship.

In the case of Prince Philip, however, his involvement with the Design Council went significantly beyond appearances and openings.  As this week’s reflections have clearly illustrated, he could be described as a natural engineer and someone with a keen understanding of the importance of science, technology and innovation.  In conceiving the Council’s annual award drawing attention to questions of design excellence and bearing his name, he committed himself to a longstanding relationship with the body, and this initiative deserves to stand alongside, and receive the same recognition as, the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme for young people.

Black and white photograph of Princess Margaret and her then husband Earl of Snowdon visiting the Design Centre at the Haymarket in London

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Sirpa Kutilainen • April 19, 2021


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