Tristan da Cunha stamps honour Prince Philip


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23 September 2021
A new set of stamps from Tristan da Cunha recall what has been described as ‘the single most important social event in the island’s history’, when the Duke of Edinburgh visited the island in 1957.

Each of the new stamps, with values of 45p, 80p, £1.05, and £2.30, features a portrait photograph of Prince Philip, charting his life, but for many islanders it is his visit in 1957 that is most memorable, with a series of special events taking place.

The Chief Islander of Tristan da Cunha, Councillor James Glass, said:

‘Prince Philip visited Tristan da Cunha in 1957. He steered the boat that brought him ashore, and islanders still recall the energy and generosity with which he engaged in activities in our village. He showed interest in our crafts and took part in a traditional dance. He unveiled the plaque that named our community centre the Prince Philip Hall. His Royal Highness took a continuing interest in Tristan, which is the remotest settlement on earth. From across the miles, we send our deepest condolences to Her Majesty.’

HRH arrived on HM Royal Yacht Britannia during a long journey back from the 1956 Olympic Games that he had opened in Melbourne. He visited 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 arch ways erected, and a full programme organised.

Five newly painted Tristan longboats put out to sea to welcome HM Yacht Britannia and Prince Philip to the island. As can be seen on the First Day Cover for the set, HRH took the tiller of the leading boat to arrive at the beach where he was welcomed by 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. 

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Issue date: 23 September 2021

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