The real Philip in photographs: Royal experts share their favourite moments of the Duke of Edinburgh

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·3-min read
Britain's Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh reacts as he talks with Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex as they leave St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle, Windsor, west of London, on May 18, 2019, after the wedding of Lady Gabriella Windsor and Thomas Kingston. - Lady Gabriella, is the daughter of Prince and Princess Michael of Kent. Prince Michael, is the Queen Elizabeth II's cousin. (Photo by Steve Parsons / POOL / AFP)        (Photo credit should read STEVE PARSONS/AFP via Getty Images)
Prince Philip turned 99 in June 2020. (Getty Images)

Prince Philip has built a reputation over seven decades of public service as a cheeky and gaffe-prone royal who does not suffer fools gladly.

Few have been as close to the Duke of Edinburgh over the years as royal reporters and correspondents who have followed his work and engagements both at the side of the Queen and alone.

Experts shared their favourite photos of Prince Philip and the stories behind them with Yahoo UK.

Royal biographer Ingrid Seward’s favourite photo is of Philip at a polo match with Jimmy Edwards*.

WINDSOR, ROYAUME-UNI - 20 JUIN: La reine Elizabeth remet un stylo en guise de lot de consolation au joueur de polo Jimmy Edwards apres la defaite de son equipe et lui serre la main sans gants, contrairement au protocole, le 20 juin 1960 a Windsor, Royaume-Uni.  (Photo by Keystone-France\Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
Philip with Jimmy Edwards at a polo match in 1965. (Getty Images)

Seward, who is the author of a forthcoming book about Philip, said: “In my favourite picture of Prince Philip he is laughing with comedian Jimmy Edwards at a charity polo match in 1965.

“It says a lot about Philip - he loves the risqué company of the old fashioned politically incorrect comedians and his favourite sport at the time was polo and he also looks cool in his polo gear and tinted glasses.

“He has a wicked sense of humour and a love of life which is harder to see in more formal photographs.”

Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty, chose a wet moment with the duke.

Read more: Prince Philip's 99th birthday marked with new lockdown photo with the Queen

Britain's Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in his role as Captain General, Royal Marines, attends a Parade to mark the finale of the 1664 Global Challenge on the Buckingham Palace Forecourt in central London on August 2, 2017.   Prince Philip, the 96-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth II, conducted his final solo public engagement on August 2, 2017, overseeing a military parade in the pouring rain before retiring from a lifetime of service. The Duke of Edinburgh, wearing a raincoat and bowler hat, met members of the Royal Marines and veterans -- many younger than him -- before taking the salute in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace.   / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Yui Mok        (Photo credit should read YUI MOK/AFP via Getty Images)
Prince Philip during his final solo public engagement on August 2, 2017. (Getty Images)

He said: “It was taken on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace on 2 August 2017 during the Duke of Edinburgh's final public engagement before retirement. As Captain General of the Royal Marines he'd just taken the salute at a farewell ceremony and despite it being high summer it rained on his parade.

“He got wet, I got wet, and the cheering crowd that had gathered outside the palace railings got wet, but that didn't matter: we were witnessing a moment of royal history.”

Read more: Prince William and Kate share photos in birthday message to Prince Philip as he turns 99

Prince Philip of Greece and Prince of Denmark, paid a visit on Aug. 29, 1945 to Melbourne, Australia.   He is a cousin of King George of Greece and of the Duchess of Kent, and is serving with the Royal Navy as second in command os a destroyer of the Pacific Fleet. (AP Photo)
Prince Philip of Greece and Prince of Denmark, paid a visit on Aug. 29, 1945 to Melbourne, Australia. (AP Photo)

Royal author Jane Dismore, who wrote Princess: The Early Life of Queen Elizabeth II, said one with a romantic connection to the Queen.

She said: “Taken in 1945 during WW2, this photo of Prince Philip, aged 24, has the romance of being the one Princess Elizabeth kept on her mantlepiece while he was away with the Royal Navy.

“His beard makes him look rugged and reflects the action man that he was. On HMS Whelp at the time, he would shortly witness the historic signing of the surrender of Japan and remain in the Far East until January 1946.

“The picture has a poignancy too, for he could not know that his successful naval career would be cut short by the early death of George VI.”

TUVALU - OCTOBER 26:  Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh is carried aloft on a canoe through the streets of the Pacific island of Tuvalu on October 26, 1982 during the Royal Tour of the South Pacific. (Photo by David Levenson/Getty Images)
Prince Philip carried aloft on a canoe through the streets of the Pacific island of Tuvalu in 1982 during the Royal Tour of the South Pacific. (David Levenson/Getty Images)

David Levenson joined Prince Philip and the Queen on the Royal Tour of the South Pacific in 1982 and shared one of his favourite photos of the prince from the tour.

The duke is carried aloft on a canoe as he and the Queen arrive at Tuvalu.

Levenson reflected on the Queen and Philip being carried “shoulder high” throughout the town, having been collected from their boat.

*Yahoo UK has been unable to source the exact image and has chosen one from the same day.