Man of action the Queen loved with all her heart 16-page pullout tribute
PHILIP was the only man in Elizabeth’s life. No one knew her for longer. No one knew her so well. After almost 74 years of marriage, they didn’t need words – a simple glance or gesture would do.
His wife claimed his enduring love, but she had also earned his trust. And that was important. After his nomadic, rootless childhood Philip had developed an impenetrable defence mechanism to hide the hurt caused by the absence of his parents. According to the late dean of Windsor, the Right Reverend Michael Mann, the young Prince had built a picket line around himself with machine guns on it.
No one was admitted unless they were totally trusted. Elizabeth unlocked that barrier.
She was head over heels in love with him from the start. He was a dashing young man, confident and selfreliant. Imagine how her heart must have fluttered when, as a young teenager, she saw this handsome cadet chase the royal yacht far out to sea in an act of derring-do as the royal party sailed away after a visit to Dartmouth Naval College.
He never lost that sense of adventure… and the Queen never lost her admiration for her “man of action”. She loved to watch his exploits on the polo field and later his hair-raising escapades competing at carriage driving.
By nature, Elizabeth is quite reserved and shy. Philip was the perfect contrast – brusque, shooting from the hip and always up for a good argument. She might have been expected to marry a traditional British aristocrat; a safe but quite possibly boring option. With Philip, life was never boring.
As the Queen herself remarked, the Duke was forthright with his opinions, sometimes when he was reviewing her speeches! And she valued that honesty, stripped of the deference that most people feel they owe her. Of course he had to defer to her in public, but she paid him the respect of making him the head of the family at home, in charge of the big decisions and of the estates. And that was significant for a proud man who, in reality, was quite as royal as his wife.
Travelling the world with them, as I did, I saw at first hand what a great partnership they had. He would constantly dive into the crowds and break the sometimes stuffy ice of a royal tour with some light-hearted remarks. Most did the trick. Occasionally, though, the Duke would fall right through the ice and make one of his legendary gaffes.
I can imagine the Queen raising her eyebrows afterwards and tut-tutting. But that was the nature of her man – a no-nonsense type of husband who had devoted his life to supporting her in a tough job. And a man she loved with all her heart.
They didn’t need words ..a simple gesture would do JENNIE BOND ON ROYAL COUPLE’S RELATIONSHIP