Queen and Prince Philip had ‘choreographed routine’ says insider
The Duke of Edinburgh has been a steadfast pillar of support to the Queen throughout her reign, despite retiring from public life three years ago. The Queen and her husband are thought to have been drawn even closer together in recent months as they have been spending lockdown in a bubble at Windsor Castle. The Queen’s Christmas speech also included only one small, framed photograph of Philip this year — in the past, she’s included images of all of her heirs. However, Philip has not always endeared himself to the public.
He has a habit of making gaffes which have sometimes left those around him embarrassed.
He once snapped at a photographer to just “take the f***ing picture”, has lambasted young people for being “ignorant”, and joked that he had encountered “feminist corner” as he approached a group of female Labour MPs who had ‘Ms’ on their name badges.
But few royal watchers know he shares this trait with his late father-in-law King George VI — which may explain the strength of the bond between Philip and the Queen.
In his biography, ‘On Royalty’, journalist Jeremy Paxman explained: “In royal circles, the bluff manner of Prince Philip would not have struck previous generations as offensive, or even odd.
“It is rather reminiscent of George VI.”
King George VI, Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II
The Queen has been married to Prince Philip for 73 years
Jeremy Paxman claimed one of the former monarch’s biographers recorded how George teased the Governor of Rhodesia’s aide-de-camp (ADC) during a trip to the former British colony.
The former monarch alleged joked, “Do ADCs always wear ties for picnics?”, while giving the tie a sharp tug.
Later on during the picnic, he was handed a large tomato and he quickly retorted: “What am I to do with this — throw it at you?”
He proceeded to tell the Governor he had arranged his medals and stars in the wrong place.
The Governor replied: “That’s funny, Sir, because they are the same way as yours.”
In a tone reminiscent of Philip’s gaffes, George retorted: “Oh, of course, I always look at mine in the mirror.”
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The Queen and Philip have often been pictured laughing together over the years
Upon returning from another event, George celebrated that it was over by throwing his hat up towards the ceiling, only for an ADC to throw it back to him.
The King then threw it to the floor and his wife kicked it into the dining room, before he grabbed the gong and went around the house beating it.
He ended up trying to hang it round one official’s neck, saying, “I’m sure you’d like another one of these!”
The biographer also claimed: “He then opened the door of the ladies’ lavatory and seeing a fur hanging on a peg, said, ‘My God, some woman has left her beard in here.’”
Yet, Mr Paxman concluded: “It was Prince Philip’s misfortune to live in another age, when almost anything said by royalty was liable to be amplified by the mass media.”
Philip has become aware of this trait and how it is perceived.
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Elizabeth giggling with her father King George VI in 1946
Elizabeth and Philip laughing in 1947
He has even dubbed it “Dontopedalogy”, and explained it as the “science of opening your mouth and putting your foot in it”, which he claimed to have practiced “for a good many years”.
Just four years after the Queen’s ascension, he said: “It’s my custom to say something flattering to begin with so I shall be excused if I put my foot in it later on.”
Then, in 2006, Philip claimed: “I reckon I have done something right if I don’t appear in the media.
“So I’ve retreated — quite consciously — so as not to be an embarrassment.”
But, this humour may have endeared him to the Queen.
Philip has providing unwavering support to the Queen for decades
The Queen’s Christmas speech this year featured a photograph of Prince Philip
Managing editor of Majesty Magazine, Joe Little, also claimed this had helped the two of them cope with the lockdown.
He said: “He makes her laugh, he’s got a slightly naughty sense of humour, a sense of the ridiculous that keeps her amused.”
Royal biographer Phil Dampier echoed this claim, when he pointed out that the Duke of Edinburgh has “always had the ability to make [the Queen] laugh” which has helped build “the most enormously strong partnership”.
‘On Royalty’ by Jeremy Paxman was published in 2007 by Penguin Books and is available here.