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Prince Philip's Last Words to Prince Charles Hours before He Died Became a Happy Memory of Him

Karabo Baloyi
Apr 11, 2022
06:00 P.M.
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A year after Prince Philip's passing, his family remembers the man he was as a husband and father to his four children with Queen Elizabeth II.

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April 9 marked the first anniversary of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh's death. He passed away in 2021 at the age of 99. He was married to Queen Elizabeth, whom he was distant cousins with.

When they first met, the queen was only eight years old and wasn't expected to become the queen because her uncle was next in line to be King. They met a second time when she was 13 and he was 18, and sparks flew. 

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales walks behind The Duke of Edinburgh’s coffin during the Ceremonial Procession during the funeral of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle on April 17, 2021 in Windsor, England. A photograph of Prince Philip. | Source: Getty Images

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Queen Elizabeth was shy but was fascinated with Philip's thirst for adventure. They exchanged countless letters while Philip served in the Royal Navy during World War II. They married in 1947 after courting for a year. 

PRINCE PHILIP'S DEVOTION TO THE MILITARY

Philip joined the Royal Navy as a teenager at the beginning of World War II in 1939. He worked as a searchlight control officer who helped spot enemy crafts during the day and night, beginning at HMS Ramillies, moving to the HMS Valiant shortly afterwards, and HMS Wallace.

Philip quickly rose through military ranks, serving as the first lieutenant by 1942. He was praised for his brave contribution to the war and was heavily decorated for his service during the war. However, his service extended beyond the war and the Navy. 

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Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, prior to his marriage to Princess Elizabeth, saluting as he resumes his attendance at the Royal Naval Officers School at Kingsmoor, England, July 31, 1947. | Source: Getty Images

He held the post of colonel-in-chief for several British and overseas regiments and trained as a pilot with the Royal Air Force. He had completed just under 6,000 hours of flight time by the time he gave up flying in the late 1990s.

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Philip ended active duty four years after marrying the queen and when she ascended the throne in 1952. He was disappointed about having to stop serving but also said:

"But then, equally, if I stopped and thought about it, being married to the Queen, it seemed to me my first duty was to serve her in the best way I could." 

Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nick Carter, paid tribute to Philip's bravery during military duty. He said: "The Duke of Edinburgh served among us during the Second World War, and he remained devoted to the Royal Navy and the Armed Forces as a whole."

The Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh re-visit Broadlands, to mark their Diamond Wedding Anniversary on November 20. | Source: Tim Graham/Getty Images

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A DEVOTED FATHER TO ALL FOUR OF HIS CHILDREN

Philip had four children with the queen, the Prince of Wales, Princess Royal, the Duke of York, and the Earl of Wessex. He was devoted to all his children and had a unique relationship with them. 

His oldest child, Prince Charles, was born in 1948. The two were very different, with Philip calling Charles a romantic. "That means we see things differently, and because I don't see things as a romantic would, I am unfeeling," he said. 

Royal biographer, Penny Junor, said that Charles and Philip had a strained relationship and didn't speak to one another like a normal father and son. Royal correspondent Robert Johnson said that Philip found Charles exasperating: 

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“And the fact that he wasn’t able to make more of a go of his marriage to Princess Diana was at least as much his son’s fault as his daughter-in-law’s.”

Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth, Prince Edward and Prince Charles. | Source: Getty Images

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Princess Anne was born in 1950 and was very close to her father. The two shared similar personalities and a love of horse riding and sports. Royal commentator Victoria Arbiter said, "She's no-nonsense, she's very much like her father in that regard, and Anne just gets on with it."

Anne spoke of her father as a person who treated everyone as individuals. She added that he encouraged her to push her boundaries. "And a person you could bounce off ideas, but if you were having problems, you could always go to him and know that he would listen and try to help," she said. 

The second-oldest son, Prince Andrew, was born in 1960 and had a strained relationship with his father as an adult. Following Andrew's divorce from Sarah Ferguson, Philip said that everything he had worked for for 40 years was in vain. 

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Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward waving to the crowds from the balcony at Buckingham Palace, during the Trooping of the Colour. | Source: Fox Photos/Getty Images

Following allegations of Andrew's relationship with the convicted sex offender, Jeffery Epstein, the royal family announced that Andrew would not be invited to Philip's 100th birthday celebrations. 

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Philip's youngest son, Edward, was born in 1964 and had a close bond with his father. Philip broke royal tradition when he chose to be present for Edward's birth. Edward spoke out in support of his father many times and often called him brilliant. He praised his wonderful sense of humour and his charity work. 

Philip was much loved by his grandchildren and took William and Harry under his wing when their mother, Princess Diana, died. "He is strong and consistent. He's been there for all these years, and I think he's the rock, you know, for all of us," Princess Eugenie said

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip arrive to attend a State Banquet in Dublin Castle on May 18, 2011 in Dublin, Ireland. | Source: Getty Images

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THE QUEEN'S TRIBUTE TO PHILIP AFTER HIS DEATH

In April 2021, the palace stated the queen's "deep sorrow" at the passing of Philip due to old age. The flag at Buckingham Palace was lowered to half-mast, and a notice was posted on the gates to mark his death.

The queen posted a tribute to Philip on her official social media account with a poem from U.K.'s Poet Laureate Simon Armitage and a montage of important moments, including their wedding day and the birth of their children and grandchildren. 

PHILIP'S FINAL WORDS HOURS BEFORE HIS DEATH

In an interview with the "BBC," Charles recalled his final conversation with Philip just before his death. He broached the topic of his 100th birthday celebration even though he knew that Philip wasn't keen on having a party. 

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Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales attend the unveiling of a statue of Queen Elizabeth October 27, 2016 in Poundbury, Dorset. | Source: Getty Images

Knowing that his father's hearing was failing, he shouted, "we're talking about your birthday! And whether there's going to be a reception!" Philip humorously replied, "Well, I've got to be alive for it, haven't I?" Charles recalled it as a happy memory. 

Charles described his father fondly and recalled how he would make up silly games and read to him and his siblings. He added that Philip's expeditions made him concerned for the environment and drove him to speak out about climate change and biodiversity loss, which prompted his involvement in the World Wildlife Fund.

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