Prince Philip is a familiar face by the side of the Queen at public events. Despite the Duke of Edinburgh retiring from official duties in 2017, and scaling back his public outings, he is still spotted at key events for the Royal Tamily such as the wedding of Prince Harry, 34, and Meghan Markle, 37, last May. The Duke, 97, is known by many for his bold sense of humour and sometimes controversial comments. During one trip to the Commonwealth, he was on the receiving end of high amounts of attention.
Sarah Bradford documented the 1953-1954 Commonwealth royal excursion in her new book, Queen Elizabeth II Her Life in Our Times.
She talked of the massive reaction when the royal couple arrived in Australia, after spending time in New Zealand.
Detailing the swathes of crowds who had come to welcome them, she said: “During a 23 mile state procession, some of the crowd of 1,200,000 burst through police barriers, halting the royal car on eight separate occasions.”
“Men and women clutched Philip’s arm, tried to shake his hand, patted the royal shoulders and tossed confetti and flags into the car.
“Later even Prince Philip was flustered by a crowd of teenagers wolf whistling and screaming: ‘Isn’t he nice? He’s beautiful.
“At the Lord Mayor’s ball that evening many of the 2,000 guests, instead of dancing, stood round the dais staring at the Queen.”
Sarah told how it was later widely believed no other royal tour could match that, and replicate the popularity.
This was because the introduction of televised royal and state visits would mean people could watch from home, and did not feel it necessary to line the streets.
Meanwhile, while Prince Philip may have been taken aback by the affection he received, he was rather more blunt when it came to outlining his travel requirements.
Members of the Royal Family usually always fly commercial class, particularly when venturing abroad for a personal reason, or on official duties they make take a private jet.
The latter helps the monarch and her relatives build strong relationships between states.
Prince Philip previously announced to the Aircraft Research Association: “If you travel as much as we do, you appreciate the improvements in aircraft design of less noise and more comfort – provided you don’t travel in something called economy class, which sounds ghastly.”
His words leave no doubt as to just what the Queen’s husband believes appropriate for the family.
Meanwhile, many of the family members have been spotted on commercial jets before, opting to fly with British Airways or even UK budget airlines.