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