05:34PM, Tuesday 13 April 2021
Prince Philip Trust Fund trustees at Windsor Guildhall in 2017. The Duke (middle) is pictured with Ross Wilson to his left and son, Prince Edward to his right, who is now the chairman
Prince Philip had an infectious sense of humour and took an ‘immense interest’ in a trust fund he helped to found, its treasurer and trustee has said.
Ross Wilson got to know the Duke well through the Prince Philip Trust Fund, a grant-giving charity set up in 1977 to support good causes across the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.
Over the past 44 years, the fund has given out more than £2million to organisations in the borough.
Mr Wilson praised the Duke as an ‘incredible’ chairman prepared to ‘embrace change’, adding that he was keen for Prince Philip’s legacy to live on following his death on Friday, aged 99.
“He was very knowledgeable about lots of things, but particularly about the local community which he cared for so much,” Mr Wilson said.
“After the [trustee] meetings, we had dinner, and that was my opportunity to see him in a less formal atmosphere where he was able to share with us some of his experiences and travels around the world.
“He was an outstanding storyteller – there was very little he could not tell you a story about. He had us in fits of laughter.
“I feel very honoured to have got to know a little bit about the person himself.”
Mr Wilson added that the Duke was a ‘great leader’ who was ‘completely up to speed with the things that were really important to a charity’.
The fund helps support projects and people across the Royal Borough including those covering social need, physical and mental health, and the arts.
“He was actively aware that the borough did have social needs and he wanted to be seen to be doing whatever he could to help,” he said.
“Even up to his death, he was always kept informed. The local community was very important to him.
“Because he was such a hands on chairman, he came really prepared, and he expected us to be.
“It is wonderful to know that his legacy will continue for many generations to come.”
Mr Wilson said that the Duke’s presence will be sorely missed across Windsor and Maidenhead, where he was often seen at various fundraising events.
Tributes have been flooding in from across Windsor and Maidenhead following the news of Prince Philip's passing last week.
“The fact that he had the foresight and vision to ensure that the charity, and all the other charities, continue long after he had gone, is something that will stand the test of time. He was prepared to embrace change, not fear it.” Mr Wilson added.
Along with his many responsibilities in life, Mr Wilson said that Prince Philip was, at heart, a family man.
“At a time like now, where families have become so important to each of us, to see the pictures of Prince Philip with his great grandchildren, grandchildren, children – he was a family man ultimately,” he said. “He was a very special person.”
Prince Philip's funeral will be taking place in Windsor on Saturday. Read more here.
To make a donation to the charity in the Duke’s memory, click here.
A new Christmas light trail will open up at Windsor Great Park in November run by the same events company behind Hyde Park Winter Wonderland.