Gordonstoun will 'sorely miss' the fun Duke who loved and supported the school

Gordonstoun School has remembered the Duke of Edinburgh as an “immensely strong character with a unique sense of fun” who would be sorely missed.

Prince Philip maintains a boat with fellow pupils at Hopeman Harbour as part of his sailing education at Gordonstoun. PIC: Gordonstoun School
Prince Philip maintains a boat with fellow pupils at Hopeman Harbour as part of his sailing education at Gordonstoun. PIC: Gordonstoun School

The Duke, who died yesterday aged 99, joined Gordonstoun in Moray in September 1934 when he was aged 13.

He returned frequently to the school, where he sent three of his children, which mixes academic study with outdoor education in the often merciless climate of the north.

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Most recently, the Duke appeared in 2014 on a private visit when he insited on joining the lunch queue with pupils instead of being served at a table.

Prince Philip (left) gets ready for a school performance of Macbeth. PIC: Gordonstoun School.

Lisa Kerr, Principal of Gordonstoun, said the school community sent its “sincerest condolences” to The Queen and the Royal family following the Duke’s death.

Ms Kerr said: “Students and staff at Gordonstoun remember HRH The Duke of Edinburgh as someone who made students feel at

ease in his presence and who shared their love of Gordonstoun.

"He had an immensely strong character, combined with a unique sense of fun, infectious optimism and strong sense of duty.

Prince Philip was one of the first pupils to attend Gordonstoun, which was set up by a Jewish exile from Nazi Germany who wanted to mix academic education with outdoor learning. PIC: Gordonstoun.

“More than anything, he understood and was hugely supportive of Gordonstoun’s educational ethos, of not only fulfilling academic potential but also of developing life skills through experiences outside the classroom including sailing and community service. We are

immensely grateful for his support over the years and his presence and support in the school’s life will be sorely missed.”

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The school was established by Dr Kurt Hahn, a Jewish exile who fled Nazi Germany, who pioneered ‘character education’ which combines academic studies with outdoor activities, sailing, athletics and community service. His vision was to develop world citizensequipped to contribute to society.

The school said the Duke was “very happy” at Gordonstoun and was “deeply influenced” by his time at the school.

The Duke was a member of the ‘Watchers’, one of the school’s community services that was a precusor to Gordonstoun’s Coastguard service.

He also developed his love of sailing at the school with a life-long connection to the sea to follow.

The Duke captained the cricket and hockey team and became guardian, or head boy, in his final year. During this time, he also completed the Moray Badge, which encouraged young people to pursue physical activities, outdoor pursuits and service to the community.

The badge became the inspiration for The Duke of Edinburgh Award, which is now pursued in more than 140 countries.

The Duke sent three of his children, Prince Charles, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, to the school.

Princess Anne’s two children, Peter and Zara Phillips also attended.

In more recent times, the Duke gave his name to The Prince Philip Gordonstoun Foundation, an endowment fund which enables children from all backgrounds to access the school, where around 30 per cent of pupils receive financial support.

The school has now set up a tribute page to honour the Duke with pupils, staff and parents – past and present – invited to leave a message of condolence or share a picture.

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