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24 HRH The Duke


of Edinburgh When HRH The Duke of Edinburgh died last month the media spotlight was on Dartmouth’s BRNC. Kate Cotton talks to Dr Jane Harrold on those days after the Duke’s death.


B


ritannia Royal Naval College was a hive of media activity following the royal


announcement, culminating in Boris Johnson gate-crashing the passing-out parade. Everyone wanted details of The Duke’s naval career and relationship with The Queen, both of which famously began in Dartmouth.


Dr Jane Harrold, Curator of BRNC’s Museum, said:


“We’ve been preparing for the Duke’s death for 20 years but the media interest in the College went far beyond what we’d imagined. The interest in his naval career and significance of him meeting the Queen here was unprecedented. “We did interviews with the BBC, Sky, ITV, Associated


Press, Forces TV, MOD and local outlets. There were some very late-night emails! We spoke to lots of documentary makers and saw reports of the College on US media. Things quietened down after the passing-out parade but haven’t totally gone away.” Jane said the peak of interest was during Navy Day, on the third day of national mourning.


“The First Sea Lord was with us, showing the


significance of the College to the whole story. We had tons of national press here, witnessing our formal mourning and commemoration. “When we’d finished our official day of mourning


there was a sense of ‘that’s it now, all gone, the end of an era’ – the end of talking about the Duke of Edinburgh in the present tense. It really hit me. “The following day I was teaching some new cadets.


I always tell new cadets about the book I wrote for the College’s centenary, with a foreword by HRH. It was the first time I’d said the ‘late’ Duke of Edinburgh, and I had a huge lump in my throat. I had to calm myself down with 50 students sat in front of me. It felt so strange to know he’s not there anymore.” The College’s last visitor before peace descended for the end-of-term break was a frenetic Boris Johnson, during the passing-out parade six days after the Duke’s death. The Prime Minister arrived in his trademark dishevelled manner, halfway through proceedings. Jane laughed: “I had a sense something was going


to happen as the press stayed around during the week. Halfway through the ceremony a helicopter flew in then Boris appeared and gate-crashed our passing-out parade.


Images of the Duke on visits to Dartmouth courtesy of Dartmouth Museum and Western Morning News


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