'Legacy film' shows Prince Philip in his true colours at last

The Queen's husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, agreed to co-operate in a new fly-on-the-wall documentary, to be shown on Channel 3 (ITV1) tomorrow night because he was worried about his gaffe-prone and grumpy image.

The two-part special called The Duke, which took 18 months to make, is significant because 88-year-old Philip, who has a heart condition and was recently hospitalised with a chest infection, has never before allowed the cameras to concentrate on him alone.

'Legacy film' shows Philip in his true colours at last

11th May 2008
Daily Mail

Prince Philip agreed to co-operate with an ITV fly-on-the-wall documentary the first part of which is screened tomorrow because he was worried about his gaffe-prone and grumpy image and wanted 'a legacy film' about his life.

The two-part special called The Duke, which took 18 months to make, is significant because 88-year-old Philip, who has a heart condition and was recently hospitalised with a chest infection, has never before allowed the cameras to concentrate on him alone.

It includes an interview with Sir Trevor McDonald, unique footage taken by the Duke in the 1950s on the Royal Yacht Britannia and scenes of him barbequeing at Balmoral and charming Carla Sarkozy.

Meeting troops: Prince Philip made the documentary in order to set the record straight

But while Buckingham Palace insists the Duke did not have final editorial control, a condition of filming was that he reserved the right to "advise on factual matters."

The cautious approach follows last year's row with the BBC over footage misleadingly edited to imply that the Queen had stormed out of a photo shoot. But the palace was said by ITV to be "very happy" after seeing a rough cut of The Duke and did not request alterations.

A Royal insider said: "Philip very much sees this as a legacy work. He was keen to have something to counteract his image, which is often unfairly negative. The project went to ITV as the Royal Family's relationship with the BBC has been deteriorating for some time and last year's row caused an enormous loss of good will."

Producer Kim Turberville and director Sebastian Duthy also made The Prince of Wales: Up Close for ITV two years ago. Ms Turberville said: "Philip got tired of people saying things about him that were not true and felt it was time he set the record straight. The theme is that he is a moderniser.

"He shows us the things that drive his life issues such as ecology, conservation, over-population, wildlife and the future of young people.

"But because he does not like talking to camera or talking about himself, it was also one of the most difficult films I have ever made."

Prince Philip and friend Lady Romsey at the Windsor Horse Show yesterday

Mr Duthy added: "He's difficult but not cantankerous. He gave his tacit approval for us to film him but he doesn't like being filmed. He doesn't look at the camera or make eye contact but he knows you are there."

There are scenes of Philip meeting troops. Revealed, too, is the Duke's artistic side. There are images of an oil painting by him of the Queen eating breakfast.

And his portraitist Jonathan Yeo, son of MP Tim Yeo, said his ideas about Philip had been "turned upside down." Mr Yeo said: "He was constantly asking me about what colours I was using and how I mixed the paints. He is very knowledgeable about art and brought his own pictures to show me."

At the time he married in 1947, Philip was hit by a controversy over alleged family links to the Nazis. But the film reveals Philip's mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, was last year posthumously awarded Israel's highest medal, for hiding a Jewish family in Nazi-occupied Athens.

Ms Turberville said: "Unknown to the rest of the world, the Duke went to Israel to collect the award on her behalf."

The Duke, ITV1, 9pm tomorrow and the same time on Tuesday


Prince Philip is a great man who has done remarkable service for Britain.

- Simon, Dawlish, UK

I have always had great admiration for Prince Philip, not easy to be married to the sovereign, any more than it was for Albert to be married to Victoria, both men having strong characters.

- Susan Hill, France

I've always believe Prince Philip was of good honest character. The UK could not have had a better and more loyal consort for her majesty all these years. It says a lot for Elizabeth Windsor's judgement at a very young age. She knew he was "the one" and insisted on marrying him despite opposition in court circles at the time. How wonderful that Prince Philip has proved all the naysayers wrong.

- Helen, Delta, British Columbia, Canada

For all his gaffs and grumpiness would we have Prince Philip any other way? Not me, it is part of the charm of the old man!

- Mike, Cornwall, UK

Like Prince Albert the country will only recognise his contribution when he is long gone. Sad! Hope it won't be for a long time though.

- Veronica, Manchester, UK

I have met HRH The Duke of Edinburgh on a number of occasions and found him to be delightful. I have always admired him. God bless you Sir!

- Janet, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK

I have had the great honour of meeting Prince Philip twice and on both occasions found him to be humorous, thoroughly at ease with the public and very flexible when arrangements had to be changed due to last minute security considerations. Sometimes his dry sense of humour is misinterpreted (deliberately or otherwise) by the press, which is rather sad, considering the many worthwhile and unsung projects that he passionately cares for.

- Major David Robertson, Koh Samui, Thailand

I shall very much enjoy watching this programme. The Duke has always struck me as a man who is totally devoted to his family. He respectfully steps aside and in public plays 'second fiddle'to the Queen. Amongst everything which is ever said or written about him he keeps a dignified silence because he is too proud to lower the standard of our monachy.

He is an excellent role model to both the younger Royals and British people alike. Perhaps if the rest of this country showed as much respect and dinity as him we wouldn't be in the mess we are now!

- Anon, Wolverhampton, UK

Prince Philip has been a wonderful servant of this country, a fitting consort to a wonderful Queen. How lucky we are to have a monarchy and not to have a politician as Head of State! I somehow don't think that Cherie Blair would have done as well. God bless him and his wife!

- George, Bolton, England, UK

I think HRH Prince Philip is a real character, genuine, funny, charming and not afraid to call a spade a spade. Good for him.

- Wen, Oxford, UK

Sounds like a programme I would relish seeing; unfortunately here in Canada very, very little British content is ever aired and absolutely NO recently produced programmes. However, I hope to see this one (as would many Canadians, I am sure)sometime, perhaps in the future. One would hope I might procure it by download sometime..one big bonus of the Internet! Anyhooo...will bookmark it as a 'must see' and look into this when I'm next in London...hopefully very soon. Thanks for letting us expats here in Canada know what's happening in the world.

- Will Oliver, Winnipeg, Canada

Last edited by Blackleaf; May 11th, 2008 at 12:22 PM..
Thanks Blackleaf...I'll check it out.

I have never actually thought negatively of him. Nor overly positive I guess........ it will be interesting to see what they have put together with his endorsement.

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