Audio recordings of island elders who remember the visit by HRH Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh to Tristan da Cunha on 17th January 1957.

Remembering the Visit by HRH Prince Philip in 1957

Interviews recorded by Randal Repetto

The Duke of Edinburgh's visit to Tristan da Cunha on 17th January 1957 was the single most important social event in the island's history, and ever since then he showed a constant interest in the island and made a special contribution as a royal and loyal friend.

Here some of the islanders record their memories of the visit, and you can hear from the recordings that impact that the visit had on them. They recall his informality and his easy way of talking to people, as well as the efforts that the island went to in order to make HRH feel welcome. You will hear that the visit still holds a place in the hearts and memories of those who witnessed it.

The arch erected at the settlement to welcome HRH Prince Philip

Trina Repetto [mp3 - 3m 22s]

Ches Lavarello [mp3 - 1m 32s]

Eric Glass [mp3 - 1m 06s]

Harold Green [mp3 - 1m 46s]

Gladys Lavarello [mp3 - 3m 18s]

HRH Prince Philip arrived on HM Royal Yacht Britannia during a long journey back from the 1956 Olympic Games held in Melbourne, to visit a thriving Tristan community which had been planning for this great day for many months. Despite recent wet weather the village was spruced up in his honour, houses were painted, welcome archways erected, and a full programme organised.

Prince Philip arrives in a longboat The Prince greeted on the beach
Prince Philip arrives in the island longboat Lorna and is greeted on the beach

Five newly painted Tristan longboats put out to sea to welcome HM Yacht Britannia and Prince Philip to the island. The Duke of Edinburgh took the tiller of the leading boat to arrive at the beach, and here was a welcome from islanders in their Sunday best, women and girls gathered in bright printed dresses and headscarves on the plateau above whilst, on the beach below, the men in dark suits and ties were ready to haul the boats ashore. Cheers greeted His Royal Highness as he came ashore for a day which included visits to the Big Beach fishing factory and island homes to view knitwear being made and a display of local handicrafts. The Duke's cheery interest and informality at once put everyone at ease, chatting to people, sitting in a kitchen to remove a stone from his shoe, finding out about domestic life and receiving a warm welcome, including participating in the Tristanian pillow dance.

The Prince with scouts and guides at site for the new hall The Prince with scouts and guides at site for the new hall
With scouts and guides at the laying of the foundation stone for Prince Philip Hall

Memorial Service

Altar at St Mary's Church decorated for HRH Prince Philip's memorial service

A Memorial Service in memoary of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was held on Sunday 25th April 2021 in St Mary's Church, held jointly by Ministers of St Mary's and St Joseph's. (Photo: Fiona Kilpatrick)