02 September 2021

RNLI lifeboat named after Philip will save lives close to Sandringham

02 September 2021

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is naming a new lifeboat in honour of the Duke of Edinburgh.

The state-of-the-art Shannon class “Duke of Edinburgh” boat (ON1346) will go into service in late 2022 at Wells-next-the-Sea, just a short distance from Sandringham, the Queen’s private estate in Norfolk where Philip spent much of his retirement.

Philip, who died in April two months before his 100th birthday, gave up a successful naval career to devote his life to royal duties, but was known for his long-standing commitment to maritime services and his love of the sea.

The Duke of Edinburgh was Commander of the frigate HMS Magpie (PA) (PA Wire)

The duke was told before his death of the plans, which were due to be unveiled to celebrate his centenary.

He was said to have been “pleased” at the decision.

The naming pays tribute to both his dedication to maritime services and his lifetime support of the Queen, the RNLI said.

Chief executive Mark Dowie said: “It’s a great honour, not just for Wells Lifeboat Station but for the RNLI as a whole.

A Shannon class lifeboat (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Archive)

“We had hoped to mark the Duke of Edinburgh’s long service and support for the maritime sector by naming a lifeboat in his honour in his 100th year.

“We heard that the duke was pleased to learn of the plans to name a lifeboat after him and that it was going to be serving a community so close to Sandringham.

“Very sadly the duke passed away before His Royal Highness could see it happen, but we are delighted to pay tribute to his legacy in this way today.”

The announcement was made 71 years to the day that Philip took charge of HMS Magpie in 1950 – his very first sea-going command in the Navy.

The Prince of Wales attaching the Magpie plaque on a visit to the Lifeboat Centre in Poole (RNLI/PA)

Earlier this summer, the Prince of Wales attached a tiny engraved magpie insignia plate to the new lifeboat which is being built at the RNLI’s All-weather Lifeboat Centre, in Poole, Dorset.

Chris Hardy, Wells Lifeboat operations manager, said: “Wells Lifeboat Station is immensely proud and honoured to have its new Shannon class lifeboat named Duke of Edinburgh.

“We are in no doubt that our new lifeboat will continue the vital work of saving lives at sea, which we know His Royal Highness was so passionate about throughout his lifelong maritime association.”

The magpie plate on the new lifeboat (RNLI/PA)

The new lifeboat is the 53rd funded by civil servant donations to The Lifeboat Fund as part of the Civil Service charity’s 150th anniversary appeal.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has faced calls from campaigners and Tory MPs to name a new national flagship, the successor to the Royal Yacht Britannia, after the duke.

But the vessel is proving controversial, with the cost set to be as much as £250 million, and former chancellor Ken Clarke branding it a “complete waste of time” and “silly populist nonsense”.

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