The Prince of Wales has revealed how he spoke to his father the day before he died about planning his 100th birthday – and got a vintage Prince Philip response.
In a poignant interview, Charles says he called the Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor on April 8 and broached the delicate subject of a party to mark his centenary in June.
‘We’re talking about your birthday,’ Charles said, slightly tremulously, knowing Philip wasn’t keen on the idea.
Aware his father was also slightly hard of hearing, he repeated himself a little more loudly: ‘We’re talking about your birthday! And whether there’s going to be reception!’
Prince Charles has revealed how he called his father at Windsor the day before he died about planning his 100th birthday. Pictured: Prince Charles and Prince Philip during a visit to Poundbury in 2016
The Prince of Wales says he called the Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor on April 8 and broached the delicate subject of a party. Pictured: The Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Charles in 1969
The response was typically pithy. ‘Well, I’ve got to be alive for it, haven’t I?’ Philip challenged.
‘I knew you’d say that!’ Charles shot back in what was possibly their last conver-sation together.
The charming exchange is recalled by the future king in a new BBC One programme to be broadcast on Wednesday night, Prince Philip: The Royal Family Remembers.
It is a remarkable tribute featuring every one of Philip’s children and adult grandchildren recalling some of their fondest – and funniest – memories of the indomitable duke, who died on April 9 at the age of 99.
The Mail’s Robert Hardman wrote and co-produced the programme, interviewing Prince Charles and other members of the family in the process.
He has given the Mail’s Weekend magazine an exclusive insight today – and it is clear it is one of the most personal and intimate pieces of royal television ever produced.
Prince William shares a hilarious anecdote about his adored grandfather, who famously created the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme.
On an outing to a remote spot on the Queen’s Balmoral estate, the two of them stumbled across a group of young walkers undertaking an expedition for their award.
William recalls: ‘He stopped and wound down his window and said, ‘Good morning. How are you getting on?’ To which the smallest young chap at the back turned round and effectively said, ‘Jog on Grandpa!’
In fact, William admits, the response was ruder than that. But his grandfather, unperturbed, wound the window back up, turned to his grandson and said: ‘The youth of today!’ He found the whole exchange hilarious.
Prince Harry, taking part in his first ‘family project’ since quitting as a working royal, says his grandfather was always ‘unapologetically him’.
Speaking from California, he also offered praise for 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 during 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 the reception for the G7 leaders in Cornwall this year
‘From my grandmother’s perspective, to have someone like that on your shoulder for 73 years of marriage – it doesn’t get better than that,’ Harry says.
And Philip’s granddaughter, Princess Eugenie, reveals that contrary to conjecture that he never got to met his great-grandson, August Philip, the two did in fact bond before he died.
‘I brought little August to come and meet him,’ she says, emotional at the recollection. ‘I told him that we’d named him after him. It was such a lovely moment. We were very lucky to do that.’
Princess Anne, his only daughter, says her father always made a point of coming up to read his children a bedtime story.
Even at the age of 99 the duke’s death, which was said to have been very peaceful, still clearly came as a shock to his family.
‘He was getting older and he absolutely hated it,’ says his granddaughter Zara Tindall. ‘He was the worst patient in the world! But, actually, you never really prepare yourself 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. They’re a very difficult generation to live up to but I’m very proud and very pleased that I knew him.’
A wistful Charles adds: ‘We were lucky to have him for nearly 100 years.’
Prince Philip: The Royal Family Remembers, Wednesday, 9pm, BBC1