Lady India Hicks shared a touching tribute to the late Duke of Edinburgh in which she hailed his mixture of ‘teasing and unexpected kindness’ one of the Royal Family’s most valuable assets.
The British aristocrat is the granddaughter of the Earl Mountbatten and daughter of Lady Pamela Hicks, a friend of the Queen and Prince Philip, and took to social media to share a picture of the pair in 1954.
The 53-year-old posted an image of the monarch accompanied by the duke and her mother as Her Majesty opened the third session of the Second Parliament of Ceylon, now Sri Lanka.
The engagement, held at the Independence Hall in Colombo, was part of a six-month Commonwealth Tour, which included State Openings of Parliament in New Zealand and Australia.
The Queen and Prince Philip are pictured with Lady Pamela Hicks as Her Majesty opened the third session of the Second Parliament of Ceylon in 1954
She told a story shared by her mother, who recalled the moment Prince Philip ‘burst out laughing’ when a small dog jumped out of the crowd and onto a vacant throne.’
The photo showed Her Majesty wearing her Coronation gown and necklace while Lady Pamela donned the Hicks Tiara, gifted to her ahead of her wedding to interior designer David Hicks in 1960.
Lady Hicks penned on Instagram: ‘Goodness, they look serious here. Well, it was serious, it was the opening of parliament in Ceylon.
‘My mother, standing behind the Queen, says it was so clear to everyone that Prince Philip played an enormous part in the success of those Commonwealth Tours and indeed later, to the success of the Queen’s reign, ‘Because of his mix of teasing and humor, with unexpected kindness and thoughtfulness.’
The British aristocrat, pictured in 2019, is the granddaughter of the Earl Mountbatten and daughter of Lady Pamela Hicks, a friend of the Queen and Prince Philip
‘But she remembers them feeling absolutely ludicrous, climbing into long dress and tiara during broad daylight, on their way for another opening of another parliament.
‘At one moment during a grueling civic reception the formalities were lightened when a little dog came out of the crowd, leapt up the steps and when Prince Philip and the Queen stood during the presentations jumped up onto one of the vacant thrones and raised its paw to the crowd, as though acknowledging their cheers. Prince Philip burst out laughing.
‘A press correspondent later turned to my mother and said ‘The best investment the Royal family has ever made in all its history is the Duke of Edinburgh’.
Yesterday, just 30 mourners, including the Queen, her four children, eight grandchildren, and their respective spouses, gathered at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, to remember the Duke of Edinburgh, who died last Friday aged 99.
Lady India’s mother, Lady Pamela, was herself a royal bridesmaid at the Queen’s 1947 wedding.
Sitting, left to right, Catherine Cameron and Clementine Hambro. Standing, left to right, Lord Nicholas Windsor, Edward Van Cutsem, Sarah Jane Gaselee (in front of India Hicks), Prince Edward, the Prince and Princess of Wales, Prince Andrew and Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones
Lady India was a bridesmaid at the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer. She is pictured second left at the wedding with the Queen and Diana
Her daughter was educated at £40,000-a-year Gordonstoun, near Elgin, Scotland, until she was expelled for inviting boys to her room.
Despite her family and royal connections, Lady India has worked to earn her keep. Originally a model, she became a designer and businesswoman, launching a luxury lifestyle business before closing it last year.
Lady India was one of the five bridesmaids at the 1981 wedding of Diana and Charles, who is her godfather and second cousin.
She had been on holiday in the Bahamas aged 13 when the prince phoned and personally asked her to take on the role.
‘I had to practise,’ Miss Hicks later recalled. ‘It was during these rehearsals I got to know Diana, whom I first met at a dress fitting. She always seemed more like a head girl than a princess-in-waiting, with never a shy moment in private.’