IChemE pays tribute to Royal Patron Prince Philip

Article by Adam Duckett

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ICHEME has paid tribute to Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, and his time as Royal Patron of the Institution.

Prince Philip died on 9 April aged 99. Throughout his life he was a keen advocate for engineering and the environment. He became IChemE’s first Royal Patron in 1957, on the granting of the Institution’s Royal Charter.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4 in 2015, Prince Philip said that “in an increasingly crowded world, engineering is the only thing that can maintain the balance between nature and human ambition”.

During his speech at IChemE’s 75th anniversary dinner in 1997, he hailed the growing importance of chemical engineering. He recognised the success of IChemE’s increased membership and the “immensely important” role of institutions and their members in setting standards and maintaining the reputation of their professions.

He also drew attention to the pressure on natural resources owing to population growth and rising living standards. He suggested IChemE should shoulder two additional responsibilities to help with sustainable development. The first being to monitor and assess the impact of the activities of chemical engineering on the health and wellbeing of the planet as a whole; and the second, to try and see into the future to prevent further mistakes being made.

Over the years, he celebrated milestones of the Institution and supported its work to share knowledge to help improve process safety in industry. This includes sending a message on the opening of IChemE’s Major Loss Prevention in the Process Industries symposium in 1971, and attending the Annual Dinner in 1972 to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the Institution.

To mark the Institution’s Diamond Jubilee in 1982, as well as the 25th anniversary of IChemE’s Royal Charter, Prince Philip was presented with the first in a set of limited editions of a jubilee plate and goblet commissioned by the Institution, presented in a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace in December 1982 by IChemE’s (then) President Tony Lee.

IChemE President Stephen Richardson said: “We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. His Royal Highness promoted the importance of engineering throughout his life and was a Patron of our Institution for more than 63 years.

“I have written to Her Majesty The Queen to offer my personal condolences and those of IChemE members. Our thoughts are with the Royal Family at this time.”

Tributes have been paid to Prince Philip from across engineering. He was closely connected with engineering in his early career as a naval officer during and after World War II. He went on to found the predecessor to the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng), which renamed its headquarters in London in honour of Prince Philip in 2012.

Sir Jim McDonald, President of the RAEng, said: “As our Senior Fellow, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh has worked tirelessly to support the Academy right from its inception in 1976 as the Fellowship of Engineering.

“We will always be indebted to Prince Philip for his active interest in engineering and technology. His genuine enjoyment and passion for engineering were evident in his many visits to the Academy and his typically challenging discussions with the engineers he met. He has been a staunch supporter of UK industry and presented the Academy’s highest award for UK engineering, the MacRobert Award, almost every year since it began in 1969.

Article by Adam Duckett

Editor, The Chemical Engineer

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