As the world marks the death of Prince Philip, his many visits to Manitoba are being remembered closer to home.
Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and husband to Queen Elizabeth II, died Friday at the age of 99.
The Royal Family’s Twitter account posted the news.
“It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen has announced the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.”
Over the years, the province says Prince Philip made 10 trips to Manitoba dating back to 1951, when he and then Princess Elizabeth stopped in the Keystone Province during their first official royal visit to Canada.
Retired Chief of Protocol for the Government of Manitoba, Dwight MacAulay, helped to organize several of Prince Philip’s later trips to Manitoba, including his last visit during a royal tour of Canada in 2010.
“Throughout his long, long life, he’s met tens of thousands of people and touched tens of thousands of people and I think the people that he had the chance to meet will remember him with great fondness,” MacAulay said of Prince Philip.
“I know I will certainly remember the times that I got to meet him for the rest of my life.”
MacAulay said he was always struck by Prince Philip’s genuine interest in speaking with young people, something he saw firsthand the first time he met Prince Philip when he came to Thompson in 1984 to present the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Awards.
The awards, founded by Prince Philip, are designed to motivate young people to set goals and challenge themselves to take control of their lives and futures, according to the organization’s website.
“He seemed to get a real kick out of talking to young people,” said MacAulay, who remembers seeing the same spark decades later when he watched Prince Philip speak to students while touring Red River College in 2002.
“He really enjoyed being engaged with young people and interested in who they were, where they were from, where they were going and what they wanted to do with their life.
“I think he wanted to know what they were going to bring to the world, in many respects.”
MacAulay remembers Prince Philip as a charming man with a good sense of humour who also showed compassion for those affected by flooding when he visited Manitoba in June of 1997.
Prince Philip had been touring Ontario with Queen Elizabeth but decided to take a special helicopter trip on his own to Manitoba after hearing about the disaster.
He wanted to see the damage caused by The Flood of the Century for himself, MacAulay remembers.
“The flood waters had started to recede, but he was very concerned about what was happening in the Province of Manitoba.” MacAulay recalls.
“You could tell Prince Philip wasn’t just interested and engaged but very concerned about the people and community of Ste. Agathe that was in the process of really starting to recover from the flood waters that had struck that spring.”
But MacAulay says his most memorable experience with Prince Philip is one that made headlines around the world.
MacAulay was with the Duke of Edinburgh and Queen Elizabeth when the pair were on a water taxi that got temporarily stranded while crossing the Red River when the couple were in Winnipeg marking the Queen’s Jubilee in 2002.
In fact, MacAulay says he was the one who grabbed onto another water taxi that helped tow the royal couple ashore.
“That’s probably going to be one of the things that I’m remembered for is being in that visit where they were stuck in the middle of the Red River,” laughed MacAulay, who says the couple hadn’t forgot about the experience when he had the opportunity to ask them about it on their next visit in 2010.
“They had a real good chuckle over the event — I don’t know if I did at the time — but they certainly did.”
Prince Philip was also the Honorary Colonel in Chief of the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada, located in Manitoba.
Statements from local dignitaries on the death of Prince Philip:
“It is with profound sadness that His Honour and I learned of the passing of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, KG, KT, PC, OM, GBE, AC, ONZ, QSO, GCL, CC, CMM, CD, ADC(P).
“Manitobans greatly admired The Duke of Edinburgh’s commitment to the Canadian Forces, His encouragement to young people and His wonderful sense of humour. We fondly remember His many visits to our province over the years, both on His own and with Her Majesty The Queen, and the special effort He made to meet with Manitobans from all walks of life who strive to make valuable contributions to their communities. We also recall, with great pride, Their Majesties, along with His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal travelling across the province in 1970 in celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Manitoba’s entry into Confederation.
“His Royal Highness will be deeply mourned by all and His legacy will continue through the thousands of young people who challenge themselves each year to achieve the Duke of Edinburgh Awards. For generations to come, Manitobans will look upon the visit of The Duke of Edinburgh in 1997, when he toured the province to survey the damage from the ‘Flood of the Century’ as a reminder of Prince Philip’s unwavering dignity, loyalty, compassion for and service to all Canadians.
“On behalf of all Manitobans, I extend my deepest sympathy to Her Majesty The Queen and all members of the Royal Family.”
–Lieutenant Governor Janice Filmon
“Today, I was saddened to learn of the death of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh. From his first visit to Manitoba in 1951 to his last in 2010, Manitobans have had a special relationship with The Duke of Edinburgh.
“In 10 separate royal visits and tours, The Duke of Edinburgh visited communities across Manitoba. From officially opening the Pan Am Games in 1967 and celebrating Manitoba’s Centennial in 1970, to presenting the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Awards in Thompson in 1984, visiting Churchill in 1992 and touring flood-ravaged communities in southern Manitoba in 1997, The Duke of Edinburgh connected directly with thousands of Manitobans.
“We will remember his bravery during active service in the Royal Navy during the Second World War and his long association with the military, his dedication and commitment to supporting Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth as the longest-serving royal consort in British history, his keen interest in conservation, his generosity of time and hard work for the many charities and organizations he acted as patron for, and his vision in creating the Duke of Edinburgh Awards to help young people explore their interests and give back to their communities.
“On behalf of all Manitobans, I extend our sympathies to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of York, The Earl of Essex, The Princess Royal, His Royal Highness’ grandchildren, great-grandchildren and other members of the Royal Family. I encourage all Manitobans to visit http://www.manitobalg.ca where the virtual book of condolence will be posted later today, and share their memories of His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh with other Canadians and the Royal Family.
-Premier Brian Pallister
“Today, Winnipeggers join their fellow Canadians and people across the Commonwealth in mourning the death of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. On behalf of our City Council and the citizens of Winnipeg, I extend our deepest sympathies to Her Majesty The Queen, and all members of the Royal Family.
Many Winnipeggers have fond memories of the Duke of Edinburgh’s warm relationship with Canadians, and, in particular, his visits to our city. He was with us both in moments of great celebration, like the opening of the Pan American Games in 1967 and Manitoba’s Centennial in 1970, and in difficult times, like the aftermath of the Flood of the Century, in 1997.
“As we reflect today, we give thanks for Prince Philip’s lifetime of service: from his naval service in the Second World War, to his tireless work on behalf of the Commonwealth, to his patronage of charitable causes like the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and the World Wildlife Fund. Throughout his life, his devotion to duty has always been inspiring; his deep concern for youth and the environment will surely continue to resonate far into the future.
“The Duke of Edinburgh was a member of the Greatest Generation, and in so many ways his life and work exemplify its virtues. For this, for his countless good works, and for his steadfast friendship with Canadians, Winnipeggers will always remember him.”
-Winnipeg mayor Brian Bowman
–With files from Amber McGuckin