Two of Prince Philip’s children are paying tribute to their late father, who died on Friday, April 9, at age 99.
Queen Elizabeth and Philip’s youngest son, Prince Edward, and their only daughter, Princess Anne, reflected on his legacy in a pre-recorded broadcast interview with ITV.
As for Prince Charles, he went to comfort his mother Elizabeth in person at Windsor Castle on Friday, according to Harper’s Bazaar.
Anne said on camera that some may have “underestimated hugely [Philip’s] impact” on the royal family, saying, “It’s fundamental. Without him, it would be completely different.”
She went on, “But from the society’s perspective, he’s been able to keep pace with the kind of technological changes which have had such an impact. At the bottom of all that, it’s not about the technology, it’s about the people.”
Anne reflected on how her father “found ways in which he could make an impact” as the longest-serving consort. After serving in WWII, he married Elizabeth in 1947, at which time he stepped away from his military career.
“I’m absolutely sure that was not an easy decision, but it shows a real understanding of the pressures that the Queen was going through and that the best way he could support her was by giving up on his career,” she recalled, adding that he was shaped in the Royal Navy by the desire to “make do and mend and change and improve.”
Yet, one of Philip’s most memorable moments in the public eye came years later. At Princess Diana’s funeral, Philip walked with Prince Harry and Prince William in the funeral procession, where he was seen patting his younger grandson on the shoulder in a tender moment.
Anne, now 70, described how their famous walk came to be, saying, “Memory is a strange thing, isn’t it? But I seem to remember him saying, in fact, it was a question of, ‘If you’ll do it, I’ll do it.’ And that was him as a grandfather saying, ‘If you want me to be there, if that’s what you want to do, if you want me to be there, I will be there.'”
Edward shared his belief as to why his parents’ marriage remained so strong over their 73 years together.
“My parents have been such a fantastic support to each other during all those years and all those events and all those tours as well and all the events overseas,” Edward, now 57, said. “To have someone that you confide in and smile about some things that you couldn’t perhaps smile about in public is very, very important. To be able to share that with somebody is immensely important.”
The Earl of Wessex continued, “I’ll remember my father in a number of different ways, both in what he’s done in his public life, for all the organizations that he’s supported and influenced. Obviously, as my father and husband to my mother, all the work that is done there, as a family we’ll probably always remember that more than anything else.”
In terms of their father-son relationship, he said, “I probably remember him as any son, hopefully, remembers their father, as someone who was always there, who was always encouraging, but actually never pushing. So, I’m sure along the way, I’ve probably disappointed him in some ways, but I hope in other ways, surprised him.”
Since he spent a lot of time at boarding school, many of Edward’s treasured family memories together were during holidays. “Both my parents always [were] fantastic about giving that time during those holidays,” he explained. “Despite the lives that they both led, they were able to really make the holidays very special.”
Anne additionally discussed Philip’s challenging childhood and his “nomadic” way of life, describing how he was smuggled out of Greece and settled in Paris as a kid.
“It must have been really quite difficult because he was that much younger than his sisters,” she said. “The father figure was very intermittent then went and his mother struggled at that stage, so he had friends elsewhere who took him in during the holidays… He was virtually a refugee as this stage because he had nowhere else to go literally.”
Though Edward believes his father was “unfairly depicted” in the media, he personally will always remember Philip for his love of cricket and carriage driving, which was a “large part of his life.” Edward also pointed to his “fantastic” sense of humor: “It was always his humor that came through, the twinkle in his eye.”