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Prince Philip championed GPS as Master of Trinity House

April 15, 2021  - By
The official portrait of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh as Master of Trinity House. (Image: Trinity House)

The official portrait of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh as Master of Trinity House. (Image: Trinity House)

Prince Philip, technology advocate, championed both GPS and alternative navigation methods during his lifetime.

Prince Philip — the Duke of Edinburgh and husband of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom — died on April 9 at Windsor Castle in England. He was 99. His funeral will take place April 17.

As the Master of Trinity House, Prince Philip was the U.K.’s authority for lighthouses in England, Wales, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar. Trinity House is also responsible for the provision and maintenance of other navigational aids, such as light vessels, buoys and maritime radio/satellite communication systems.

In its extensive coverage of his death, the BBC aired a radio program in its World Service that mentioned the prince’s knowledge and concern about GPS. “As Master of Trinity House, he was infuriated that people didn’t understand what would happen if GPS were shut down,” said the narrator.

Real Admiral Sir Jeremy de Halpert was Prince Philip’s deputy master at Trinity House. “ Prince Philip from the very beginning understood that it was a single point of failure,” de Halpert told the BBC. “GPS can be jammed very easily… He encouraged us to move ahead and make sure the country has a failsafe backup, which we have done, and it is now operational,” he said.

Below is the section of the documentary where the prince’s support for GPS and a GPS backup is discussed.

GPS World thanks Innovation editor Richard Langley for sharing the material.

About the Author: Tracy Cozzens

Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.