About The Duke of Edinburgh
The Duke of Edinburgh is His Majesty The King’s brother and the youngest child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. He dedicates much of his time as a full-time working member of the Royal Family to championing young people and promoting the benefits of non-formal education across the world.
As well as undertaking official duties in support of His Majesty – often alongside his wife The Duchess of Edinburgh – The Duke carries out a busy schedule of engagements across the UK and overseas for his charities and patronages.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award has been a focus of The Duke of Edinburgh’s life and work for four decades since achieving his own Gold Award in 1986.
Founded by Prince Philip in 1956, The Award helps young people build their confidence and develop key life skills in order to reach their full potential. Today nearly half a million young people are actively doing their DofE in the UK and The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is operating in more than 130 countries.
The Duke has played a leadership role in the Award’s development in the United Kingdom and overseas over many years, taking on many responsibilities for its charities from his father. He has been a Trustee of the UK charity since 1988, of the International Award since 2006, and was chair of its International Council for seventeen years. In 1999 His Royal Highness established the International Special Projects Group to broaden the Award’s reach, particularly to the most marginalised young people in society. The Duke continues to serve as Chairman of Trustees for The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation – a position he has held since 2015.
In these roles, The Duke travels widely within the UK and across the globe to support the Award – meeting young participants, thanking the volunteers who make their achievements possible and hosting Gold Awards Celebrations.
Youth causes are close to The Duke’s heart and promoting development opportunities for young people is a theme running through much of his work. In 2020 The Duke was asked by his father to become Patron of the charity London Youth, a network of youth clubs which was the first patronage held by Prince Philip.
The Duke is also currently serving as the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Quality Youth Leadership Ambassador during their 2023 ‘Year of Youth’ – twelve months of activity devoted to empowering the 1.5 billion under-30s living across the Commonwealth.
The Duke is passionate about the arts and gives much of his time to organisations that enable young people to develop their skills through theatre and music. His patronages in this area include the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain, The Orpheus Centre Trust, Creative Youth, Northern Ballet and the National Youth Orchestras of Scotland.
An important focus of His Royal Highness’s work as Patron of the Production Guild of Great Britain has been widening access to opportunities in the film and TV industry. In January 2023 he presented the inaugural ‘Earl of Wessex Award’ – a new prize recognising efforts to promote diversity in production and make the sector more inclusive.
Sport is another of The Duke’s keen interests and much of his work is dedicated to supporting a number of official sporting organisations. He is Patron of the British Paralympic Association, GB Snowsport, Badminton Scotland, The Tennis & Rackets Association, and President of the Sport & Recreation Alliance.
His Royal Highness is also Vice-Patron of the Commonwealth Games Federation, having attended every Commonwealth Games since Edinburgh hosted the event in 1986. The Duke made several visits to the West Midlands in 2022 ahead of the Games in Birmingham and spoke at the Closing Ceremony to formally bring the event to an end.
Heritage and conservation
Conserving historic spaces that bring communities together matters greatly to The Duke. He has supported a number of cathedral appeals over the years to help ensure that music can be enjoyed in these places of worship for generations to come. His Royal Highness is currently supporting projects to renew Newport Minister on the Isle of Wight, the refurbishment of the organs at Wells and Norwich Cathedrals, and The Wren Project – a scheme to restore the historic Sir Christopher Wren church of St James's in London.
The Duke also marked twenty years in 2023 as Patron of the Central Caribbean Marine Institute, a research centre leading work to preserve coral reefs and marine biodiversity.
The Armed Forces
The Duke of Edinburgh is proud to support the work of the Armed Forces both in the United Kingdom and overseas. He holds a total of eight military appointments and meets service personnel and their families whenever possible.
His Royal Highness is Royal Honorary Colonel of the Royal Wessex Yeomanry and The London Guards. In 2007, The Duke of Edinburgh became Royal Colonel of 2nd Battalion The Rifles following the reorganisation of the Infantry. He regularly visits the Battalion at their base in Northern Ireland and while on operational duties, including in Afghanistan with The Countess of Wessex in 2009 and most recently in Estonia.
In 2006, The Duke was appointed Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and in 2008, Honorary Air Commodore of Royal Air Force Waddington.
The Duke holds three military positions in Canada, as Colonel-in-Chief of the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment, the Prince Edward Island Regiment and the Saskatchewan Dragoons.
The Duke was born at Buckingham Palace on 10 March 1964, and later baptised Edward Antony Richard Louis. Until his marriage in 1999, he was known as Prince Edward.
Educated at Heatherdown Preparatory School in Berkshire, and Gordonstoun School in Scotland, Prince Edward took part in a range of school sports and outdoor pursuits, gaining a Gold Duke of Edinburgh's Award in 1986. With A-levels in History, English Literature and Economic and Political Studies, he went on to study History at Jesus College, Cambridge, graduating in 1986.
Prince Edward spent three years in the Royal Marines as a University Cadet. He left the armed forces after graduation to pursue a career in theatre production. This included a period working for Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Theatre Company.
His Royal Highness also developed a keen interest in television production, writing and narrating two films about The Duke of Edinburgh's Award, which were broadcast in 1987 by the BBC. In 1993, Prince Edward formed his own company, Ardent Productions.
In 2002, His Royal Highness announced that he would focus full-time on supporting The Queen during Her Majesty's Golden Jubilee year and beyond. This work has included playing a leading role in the development of The Duke of Edinburgh's Award, as a Trustee of the UK Award since 1988 and for the International Award since 2006. The Duke also supports a range of charities and patronages, spanning the arts, sport and the military.
Prince Edward met his future wife, Sophie Rhys-Jones, at a Real Tennis event in 1993. The couple announced their engagement in January 1999 and wed at St George's Chapel, Windsor, in June of the same year. On the day of the wedding, it was announced that The Queen had conferred upon Prince Edward the title The Earl of Wessex. Miss Rhys-Jones became known as Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex. In March 2019, The Queen granted the then Earl of Wessex the additional title of Earl of Forfar. Their Royal Highnesses used the title The Earl and Countess of Forfar when in Scotland.
On 10 March 2023 - His Royal Highness's 59th birthday - it was announced that The King had conferred the Dukedom of Edinburgh on his brother.
The Duke and Duchess have two children: Lady Louise, who was born on 8 November 2003, and James, Earl of Wessex (previously James, Viscount Severn), who was born on 17 December 2007. The family live at Bagshot Park in Berkshire.
Supporting the Monarch
The Duke of Edinburgh supports The King in his role as Head of State by representing His Majesty at events in the UK and abroad, as well as attending state and ceremonial occasions alongside other members of the Royal Family.
The Duke attends a number of important annual national occasions, such as Trooping the Colour and Remembrance Day at the Cenotaph in central London. He also greatly enjoys meeting guests at summer Garden Parties and Gold Award holders at DofE celebration events.
His Royal Highness frequently undertakes overseas tours and visits, both in support of The King and related to his own charitable initiatives. In Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee year, The Duke and Countess of Wessex visited Antigua and Barbuda, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Gibraltar and Cyprus on behalf of Her Late Majesty. In 2023, The Duke delivered messages on behalf of His Majesty The King during visits to the Cayman Islands, The Bahamas, and Turks & Caicos Islands with the Countess of Wessex.
Additionally, The Duke has on many occasions represented The Monarch at events of national and international significance, such as the 2021 General Synod, where The Duke delivered an address on behalf of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Charities and Patronages
1st Battalion London GuardsWebsite: www.army.mod.uk
Territorial ArmyRegion: UK (England)Members of the Royal Family:The Earl of Wessex, Colonel
2nd Battalion, The RiflesWebsite: www.army.mod.uk
Armed ForcesRegion: UK-wideMembers of the Royal Family:The Earl of Wessex, Royal Colonel
ADC TheatreWebsite: www.adctheatre.com
The main theatre space for the University of Cambridge and the venue for much of the student drama which is performed during University term-time. The ADC Theatre provides a space for learning and experimentation and also present shows by local drama groups and touring companies.Region: UK (England)Members of the Royal Family:The Earl of Wessex, Patron
National governing body for the sport of badminton in Scotland.Region: UK (Scotland)Members of the Royal Family:The Earl of Wessex, Patron
Bristol, Clifton and West of England Zoological Society LtdWebsite: www.bristolzoo.org.uk
To support wildlife conservation, research and education both nationally and internationally.Region: InternationalMembers of the Royal Family:The Earl of Wessex, Patron
Central Caribbean Marine InstituteWebsite: www.reefresearch.org
Centre undertaking marine research, education and outreach to sustain marine biodiversity.Region: Other Commonwealth CountryMembers of the Royal Family:The Earl of Wessex, Patron
Chetham's School of MusicWebsite: www.chethams.com
The largest specialist music school in the UK, based in Manchester, for students aged 8-18.Region: UK (England)Members of the Royal Family:The Earl of Wessex, Patron
Chilean British UniversityWebsite: platinumjubilee.royal.uk
Education & cultural organisation based in Santiago, Chile.Region: Rest of worldMembers of the Royal Family:The Earl of Wessex, Patron
City of Birmingham Symphony OrchestraWebsite: www.cbso.co.uk
Classical music ensembles made up of professional and amateur musicians.Region: UK (England)Members of the Royal Family:The Earl of Wessex, Patron
Classworks TheatreWebsite: www.classworks.org.uk
Professional touring theatre company which also runs youth theatre groups.Region: UK (England)Members of the Royal Family:The Earl of Wessex, Patron