The Prince of Wales has revealed how he talked to his father about planning his 100th birthday the day before he died – and got a vintage response from Prince Philip.
In a poignant interview, Charles says he called the Duke of Edinburgh in Windsor on April 8, broaching the delicate subject of a celebration to mark his centenary in June.
“We’re talking about your birthday,” Charles said, shaking a little, knowing Philip didn’t like the idea.
Aware that his father was also a little hard of hearing, he repeated himself a little louder: ‘We’re talking about your birthday! And whether there will be shelter!’
Prince Charles has revealed how he called his father in Windsor the day before he died about planning his 100th birthday. Pictured: Prince Charles and Prince Philip on a visit to Poundbury in 2016
The Prince of Wales says he called the Duke of Edinburgh in Windsor on April 8 and raised the delicate subject of a celebration. Pictured: The Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Charles in 1969
The response was typically snappy. “Well, I have to be alive for it, don’t I?” Philip challenged.
“I knew you’d say that!” Charles shot back into what may have been their last conversation together.
The charming exchange is remembered by the future king on a new BBC One program airing Wednesday night, Prince Philip: The Royal Family Remembers.
It’s a remarkable tribute to all of Philip’s children and grown grandchildren who recall some of their fondest – and funniest – memories of the indomitable Duke, who died on April 9 at the age of 99.
Robert Hardman of The Mail wrote and co-produced the program, interviewing Prince Charles and other family members.
He gave Mail’s Weekend magazine an exclusive insight today – and it’s clear it’s one of the most personal and intimate pieces of royal television ever produced.
Prince William shares a hilarious anecdote about his adored grandfather, who invented the famous Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme.
On a trip to a secluded spot on the Queen’s estate, they encountered a group of young hikers who embarked on an expedition for their prize.
William recalls, “He stopped, opened his window and said, ‘Good morning. How are you?’ Whereupon the shortest young fellow in the back turned and effectively said, “Jog Grandpa!”
In fact, William admits, the response was ruder than that. But his grandfather imperturbably opened the window again, turned to his grandson and said, “The youth of today!” He found the whole exchange hilarious.
Prince Harry, who took part in his first ‘family project’ since quitting as a working royal, says his grandfather was always ‘unabashedly him’.
From California, he also praised the way he supported the Queen.
The Duke of Edinburgh and Prince William at Prince Harry’s Sandhurst Graduation in 2006
The Queen, Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cambridge, the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex at a reception at Buckingham Palace in 2019
The monarch is joined by Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for this year’s reception for G7 leaders in Cornwall
“From my grandmother’s perspective, having 73 years of marriage on your shoulder doesn’t get any better than that,” Harry says.
And Philip’s granddaughter, Princess Eugenie, reveals that, contrary to the assumption that he never met his great-grandson, August Philip, the two were in fact a bond before he died.
‘I brought little August with me to meet him,’ she says emotionally at the memory. “I told him we named him after him. It was such a beautiful moment. We’ve been very lucky to do that.’
Princess Anne, his only daughter, says her father always made it a point to read his children a bedtime story.
Even at the age of 99, the Duke’s death, which would have been very peaceful, clearly came as a shock to his family.
“He got older and he hated it,” says his granddaughter Zara Tindall. ‘He was the worst patient in the world! But you never really prepare for losing him, because he was always there.’
His daughter-in-law the Duchess of Cornwall says: ‘It felt like the end of an era. It is a very difficult generation to live up to, but I am very proud and very happy to have known him.”
A wistful Charles adds, “We’ve been lucky enough to have had him for nearly 100 years.”
Prince Philip: The Royal Family Remembers, Wednesday, 9pm, BBC1