Prince Philip letter to President Nixon reveals sleepless nights over ‘lame’ toast

Barney Davis
·2-min read
<p>President Richard Nixon, stands with Prince Philip, second from left, prior to a black tie state dinner.</p> (The Richard Nixon Library & Museum via AP)

President Richard Nixon, stands with Prince Philip, second from left, prior to a black tie state dinner.

(The Richard Nixon Library & Museum via AP)

A letter from Prince Philip to Richard Nixon reveals the monarch had sleepless nights over a “very lame” toast he gave the President.

The Queen’s consort, who died last Friday aged 99, will be laid to rest with the minimum of fuss in Windsor during a poignant, family service — watched on television by millions in Britain and around the world on Saturday.

To mark his passing, a letter discovered before the pandemic that he wrote to President Nixon in 1969 has been made public.

The correspondence was written after Philip visited the White House solo, without Queen Elizabeth, for a dinner hosted in his honour.

The handwritten letter has been revealedThe Richard Nixon Library & Museum
The handwritten letter has been revealedThe Richard Nixon Library & Museum

Writing from Greenland following his trip on November 7,Philip wrote: "After the brilliance of the other speakers and yourself, I am afraid my contribution was very lame."

"That night I woke up in a cold sweat when I realised I had forgotten to propose your health!"

It is customary for invited guests to toast to the President’s health and success.

The duke spoke of his travels to New York where he was interviewed by the “charming” Barbara Walters for her chat show.

Philip wrote: "The weather in New York was horrible but otherwise all went well, and I found Miss Walters particularly charming and intelligent. I hope we did a good piece."

The toast, attended by comedian Bob Hope and vice president Spiro Agnew, came the day after Nixon gave his infamous "silent majority" speech to urge Americans to unite behind the war in Vietnam their army could reach "peace with honour".

Jim Byron, executive vice president of the Nixon Foundation, which released the letter, said: "I think the letter itself shows the character of Prince Philip that so much of the public in the UK and across the Commonwealth, and really across the world, have come to admire."

"It expresses some private feelings of a moment in time that the public really doesn’t always get a chance to see.

"Philip, by all measures, he was being kind," Mr Byron said of the letter. "And really expressing so much of his character."

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