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Prince Philip unveils the Heinz Wolff building plaque

The Prince had been due to unveil the plaque and tour the campus with The Queen during the Royal visit to Hillingdon in May, but had had to cancel his plans at the last minute, for health reasons.

Thanking the Duke for keeping his promise, Prof Wolff revealed that he had known the Duke for 40 years. “If I had been asked who I could have chosen, given the whole world to choose from, I can say in all honesty that the Duke of Edinburgh would have been my first choice.

“He has a tinkle of humour and, always, instantaneous understanding.“

Then, turning to the Prince, he said: “You've made a dream come true, which was always in the region of pure fantasy.“

The Duke's reputation for dry humour did not disappoint and he surprised guests in the Heinz Wolff building by delivering an off-the-cuff speech. “He's quite right. Heinz Wolff is always interesting and fun,“ he said.

“There's a story that Disraeli was asked how he managed to get on so well with Queen Victoria. And Disraeli replied: 'Everyone enjoys flattery, but when it comes to flattering Royalty, you should lay it on with a shovel!'“ the Duke continued.

The swiftly turning to the plaque which was covered by a short, black curtain, Prince Philip pulled the cord quickly and said: “And I am the world's greatest plaque unveiler!“

Still on classic form, the Duke of Edinburgh strode outside to the Crank Garden where about 200 excited young Italian teenagers from Stafford House School of English, who are staying on campus, were waiting to greet him.

They began calling for him to shake their hands. He obliged by shaking one youngster's palm.
“Where are you from?“ he asked. “Italy!“ they chorused. “Calm down, calm down. It's over,“ he said, and moved on.

The Duke also delighted members of staff and students whom he met. He was shown a number of projects, including Dr Alison McConnell's respiratory aid, Powerbreathe; Dr Ian Kill and Dr Joanna Bridger's research into the premature ageing disease, Progeria; Prof Ian Sutherland and Dr Svetlana Ignatova's Modernisation of Traditional Medicine, and viewed project displays from MADE IN BRUNEL and the Formula Student car.