Prince Philip: Celebrating a Life of Service

Prince Philip: Celebrating a Life of Service

A Record of Achievement

After 78 years of dedicated service, The Duke of Edinburgh is stepping back from official duties. His achievements can be measured in numbers but also felt in the words of those whose lives have been changed through his efforts. As Prince Philip moves into a well-deserved retirement, The Royal Mint celebrates his remarkable contribution to life in the UK and worldwide.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award has been an inspiration to millions of young people around the world. Introduced in 1956, the Award was designed by Prince Philip with educationalist Kurt Hahn and Everest expedition leader Lord Hunt, to help young people gain skills and push themselves to achieve more.

“…young people of every generation have to discover for themselves what life is all about.”

Prince Philip speaking about the Duke of Edinburgh Award in 2010


Through the Award young people from 14–24 years are set a series of personal challenges. By tackling the challenges they gain confidence, learn to work in teams and develop skills that are vital in work and life.

Recognised as the most successful youth achievement award in the world, the Award’s impact has been far-reaching. As well as helping young people develop as individuals and find work, it has helped charities find volunteers and businesses to select people that are eager to succeed.

In 2016 over 130,000 people gained the Duke of Edinburgh Award in the United Kingdom and over 11,000 achieved Gold. Rebecca Roper received her Gold Award in 2011 and found, like many others, that it opened up new opportunities:

“I started the Bronze Award aged 15, completed Silver at 16 and got my Gold Award at 19. I was given the certificate at Kensington Palace after meeting Prince Philip. He made an effort to talk to all of us in the group, asking about our favourite parts of the award.

I enjoyed the camping and walking expeditions, as this was not something I grew up doing with my family. The Duke of Edinburgh Award gave me the opportunity to be adventurous and explore these outdoor activities. I now regularly walk up mountains and peaks in the UK, knowing the views from the top are worth the physical strain in getting up there.

As part of the Award I volunteered as a netball coach for local schoolchildren. This gave me confidence in my abilities whilst also knowing I was helping girls develop a love for the sport.

Achieving the Gold Award helped me develop confidently as an individual, knowing I could tackle almost anything.”

Rebecca Roper
Gold Award 2011

Royal Appointment: President of The Royal Mint Advisory Committee 1952–1999

The Duke of Edinburgh’s record of service includes a long association with The Royal Mint. He served as President of The Royal Mint Advisory Committee (RMAC) for 47 years, between 1952 and 1999. Every United Kingdom coin and medal struck by The Royal Mint over this time, including his portrait at the centre of the new £5 coin design, was assessed and approved by the committee he chaired.

“We were, indeed, very lucky to have his services, given the important matters that came before the Committee during his time as President. At the start he was actively involved in the preparation of the full range of coins, medals and seals required for The Queen’s reign, even going to the trouble of visiting the winning portrait sculptor Mary Gillick in her studio.

This was followed in the 1960s by the time-consuming development of designs for the new decimal coinage. Subsequent years saw a succession of commemorative coins, of new circulating coins like the £1 and 20 pence, and changing portraits of The Queen, where we had the benefit of knowing that as the portraits took shape Prince Philip was aware of the views of The Queen. Medals remained a special interest and I think he particularly enjoyed seeing the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross work its way through the Committee.”

Graham Dyer OBE, Secretary of The Royal Mint Advisory Committee 1976–2003

A Splendid Design by a Master of Coin Design

The new coin design features a portrait of The Duke of Edinburgh by highly respected designer Thomas ‘Humphrey’ Paget (1893–1974). Today, Paget is recognised as one of the finest and most prolific coin designers of the twentieth century.

Paget first came to the attention of The Royal Mint in 1923, gaining his first commission for the Bristol Royal Infirmary medal a year later. By the mid-1930s he had become established as one of The Royal Mint’s panel of artists, creating a fine portrait of the Prince of Wales, who became Edward VIII. After the latter abdicated, Paget was tasked with producing the effigy for the coins of the newly crowned George VI. In just over a month he produced what was described as the classic coinage head of the twentieth century.

The portrait of The Duke of Edinburgh was one of his last significant commissions and one Paget worked diligently on to achieve a true likeness. The commission was to create a portrait that could be used on official medals. When it was revealed to Prince Philip, he is said to have described it as splendid.

The portrait was first used in 1970 for the medals awarded at the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh. It has featured on numerous medals since, The Royal Mint first struck a medal featuring the design for The Whitbread Around the World Yacht Race in 1974.

Discover the range

This is the first coin to feature the Paget portrait, the coin design has been worked on by Royal Mint coin designer Lee R. Jones to include a new table inscription. It reads ‘NON SIBI SED PATRIAE’ in Latin, which means, ‘Not for himself but for his country’. The obverse design by Jody Clark is the fifth coinage portrait of The Queen, and the only one that was not approved during Prince Philip’s time as President of the RMAC.

The £5 coin has been approved by The Duke of Edinburgh. The first coin was struck by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales at The Royal Mint on 11 July 2017.