Prince Philip devised a special heating system to protect the paintings at Balmoral Castle, it has emerged as the Royal family paid tribute to his conservation work on its estates.
The Palace revealed on Sunday that the Duke of Edinburgh was behind an initiative to install a heating system that responded to humidity rather than the outside temperature to create a less damaging atmosphere for the castle’s many antiques.
The Duke’s fervent passion for horticulture and agriculture also led him to re-landscape many the Queen’s estates and even get behind the wheel of a bulldozer to realise his vision.
In a memorial released on Sunday, the palace detailed the works the Duke carried out and oversaw on the Queen’s private estates at Sandringham and Balmoral, as well as Great Windsor and Home Parks.
It revealed how the Duke took a particularly close interest in the maintenance of the Queen’s beloved Balmoral residence in Aberdeenshire, where she spends August and July.
In the past, the visitors have complained about how cold the draughty castle can be, with one of the most notorious complainants being Cherie Blair.
The former Prime Minister's wife disclosed in her autobiography that the couple's fourth child Leo was conceived at Balmoral in part because the castle was "bitterly cold" at night.
In 2012 the Queen was also pictured sitting by an electric heater while holding an audience with then Prime Minister David Cameron in the castle's private sitting room.
However, in more recent times the castle’s energy systems have been modernised, including being fitted with a 2 MW hydro-electric system to provide it with green energy.
The palace said: “His Royal Highness was also an active and constructive part in the planning and execution of improvements to the Castle.
“The Duke suggested a new control of the heating system when the castle was not in occupation, based on a rise in humidity as opposed to a drop in temperature, giving better protection to fabric, paintings and furniture.”
The Duke’s active approach to the royal estates extended well beyond the walls of the 165-year-old castle, as he also completely redesigned its gardens.
Among his innovations was the planting of a vegetable garden, creation of a flowered and paved walk along the garden’s north side terrace and installing a water garden, which he dug out himself with a bulldozer.
The Duke also began the estate’s woodland regeneration project, where sections of its grounds were closed off to allow wildlife to flourish.
The scheme has been such a success that now over 750 acres have been given over to it and it regularly draws researchers and scientists to study its abundant flora and fauna.
The grounds at Sandringham were also a keen focus of the Duke, until he handed over management to the Prince of Wales in 2017.
However, under the Duke’s care the estate has seen over five new thousand trees planted every year as well as significant efforts made to improve the conditions for ground-nesting birds.
At Windsor, the Palace said, Duke was ‘instrumental’ in creating the Windsor Farm Shop, which opened in 2001 to sell produce from Windsor estate.
While at Windsor Castle the Duke redesigned the layout of the gardens on the East Terrace, designed its fountain and created a private garden under the south wall of the castle.
Meanwhile, this weekend it also emerged the Duke’s charitable legacy is continuing to grow as a number of charities he patronised have reported receiving increased donations in recent days.
Since the Duke’s passing on Friday, the Palace has asked well-wishers to make contributions to causes he cared about during his lifetime rather than leaving flowers at Buckingham Palace.
On Sunday, Fields in Trust, which the Duke became president of in 1948 when it was then known as the National Playing Fields Association, said it has seen an uplift in donations.
The WWF, of which the Duke was also president, said it is now setting up a separate donations page for people wanting to make a contribution following the Prince’s death.
Helen Griffiths, Fields in Trust Chief Executive, said, “Since the sad news broke on Friday, we have seen a number of spontaneous donations to the charity as people seek to recognise the legacy of the Duke of Edinburgh particularly at a time when restrictions are preventing people from paying their respects in person.
“Many people have commented on how important parks and green spaces have been to them during lockdown and acknowledged the pivotal role His Royal Highness played in protecting them for future generations to enjoy.”