Prince Philip praised for support of royal newcomers

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Prince Philip - Matt Dunham/AP
Prince Philip - Matt Dunham/AP

The Duke of Edinburgh helped newcomers to the Royal Family find their place as royal spouses, it has been revealed.

Speaking on a documentary paying tribute to the Duke, who died in April aged 99, the Duchess of Cornwall and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence spoke of how he helped them find their place at the side of the Prince of Wales and Princess Royal respectively.

The position has been famously difficult, with royal wives from Diana, Princess of Wales and Sarah, Duchess of York to the Duchess of Sussex struggling with life in the public eye.

Filmed for Prince Philip: The Royal Family Remembers, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence said of his late father-in-law: “When he married Princess Elizabeth as she was then, he wondered what the template was for the husband of a Queen.

“Of course there wasn’t one. He had to plough his own furrow, make his own way.

“And he made the same point to me. You know, it’s no good trying to copy somebody else in the royal family. You have to do it yourself.”

'I saw the way he supported the Queen'

The Duchess of Cornwall said: “I saw the way he supported the Queen, you know, not in a flashy sort of way but just by doing it quietly, following along behind.

“It’s something that I’ve learnt by watching him.”

She went on to share hitherto unknown details about their relationship, saying she had asked him about his childhood and found his stories “absolutely riveting”.

“I always felt it was very sad that his service in the Navy had to be ended so quickly because he was obviously so good at it,” she said. “I think he would’ve gone to the very top. So it really was nipped in the bud.”

Speaking of his position at the Queen’s side in archive footage, due to be broadcast in the programme on Wednesday on BBC One at 9pm, he said: “Well I never thought of it as a role. I mean, it’s just a way of life.

“I just got on with what seems to be the sensible thing to do under the circumstances.”

Commenting on his marriage to the Queen, Zara Tindall, his granddaughter, said: “It must’ve been the most daunting thing you could ever think of doing in your whole life.”

The Prince of Wales, speaking of his father’s role as consort, said: “It did make a big difference because it’s perhaps more fun than just being totally on your own. And I think you know, my mother did find him a great support and I think she valued his judgement on some things.”

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