Philip made young people believe in themselves, says Joanna Lumley

Aine Fox, PA
·2-min read

The Duke of Edinburgh’s legacy will be helping to change the minds of young people and make them believe in themselves, Joanna Lumley has said.

The actor said she had the “great pleasure” of having sat beside him at dinners or attending events for charities he was associated with over the years.

She described him as someone who “didn’t like whingers and moaners”, but when it came to people who were nervous or frail he was “kind”.

Lumley told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “I think he liked vigour, he liked get up and go.

“He didn’t like whingers and moaners, he liked people who challenged themselves.

“And then for the very humble and the very frail and the very nervous, I think he was kind and just – the whole of the Duke of Edinburgh award is to make people better, see the best of themselves, and I think he did that when talking to people as well.”

Lumley had been involved in presenting Duke of Edinburgh awards to young people and recalled the “proud parents who saw their children blossoming”.

She said: “I think his legacy will be how he changed the minds of young people and made them believe in themselves.

“That’s a very rare and difficult thing to do and he did it in spades.”

As a man with a wide range of interests, she described as “invigorating company”.

She added: “Because you couldn’t slop by – you couldn’t just get by, you had to  be on your toes, listening, listening.

“And sometimes I suppose it could be a snap remark, but it was only out of interest and impatience.”

She remembered one occasion at an event when she felt Philip had subtly changed a topic of conversation out of respect for her vegetarianism.

“I was sitting next door to him, a man on his right had suddenly started to talk about hunting and shooting and fishing and things like this.

“I think Prince Philip had noticed that I was having a vegetarian meal beside him, and in some extraordinarily subtle way he turned the conversation quietly, without being rude to the man, right away from that and just talked – he was such a – he was very kind you know. I think that’s quite often overlooked.

“He was very funny and very sharp, but very kind.”