Duke opens Greenwich Maritime Museum wing
It was a seafaring trip down memory lane for the Duke of Edinburgh when staff at the Greenwich Maritime Museum showed him artefacts from his own naval career.
The 90-year-old consort to the Queen visited the venue to mark the opening of the Sammy Ofer wing, named after the late shipping magnate.
Mr Ofer, who donated more than £20million towards the expansion, died just weeks before the ribbon was cut.
The Duke, a patron of the museum and a former trustee, arrived on Tuesday morning to be greeted by cheering staff and a Sea Cadets band.
Inside the new wing, he met VIPs including former director Richard Ormond.
Mr Ormond said: "When he was a trustee he was always full of good ideas and wanted people to see the museum more broadly. He was always concerned with the minutiae of what went on at the museum."
The Duke visited the reading room where staff members Eleanor Gawne and Henry John Holland showed him artefacts from his past.
These included a visitors' book from HMS Magpie which the Duke commanded between 1950 and 1952. When told it was given to the museum by commander Lt JBA Hawkins, the Duke joked: "He probably nicked it."
He also studied an eyewitness account of the battle of Cape Matapan in 1941, in which he was serving as midshipman on board HMS Valiant. The Duke told staff how the ship was nearly hit and the force of this caused it to bend leaving some onboard trapped. "They couldn't get out of an area and we had to get a type of tin opener to cut them out," he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Holland showed the Duke a state-of-the-art catalogue of digital ship plans, which included a detailed a look at the HMS Warrior.
"The Warrior was the first ironclad warship from 1860," said Mr Holland. "The Duke led a team on the restoration and showed us the propeller system. He was eager to look at it because of his personal connection."
Mr Ofer died in June but his son's Eyal and Idan, as well as his wife, Judy, were present at the ceremony.
The £35million development includes a new library with over two million books. It also has a brightly lit cafe, a permanent gallery Voyagers and exhibition space.
The museum's chairman Lord Sterling said: "This is undoubtedly the world's greatest maritime museum and now we've taken the most significant step forward. This is the culmination of three years' hard work."