Fond memories of the ultimate people person
ANIMAL LOVER Philip with panda
MY first encounter with Prince Philip was when I was an LBC radio reporter. I interviewed him in the early ‘80s when he became patron of the World Wide Fund For Nature.
Prior to going, I had received a WWF newspaper suggesting its officers were being offered bribes.
When I brought up the allegations, Prince Philip looked at me with a face like thunder and said: “Are you trying to make a name for yourself?”
I showed him the newspaper and he looked at it, said he hadn’t seen it and apologised. After that, the interview went swimmingly.
He was a no-nonsense man and didn’t do small talk.
Later, I joined the Royal Family. With Prince Philip, you had to give as much as you were prepared to take but if you had all your facts, you were fine. If you didn’t, he was all over you.
He was very good to his staff. Every Christmas he gave them presents and took them all to lunch.
He was the ultimate people person. He was always interested in what others were doing or had achieved.
He was also a great champion for young people with his award scheme. It was important to him.
Much has been made of his so-called gaffes, but none of his remarks were meant to be rude – he was just breaking the ice.
You’d be surprised how important that is as a royal because people are usually in awe when they meet them.
He loved talking to people and if you heard raucous laughter at an event, it was inevitably him entertaining them.
He created the job of consort to the sovereign and got on and did it.
His death will have a devastating effect on the Queen. This is a love story that goes back 82 years.
She has lost her soulmate. But she is a very pragmatic woman and will have planned for this as Prince Philip’s health deteriorated.
He’s the only man she’s ever loved, but she’s not like Queen Victoria and life will carry on for her – because uppermost in her mind is duty.
She made an oath to God when she became Queen in 1952 and she will continue the work.