Prince Philip 'ashen-faced' over George VI's death says expert
Prince Philip “realised his entire life was about to change” when he was told King George VI had died, royal commentators have claimed. The Duke of Edinburgh was abroad at the time on a royal tour with his wife of just over four years, the Queen, when news of her father’s passing arrived. Royal experts discussed the consort’s reaction when he was informed of the death on Channel 5 documentary, ‘Prince Philip: The Bachelor Years’.
Former BBC Royal Correspondent Jennie Bond told viewers: “In 1951, King George VI became ill with what was later revealed to be lung cancer.
“It fell to Elizabeth and Philip to take on more royal duties in his place.
“This included a tour of the Commonwealth nations in early 1952.
“They were going to be away for several months.”
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Royal biographer Robert Jobson added: “So they set off for Kenya, hoping that when they came back the king would be okay, but it was not to be.
“Just days after their departure on February 6, King George dies in his sleep.
“A royal aide was the one who broke the news to Philip.
“Philip just looked absolutely ashen-faced because I think he realised that his entire life at that moment was going to change.”
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Royal author Ingrid Seward told Channel 5: “I think he went into shock, put a newspaper over his head and just absorbed this terrible news. Then he went to tell his wife.”
Dr Kate Williams said the Duke of Edinburgh personally informed the Her Majesty about the sudden tragedy as he came to terms with the fact “everything had changed” in his life.
Dr Williams said: “Philip has to break the news to his wife that her beloved father is gone and also that everything has changed overnight.
“She is now the Queen, he is now the consort and the life they had before is over.”
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King George was buried on February 15 in Windsor Castle’s St George’s Chapel.
He was officially succeeded by his daughter, Queen Elizabeth II, on June 2.
Philip left active military service when Elizabeth became monarch.
He was then formally made a British prince in 1957.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s time as royal consort exceeds that of any other consort in British history.
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