Daily Mirror

He was fiercely protective of wife But her long phone calls irked him

- BY RUSSELL MYERS Royal Editor russell.myers@mirror.co.uk @rjmyers

PRINCE Philip was fiercely protective of the Queen but moaned that she spent too much time on the phone, one of his closest friends has revealed.

Royal biographer Gyles Brandreth says the Duke of Edinburgh would cry “She never stops!” and shake his head in mock disbelief.

But the writer and broadcaste­r told how the Duke’s devotion to his wife of 73 years meant he could at times be “quite frightenin­g” if he thought she was being attacked in any way.

In his role as “fierce protector of his Lilibet”, Mr Brandreth said Philip was “incandesce­nt” at a Royal Variety Performanc­e after a comedian aimed a poorly considered joke her way.

Brandreth, 73, said: “For more than 70 years, he did everything he could to safeguard her person and her dignity. He hated to see her taken advantage of in any way.

One year, at the Royal Variety Performanc­e, one of the stars performed a routine aimed directly at the Queen.

“Prince Philip was incandesce­nt and descended on the producer in the interval:

‘I’ve been coming to this for 50 years. It never ends on time.

The jokes are lavatorial. And now you insult the Queen!’”

Remarking on Philip’s relationsh­ip with photograph­ers during a royal tour, Brandreth said: “More than once, on a walkabout with the Queen, I saw him barking at the press photograph­ers, telling them to ‘get out of the way’.

“‘People want to see the Queen,’ he shouted, ‘GET OUT OF THE WAY!’”

On the Duke’s retirement in 2017, the royal biographer revealed that Philip would often be heard bellowing at police officers detailed to look after him. He would call out to the Queen (and anyone else within earshot): “Where are the f***ing car keys?” before he had to give up his licence after a car crash in 2019. Brandreth added of the Duke: “He did not like getting old. Twenty years ago, he told me he had no desire to live to be 100.

“‘I can’t imagine anything worse,’ he said then. As his centenary approached, he changed his tune, acknowledg­ing that it would be ‘a bit of a milestone, I suppose’.” But Brandreth said he was “dreading all the fuss”. Prince Philip’s adoration of the monarch was unwavering – and reciprocat­ed. Brandreth added: “Prince Philip protected the Queen and made her laugh. Once, during one of the jubilee tours, I was in the car immediatel­y behind theirs and I watched Prince Philip telling the Queen a story. He kept her laughing for 20 minutes. It was a joy to behold.”

Prince Philip’s passing has left the Queen with “a huge void in her life”, their son Prince Andrew revealed.

The Duke of York admitted his mother was “feeling it more than everybody else” but was nonetheles­s staying “incredibly stoic”.

Royal sources said the Queen was incredibly grateful for being able to be with Prince Philip in his final hours before he died peacefully on Friday morning at Windsor Castle.

■ Philip: The Final Portrait by Gyles Brandreth, £25, will be published by Coronet on May 6.

He hated to see her taken advantage of in any way

GYLES BRANDRETH ON PHILIP’S LOVE OF QUEEN

Pair laugh at 2004 event

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Elizabeth and Philip in deep conversati­on after nuptials 1966
In wedding finery with son Charles at Westminste­r Abbey
Philip salutes as he travels through streets of Edinburgh
1947 1948 Elizabeth and Philip in deep conversati­on after nuptials 1966 In wedding finery with son Charles at Westminste­r Abbey Philip salutes as he travels through streets of Edinburgh
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CHUCKLES
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