War hero, dashing prince, royal moderniser, champion of young people, and of course, the rock at the Queen’s side for more than six decades.
His Royal Highness Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh, was an extraordinary man who led an extraordinary life.
And it was a sign of the public’s love for the longest serving royal consort of all time that the nation ground to a halt when news of his death, aged 99, was announced on April 9.
Speaking at Downing Street, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the Duke had “earned the affection of generations here in the United Kingdom, across the Commonwealth, and around the world”.
Meanwhile, Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said Prince Philip had “consistently put the interests of others ahead of his own and, in so doing, provided an outstanding example of Christian service”.
However, most poignant of all were the tributes paid by the Duke’s family.
The Prince of Wales said of his father: “His energy was astonishing in supporting my mama, and doing it for such a long time. I think he’ll probably want to be remembered as an individual in his own right.”
Reflecting on his father’s difficult upbringing after his family was exiled, he said: “It can’t have been easy and life was uncertain and everyone had to rely on other people to help – and presumably he had to fall back on himself.”
The Princess Royal praised the “double act” he created with the monarch, and the Duke of York fondly recalled Prince Philip as a father spending time with his family.
“Like any other family at the time, your parents went out to work during the day but in the evening – just the same as any other family – we would get together, we would sit on the sofa as a group and he would read to us.”
The Earl of Wessex added: “He’s always been there as that rock in the Queen’s life.”
Now, five months on, and for the first time in television history, more than a dozen members of the Royal Family offer their personal thoughts and reflections as they pay tribute to Prince Philip’s life.
All four of Queen and the Duke’s children, along with their adult grandchildren and other members of the royal family, have agreed to take part in this unique portrait of the longest-serving consort in royal history.
Originally conceived to mark Prince Philip’s 100th birthday which would have been in June, the landmark documentary features interviews filmed both before and after the Duke’s death in April. The programme-makers have also been inside Buckingham Palace to meet the Philip’s long-serving staff and to capture his study, private office and library, exactly as they were during his seven decades at the heart of royal life.
There are personal recollections, plenty of humour and numerous fresh insights into the character and legacy of the royal pioneer.
And with special access to the Queen’s private cine-film collection, the film provides an unrivalled portrait of a man who was much more than just the world’s most famous husband.
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