Prince Philip protected Harry and William after Diana’s death: ‘It’s about them’

Prince Philip applauded for his role in the Commonwealth

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The Queen attended the memorial service for the Duke of Edinburgh on Tuesday as the Royal Family pays tribute to Prince Philip. The monarch, 95, is attending the significant occasion in honour of husband Philip having taken a step back from public life in recent months due to health concerns. She travelled from Windsor Castle to central London accompanied by Prince Andrew, having been determined to be at Westminster Abbey, and was seen during footage of the intimate ceremony. It has been 11 months since Philip’s passing, the royal having played an integral role in supporting the Queen and provided senior presence within The Firm.

One instance where he stepped up to the mark came following the death of Prince William and Prince Harry’s mother, Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997.

At the time, the two boys and their father, Prince Charles, moved in with the Queen and Philip at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.

According to Tina Brown, the author of The Diana Chronicles, Philip entertained and distracted William and Harry, who were 15 and 12, respectively, with a variety of outdoor activities.

Ms Brown wrote: “A member of the Balmoral staff noted that Prince Philip, who had effectively lost his own mother at the age of ten when she was committed for three years to an asylum in Switzerland, was brilliantly effective with his grandsons, offering them gruff tenderness and outdoor activities like stalking and hiking to tire them out.”

The Duke of Edinburgh also prioritised the well-being of his grandsons during the planning of their mother’s funeral.

Anji Hunter, then Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government relations director, recalled how Philip looked out for William and Harry.

She told the Evening Standard: “We were all talking about how William and Harry should be involved and suddenly came Prince Philip’s voice.

“We hadn’t heard from him before, but he was really anguished. ‘It’s about the boys,’ he cried, ‘They’ve lost their mother.’”

Later, on the day of Diana’s funeral, Philip reportedly offered them words of support over having to walk in the funeral procession, telling them: “I’ll walk if you walk.”

Various reports have suggested that, during Harry and Meghan Markle’s unceremonious exit from the Royal Family, the Duke of Edinburgh was unhappy with the couple.

Royal expert Ingrid Seward told Vanity Fair: “It was up to Harry and Meghan to listen but they didn’t and Philip has always been very protective of the Queen so if anyone upsets her, they upset him too.”

However, Harry showed his gratitude for his grandfather when paying tribute to Philip shortly after his death.

The Duke of Sussex said of Philip: “He was authentically himself, with a seriously sharp wit, and could hold the attention of any room due to his charm – and also because you never knew what he might say next.

“He will be remembered as the longest reigning consort to the monarch, a decorated serviceman, a Prince and a Duke.”

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Harry continued: “But to me, like many of you who have lost a loved one or grandparent over the pain of this past year, he was my grandpa: master of the barbecue, legend of banter, and cheeky right till the end.

“He has been a rock for Her Majesty the Queen with unparalleled devotion, by her side for 73 years of marriage, and while I could go on, I know that right now he would say to all of us, beer in hand, ‘Oh do get on with it!’

“So, on that note, Grandpa, thank you for your service, your dedication to Granny, and for always being yourself. You will be sorely missed, but always remembered – by the nation and the world.

“Meghan, Archie, and I (as well as your future great-granddaughter) will always hold a special place for you in our hearts.”

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