Prince Philip’s death on Friday has led to an outpouring of tributes over the weekend, often prompted by personal recollections from those who encountered the former consort in person. His prominence in British public life for more than 70 years meant that an incredible 22 per cent of people in the UK are reported as having met the Duke of Edinburgh, or seen Prince Philip in person, according to a YouGov poll. This number is exceeded only by the Queen herself, at 31 per cent.
Steerpike has rounded up 15 stories of people meeting His Royal Highness, many of which are only being publicised now for the first time. They include former MPs – for whom Philip never appeared to have much time – students, soldiers and professionals drawn from the worlds of academia, music, sport and journalism.
As the local MP (then), I met the Duke of Edinburgh in 2002: the Queen and he were visiting Marlow as part of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations. The Duke fixed me with a gimlet stare, and said: “So they’ve let you have a day off from the monkey house, then?”
— Paul Goodman (@PaulGoodmanCH) April 10, 2021
First time I met Prince Philip was, in retrospect, very funny.
Elected MP for Chelsea, May 2010, I was in the receiving line at the Chelsea Flower Show, a few days after.
I had practised my bow, nervously.
On performing it, he looked at me & asked:
“Are you new?”
— Greg Hands (@GregHands) April 9, 2021
Prince Philip was President of the ESU until 2012. When I met him, he asked me all about University debating. I regaled him with stories of short-prep Motions, student Union bearpits & bold advocacy- and he just nodded wisely and said: “So you’re a bit of a nerd”. Brilliant. RIP.
— Jeremy Brier (@jeremybrier) April 9, 2021
I met Prince Philip many times but he used to tease me by pretending (I hope) not to recognise me.”You know Mike sir,” says a courtier, “He’s just conducted the orchestra in the State Ballroom!” Quick as a flash HRH walks behind me, looks, and says “Ah yes! NOW I recognise you!”
— Mike Batt LVO (@Mike_Batt) April 10, 2021
22% of UK population met Prince Philip in his time I’m proud that I was one at a #Construction day at the Queens Polo ‘He asked me ‘are you enjoying the Polo, I said ‘Yes great day but I don’t understand the rules & he lent forward & whispered “don’t worry non of us do”God bless! pic.twitter.com/aB9d15WPWA
— Julie White (@JulieDDrill) April 10, 2021
When I met Prince Philip (PP)…
PP: “What time is Kick off?”
Me: “urm… We don’t have a match?”
PP: “so why are you wearing a strip?”
Me: “urm…I don’t know… just cos you’re here I think!”😊
— Graeme Carrick (@GraemeCarrick) April 10, 2021
I met Prince Philip at Holyrood as a teenager receiving the DofE award. He said ‘I bet you’re glad to be out of Dundee for the day’. He had a disarming charm!
— Jemma Neville (@jemma_tweets) April 10, 2021
My Prince Philip story. He asked me where I was from. “Brighton,”
“Well, you must be very seedy then,” he replied, and walked off.
— Bill Gardner (@journobill) April 9, 2021
… “As long as it takes for brothers and sisters to kill one another.”
He looked from my baffled face to my brother’s, then elaborated:
“That’s how long the school holidays are.”
— Kolley Kibber (@camcamdamn) April 9, 2021
Philip and the Queen once came to lunch at the FT and I sat near him. He complained with some feeling that London prices were so high they shut out most people.
— Edward Luce (@EdwardGLuce) April 9, 2021
I once spoke to Prince Philip about my research on how music alters perception of time. He responded ‘You mean, for example, when people are on hold on the telephone?’ I was chuffed he saw the implications so clearly, but baffled about whether he’d actually ever been on hold…
— Dr Michelle Phillips (@___Michelle____) April 9, 2021
I remember Prince Phillip stood eye balling me in what felt like forever. My hole body began to shake with nerves. He noticed and warmly whispered “calm down boy, you look almost as smart as me”.
R.I.P Prince Phillip 🇬🇧
— Anthony Lock (@BrokenByWar) April 9, 2021
My crazy wife had some work dealings with Prince Philip.
The first time, nervous, she didn’t want to tell him she did her Duke of Edinburgh award because she thought too boring.
In the end she blurted out, “I did the Duke of Edinburgh.”
He said, “I’m sure I’d remember that.”
— Tom. Black Lives Matter. (@galahadlake) April 9, 2021
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