HRH The Duke of Edinburgh in Antarctica, 1956-7

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh in Antarctica, 1956-7

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh was the first member of the Royal Family to cross the Antarctic Circle.

In December 1956, His Royal Highness travelled to New Zealand after he had opened the Melbourne Olympic Games on behalf of The Queen. In Lyttelton, Christchurch, he met Sir Edmund Hillary (the conqueror of Everest) and other members of the New Zealand Ross Sea support team which formed part of the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic expedition.  This expedition, led by Vivian Fuchs, was to complete the first land crossing of Antarctica - the expedition which Shackleton had attempted in 1914-16. 

The Duke of Edinburgh sailed for Antarctica on board HMY Britannia on 17 December.  The first iceberg was sighted on 26 December and Britannia crossed the Antarctic Circle on 31 December.  On the voyage, The Duke was accompanied by the artist Edward Seago who painted a series of works throughout the tour.


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HMY <em>Britannia</em> sailing into Lyttelton Harbour, Christchurch
HRH The Duke of Edinburgh meeting Sir Edmund Hillary
HRH The Duke of Edinburgh meeting members of the Trans-Antarctic Expedition
HRH The Duke of Edinburgh on board HMNZS <em>Endeavour</em>
The first iceberg, Boxing Day, 1956
Camp at Base ‘W’, Andresen Island
Icebergs in the Antarctic
<em>John Biscoe</em> in pack ice
Ice floes in the Antarctic
HMY <em>Britannia</em> anchored in a bay off Graham Land
Sea passage between two rocks
Mountain peaks, Graham Land, near the Lemaire Channel
HMY <em>Britannia</em> passing through the Neumayer Channel
Rocky Coastline, South Georgia
Shackleton’s Cross, Grytviken Bay, South Georgia
Last iceberg seen from <em>Britannia</em>
HRH The Duke of Edinburgh with dog sledge
Adélie penguins
King penguins on South Georgia
HRH The Duke of Edinburgh with sea elephants
HRH The Duke of Edinburgh with penguins
HRH The Duke of Edinburgh at Shackleton's memorial cross