Remembering our Patron: His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
News has been released of the death of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Patron of Shakespeare’s Globe for over 40 years
Today, Friday 9 April, we are deeply saddened to learn of the news that His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh has passed away.
Prince Philip served as our Royal Patron for over 40 years. His friendship with our founder Sam Wanamaker was integral to building the Globe Theatre, and later, opening the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. His Royal Highness was, in the early 1990s, a patron of the founding US charity for the Globe, and his support ensured North American donors made Sam’s dream of a Globe Theatre into a reality.
“Prince Philip’s friendship with our founder Sam Wanamaker was integral to building the Globe Theatre and later, opening the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. Royal Patronage is an honour and connects us to our Shakespearean history with the theatrical companies of the Elizabethan and Jacobean Courts. The Globe is deeply grateful for The Duke of Edinburgh’s integral support for us since our very beginning all those decades ago. He will be much missed”
— Neil Constable, CEO Shakespeare’s Globe
His Royal Highness has always taken a huge interest in the craftsmanship of our beautiful theatres, particularly in the traditional materials and methods used. He very generously donated oaks from Great Windsor park for the construction of the Globe Theatre, with additional timber given by the Forestry Commission from the New Forest and the Forest of Dean.
In 1987, Prince Philip presided over our ground-breaking ceremony for the Globe Theatre, driving the first oak foundation post, with construction beginning in earnest in 1989.
In 1989, Prince Philip presented Sam with the Benjamin Franklin Medal, awarded to those who have made a significant contribution to global affairs through collaboration between the United Kingdom and the United States.
In the early days, Sam Wanamaker faced enormous challenges to get the Globe built, and Prince Philip’s support for us at that time was integral to finishing building the theatre and opening in 1997 (just four years after Sam sadly died).
On 12 June 1997, His Royal Highness joined Her Majesty The Queen for the official opening of the Globe Theatre, for a special performance Triumphes and Mirth.
“His Royal Highness Prince Philip was a devoted champion and friend to Sam Wanamaker in his campaign to rebuild Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. I suspect his loyal support helped Sam, and all the early supporters of the Globe, to raise essential funds and keep faith during the hard times. I remember his enthusiasm very well when we opened in 1997. Shakespeare’s Globe has lost a friend”
— Mark Rylance, founding Artistic Director, Shakespeare’s Globe
Prince Philip remained greatly interested in all of our activities at the Globe. As well as greeting our 700-strong group of Volunteers and hosting receptions for our wonderful Patrons & Supporters, His Royal Highness also attended openings for our Education Rehearsal Centre in 2010 and our indoor Jacobean theatre, the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, which had its first theatre season in 2014.
The opening of our Sam Wanamaker Playhouse on 19 November 2013, saw Prince Philip join our Honorary President Zoë Wanamaker, to unveil a plaque to commemorate the occasion, whilst also lighting the final beeswax candle.
Most recently, in 2016, Prince Philip joined us to attend a special service, A Celebration of Shakespeare in Southwark, at Southwark Cathedral to commemorate the quatercentenary of Shakespeare’s death, as part of the wider Shakespeare400 celebrations.
Royal Patronage is an honour and connects us to our Shakespearean history with the theatrical companies of the Elizabethan and Jacobean Courts. We are deeply grateful for His Royal Highness Prince Philip’s integral support for us since our very beginning. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Her Majesty The Queen and the Royal Family. He will be much missed.