Pangbourne College reflects on its long association with HRH Prince Philip

Pangbourne College had a long association with His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and was privileged to be visited by him on four occasions, at significant points in the school’s history, in 1953, 1967, 2007 and 2017.

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14th April 2021 — In tribute to His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Pangbourne College's ensign has been flown at half-mast and will remain lowered until 18th April.

The Headmaster, Thomas Garnier, wrote to The Queen on behalf of the College community to express their deepest condolences to her and the Royal Family on their loss.

"In his life, Prince Philip was an inspiration," said the Headmaster, "a man of strong character and action whose energies were directed to serving others, whether through his many areas of interest or, most significantly, through his love for, commitment to and support of his wife and our Queen."

"In this, his contribution to the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth may only be fully appreciated in years to come."

Pangbourne College was privileged to be visited four times by the Duke at significant points in the school’s history.

In July 1953, shortly after The Queen’s coronation, he came for the College's Founders' Day and opened Macquarie, the first of two new boys' boarding houses.

In 1967, accompanying The Queen, he visited the school as part of their 50th anniversary celebrations.

The day included a full tour of the school and an opportunity to watch the sailing of his boat, Te Kotuku, on loan to the College down at the Boat Club on the Pangbourne stretch of the River Thames.

In 2007, more than 10 years after the school had become co-educational, he accompanied The Queen for the Service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving in the Falkland Islands Memorial Chapel on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the end of the Falklands War.

This was a national event which allowed pupils to witness the significance of the school’s chapel in the nation’s life, as well as to meet The Queen and The Duke on their walkabout after the service.

He returned to the school in May 2017, with The Queen, as part of the College's centenary year celebrations.

On this occasion there was a special Thanksgiving Service, walkabout, lunch in the Old Library, and then a short parade and presentation of The Queen’s Gold Medals, all of which he seemed to enjoy greatly.

This visit was made more special because it was one of his final Royal engagements before he retired from public life in August of that year.

Thomas Garnier said: "We will remember him with gratitude as a man who was deeply motivated to help young people flourish.

"He was a role model for our pupils in that he embodied our ethos which aims to fulfil their potential by equipping them with confidence, values and skills for the future, so that they can influence the world for good."

He continued: "The school has always embraced adventurous training during its history.

"Since 2003, through the adoption of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme, his essential contribution to the development of every Pangbournian has been felt and will continue to do so in the future."

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About Pangbourne College

Pangbourne is a vibrant boarding and day school community, perfectly balancing strong Service values with a dynamic, modern outlook and ‘real world’, unpretentious, inclusive attitude. Pangbourne offers a robust and rewarding academic and creative curriculum, exceptional pastoral care and a huge range of opportunities and challenges beyond the classroom. This combination provides girls and boys aged 11– 18, with the individual attention, resources, space, self-esteem and ability to exploit fully their natural potential, benefiting both themselves and others, in a friendly, relaxed campus environment. 

The College, set in 230 acres of West Berkshire countryside in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, offers a wide range of academic, sporting, musical, dramatic and artistic opportunities to all pupils.


“The personal development of Pangbourne’s students is outstanding, meeting the College’s aim to develop the character of all students. This is supported by an excellent, broad curriculum which enables students to progress academically and supports the development of the whole individual.”

ISI Inspection Report


“A distinctive school that puts huge emphasis on self-discipline, teamwork and leadership. Caring and supportive, Pangbourne buzzes with activity and encourages every pupil to have a go and get involved.”

Good Schools Guide


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