HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh: 1921-2021

12th April 2021

The Cambridge Conservation Initiative is deeply saddened by the death of His Royal Highness, the Duke of Edinburgh. As well as his strong link to the University of Cambridge, serving as Chancellor for 35 years, Prince Philip had a lifelong commitment to nature and conservation. He worked with many conservation groups around the world including CCI partners, serving as patron to the British Trust for Ornithology, and Vice President and later Patron of IUCN.

Dame Alison Richard, Chair of the CCI Advisory Board and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge from 2003 to 2010, paid tribute to Prince Philip, acknowledging his deep interest in, and knowledge about, nature and its conservation: “Prince Philip took a keen interest in the development of the David Attenborough Building, and launched the plans for the Building alongside the then Vice-Chancellor of the University Sir Leszek Borysiewicz and Sir David Attenborough at an event in 2013”.

Dr Mike Rands, founding Executive Director of CCI and Master of Darwin College had the privilege of meeting HRH Duke of Edinburgh “while carrying out my doctoral field work on the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk. He took great personal interest in such ecological research and was a champion of implications for managing farmland for wildlife as well as food production. He was a forceful advocate for the creation of the Cambridge Conservation Initiative and a very cherished and encouraging guest at the launch of the plans for the David Attenborough Building as the ‘home’ of CCI. His pioneering contribution to international conservation was truly magnificent.”

His Royal Highness joined guests including Sir David Attenborough and Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, then the Vice-Chancellor, at the launch of plans for the David Attenborough Building in 2013. 

Dr Mike Maunder, Executive Director of CCI said: “His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh had a lifelong commitment to conservation. Discussions he kindled at the start of the conservation movement are having profound impacts today as we recognise the fate of humanity and nature are fully intertwined. The University of Cambridge created the Prince Philip Professorship of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in 2007, to mark the 30th anniversary of his Chancellorship. The current recipient, Professor Eske Willerslev, is based in the David Attenborough Building. On behalf of the Duke’s many friends in conservation around the world CCI extends sincere condolences to Her Majesty the Queen and the Royal Family.”


Main image: The Duke of Edinburgh with then CCI Executive Director Dr Mike Rands and Dr Lisbet Rausing at the launch of plans for the David Attenborough Building. All images credit: Phil Mynott