Prior, and women's cricketer of the year Katherine Brunt, were among those who received their accolades during an annual dinner hosted by the England and Wales Cricket Board and team sponsors Brit Insurance in the Lord's pavilion Long Room.
After 12 months of consistency in front of and behind the stumps, headlined by Prior's heroic and unbeaten century in the drawn Auckland Test in March, he becomes the first wicketkeeper to win the award.
He said: "It was fantastic when I found out, a huge honour to be singled out as player of the year."
Prior stressed too, though, that - after beating the shortlisted Alastair Cook and James Anderson - it is the performance of the England team that means most to him.
"I feel slightly uncomfortable with it, because individual accolades are not really the reason I play. I want this team to win. I get much more out of the group winning a Test or series."
At the start of this Ashes summer and with the first of two Tests against New Zealand starting at Lord's on Thursday, there will be no time to sit back in satisfaction.
"I think it's very easy to look back and think 'that was a great year' and pat yourself on the back," said Prior.
"That's certainly not something I'll be doing. Yes, it was a great year - and I'll take a huge amount of confidence from it. But you've got to knuckle down and look to improve. It's back to the drawing board now, and it all starts again."
Essex wicketkeeper-batsman Ben Foakes won the development programme cricketer-of-the- year award, and Matthew Dean was named the England disability cricketer of the year. Prior's century in Auckland was the TwelfthMan cricketing moment-of-the-year award.
ECB chief executive David Collier said: "There have some memorable individual performances across all our England teams over the past year - a 12-month period which saw the England men's team win a Test series in India for the first time in 28 years and the England women complete a clean sweep of four series wins at home last summer. We congratulate the winners on their individual achievements."
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