Message of condolence from Professor Sir Brian Smith

Message of condolence from Professor Sir Brian Smith, Former Master of St Catherine's College

St Catherine's will remember Prince Philip, the Visitor of the College, as a man of outstanding energy and intellectual curiosity who had a special gift of putting people at ease with wit and humour. He paid a number of visits to the College since the first occasion when, with Her Majesty the Queen, he attended the laying of the foundation stone of the new buildings. The visit that Regina and I remember with most affection occurred in 1990. The College was phoned by the Palace to say that the Prince wished to drop by the Lodgings one afternoon for a couple of hours. He arrived driving his Land Rover with just a security officer accompanying him. He said how pleased he was not to be on an official visit where he would be surrounded by all-enveloping security. He settled in the lodgings for tea with Regina and me and talked about many things including his recent tour of New Zealand.

When we had learned of this informal visit, rather imprudently we asked him if he would be able to present commemorative scrolls to some of our leading benefactors. Very generously he agreed. Two of the recipients flew from the United States and Hong Kong to shake hands with the Prince and receive their scrolls. It was a delightful occasion during which we were able to admire his enthusiasm and generosity of spirit. He leaves a remarkable legacy.