H.R.H. The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, K.G., K.T.

attends the Dinner at

The Eccentric Club

On the 17th of February, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, K.G., K.T., has visited the Eccentric Club in Dover Street, Mayfair, London, and had a Dinner there with just 28 of the club members, some of whom had to travel to the Dinner from Belgium, France, Monaco, Poland, Morocco, South Africa, Devon and Midlands!

First time HRH The Prince Philip was elected the Eccentric Club's Honorary Life Member in 1980 on the occasion of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme Dinner held at the old club in Ryder Street.

In November 2008, HRH The Prince Philip has granted his Royal Patronage to the newly revived Eccentric Club and was re-elected as its Honorary Life Member.

The Grand Order of Water Rats, which shared for almost a century its premises and cultural traditions with the Eccentric Club, will also be celebrating this year the 50th Anniversary of His Royal Highness's involvement with the Order in his capacity as the Companion Water Rat.

The Dinner at the Eccentric Club was a very private event, most enjoyable by everyone present. It was the very first visit of our Patron to the club, and, for most of us, our first acquaintance with him as a person, a very warm, witty and charming person...

Regrettably, due to the limitations of the available space, only a quarter of the club members were able to enjoy the event, they included many of those who used to belong to the old club in Ryder Street, children of the former members which joined the revived club, members of the Club Committee and some of the most active new members, including the Eccentric Club Events Co-ordinator in Devon, the performing poet, Mr Colin Shaddick.

A number of names of those present were cherished by the media over decades: Ronnie Carroll, David Shilling, Peter Golding, Tahir Shah. But, equally, there were new and forthcoming eccentric stars amongst the guests.

The Lord Montagu of Beaulieu (the last President of the old club), who was going to deliver the welcoming speech, and Mr Brian Clivaz, the Arts Club CEO and the Eccentric Club Committee member, who has spent a great deal of time and effort in preparing the event, both were unable to join us, to much of everyone's regret, due to the unexpected health problems.

The grace was read by The Reverend Roderick Leece of St George's Church in Hanover Square.

The menu was specially designed for this occasion and was based on the popular traditional dishes served at the old club.

The Prince, who was accompanied by Sir Brian McGrath, his Extra Equerry, was presented with the portrait of Her Majesty The Queen by Christian Furr, one of the club members.

The traditional Loyal Toasts were proposed by the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman, but the final toast was "To The Eccentric Club!" and everyone present, including His Royal Highness, had no hesitation to join it.

Photography by Robert Koltowski.