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Celebrating the life of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, KG, KT

An inspirational and committed champion of young people worldwide


It is with great sadness that The Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award acknowledges the death of our Founder HRH The Duke of Edinburgh KG, KT.

Sixty-five years ago, His Royal Highness established The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in the UK. Since then, it has been delivered in more than 130 countries and territories, equipping and empowering millions of young people to build the skills, confidence and resilience they need to support their communities and be ready for the world. 

Karen Ross, National Director of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award (The Award) in Aotearoa New Zealand, pays tribute to His Royal Highness.

‘The Award in Aotearoa is deeply saddened by the passing of Prince Philip. We remember his vision in creating the world’s leading youth achievement Award and the immense contribution he made' says Ross. ‘Founded by Prince Philip in 1956, The Award was established in Aotearoa in 1963 and it was the highlight of many Gold Award holders here to receive their Award from Prince Philip himself while on royal visits to New Zealand’.

 John May, Secretary General of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation says:

‘The International Award family mourns the loss of our inspirational Founder. Prince Philip’s belief in the infinite potential of young people, coupled with his championing of non-formal education and learning, positioned him as a leader and thinker of truly global stature.

 Through the personal leadership and involvement of Prince Philip, the Award that bears his name has transformed the lives of millions of young people since it started in 1956 and has impacted countless more in local communities.   As young people face exceptional challenge and change in the wake of the current pandemic, this “do-it-yourself growing-up kit”, as he described it, is even more relevant today than ever.

His Royal Highness’s passion for, and commitment to, the work of the Award and the development of young people continued until the last. His determination, energy and enthusiasm will be greatly missed.’

From its founding, The Duke has been committed to ensuring the Award is accessible to young people of all backgrounds. Around the world, the Award has provided opportunities to at risk and marginalised young individuals. In Aotearoa, we are proud to deliver the Award to young people from all backgrounds including refugees, teen parents and young people serving time in prison.

Every year, more than a million young people participate in the Award worldwide, supported by around 200,000 volunteers.  In Aotearoa, there are around 8,000 registrations every year, with around 20,000 young people engaged at any one time. 

May continues:

‘As we mark the extraordinary life of The Duke of Edinburgh, we are resolutely committed to ensuring His Royal Highness’s vision for the Award continues to grow and reach even more young people worldwide in the years to come, under the Chairmanship of HRH The Earl of Wessex.’ 

If you would like to share a message of condolence, or a memory of the Award and what it means to you, please share them here.  We will collect these tributes to send an official letter of condolence from the  Award family in Aotearoa New Zealand to HM The Queen, HRH The Earl of Wessex, and the rest of the family.  


For more information, please contact:

Karen Ross, National Director

Tel: 027 645 6696

[email protected]

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