A statement regarding HRH Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh.
We are deeply saddened by the death of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, whose close association with the Academy spanned over 60 years.
HRH The Duke of Edinburgh became the organisation's first president in 1959, one year after the British Film Academy and the Guild of Television Producers and Directors merged to create the Society of Film and Television Arts, a forerunner of BAFTA. The Duke represented the Society until 1965 and presented awards at ceremonies during this period.
In 1972, The Duke of Edinburgh and Her Majesty The Queen generously gave their share of the profits from the film Royal Family to the SFTA ‘as a donation towards a new headquarters for the Society’. The original idea to have a headquarters was conceived in early 1970 by Richard Cawston, a producer of Royal Family.
The official opening of the new headquarters at 195 Piccadilly, in March 1976, was attended by The Queen, The Duke, Earl Mountbatten of Burma, who succeeded The Duke as President in 1966 and HRH Princess Anne, who was President at the time. On the occasion of the official opening, the Society of Film and Television Arts was renamed the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. 195 Piccadilly, four decades on, remains BAFTA’s iconic London home and is at the heart of the Academy’s charitable activity.
The Duke was an important figure in one of the most ambitious overseas initiatives the Academy has ever undertaken, when in 1990, the Library of Congress in Washington invited BAFTA to organise a joint Festival of British Film and Television. In 1991, BAFTA delivered a major British cultural programme for the first state visit to Washington by The Queen and The Duke since 1976. The Duke supported numerous events within the festival, including the Great British Picture Show at which over 100 feature films were screened within a week. He also played a significant role in the public-facing side of the festival, attending educational programmes for Washington school children and deaf students.
In 1996, when the Academy celebrated its 50th anniversary with a special event at 195 Piccadilly, The Duke and The Queen attended in recognition of this milestone in the organisation’s history.
The Duke was present in April 2013 on the occasion of a reception for the British film industry hosted by The Queen at Windsor Castle, when an honorary BAFTA Special Award was presented to The Queen by Sir Kenneth Branagh, in recognition of her outstanding patronage of the film and television industries.
The Duke occupies a special place in the Academy’s history and will be missed enormously.
Our thoughts are with the Royal Family, to whom we offer our deepest sympathy.
Amanda Berry OBE
Explore BAFTA's connections with the Royal Family
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) is a world-leading independent arts charity that brings the very best work in film, games and television to public attention and supports the growth of creative talent in the UK and internationally. Through its Awards ceremonies and year-round programme of learning events and initiatives – which includes workshops, masterclasses, scholarships, lectures and mentoring schemes in the UK, USA and Asia – BAFTA identifies and celebrates excellence, discovers, inspires and nurtures new talent, and enables learning and creative collaboration. For advice and inspiration from the best creative minds in working in film, games and television, visit www.bafta.org/guru. For more, visit www.bafta.org.