HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh was a member of WGGB, from its origins as an association to a union, for over 60 years.
The British Screen and Television Writers’ Association, which pre-dated WGGB, held their 21st birthday dinner on 16 May 1958 and invited the Duke to the party. The Executive Council at the time stated that if the Duke could not attend, the dinner should not be held.
Thankfully, the Duke did attend and shared with the writers the pains of being a part-time writer. In his after-dinner speech, he complained of the “number of hours I have started at a blank sheet of paper”.
On the night itself the Duke much enjoyed his time with the association and later in a letter of thanks described it as one of the best nights out he’d ever had.
The Duke, a published writer, turned down the offer of honorary membership of the association and for a long time paid his union subs before accepting the title and becoming a long-standing honorary member and advocating for writers and the union.
The Duke is pictured above being received by Frank Launder at the 21st anniversary of the association in London, 1958.
The above is an edited extract from The Write Stuff: A history of the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain, 1959-2009 by WGGB Books Co-Chair Nick Yapp