Prince Philip’s international meddling nearly caused ‘major obstacle’ for Japan and US

Princess Delphine among Belgian royals attending Brussels event

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The National Archives in London released diplomatic papers, which showed Prince Philip wrote to the then Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone in 1986 expressing concerns over a proposed airfield. The Duke of Edinburgh even asked Mr Nakasone to “resist” the plan in order to protect the island’s wildlife.

Both Tokyo and Washington expressed frustration at Philip’s intervention, as the air base was of “vital importance” in maintaining a security alliance between Japan and the US.

The airfield was due to be built on Miyake Island, south of Tokyo, and would be used by the US Navy to carry out training.

However, the island is also home to a number of endangered species and part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park.

The Duke of Edinburgh was president of World Wildlife Fund International at the time and wrote to draw attention to the impact of the project on the environment.

The Japanese Foreign Ministry wrote to the British Embassy to express their “concern” about the Duke’s interference in a “matter which is politically controversial and sensitive in Japan”.

The US also accused his comments of causing a “major obstacle” for Japanese-American relations regarding the building project, according to The Telegraph.

Mr Nakasone wrote to Prince Philip, saying: “With utmost respect to Your Royal Highness, I feel that there might be several relevant facts which may not have been adequately brought to the attention of Your Royal Highness.

“The construction of the runway on Miyake-jima is of vital importance for maintaining the effective operation of the Japan-US Security Treaty, which forms the vital part of our national security policy.”

Eventually, plans for the runway were dropped due to opposition from those living on the island and environmental groups.

Prince Philip was known for making several gaffes during his time as a serving royal.

In 1997, he called a Cambridge University student who did not recognise him a “bloody silly fool!”

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He told a policewoman wearing a bullet-proof vest on the island of Lewis in Scotland in 2002 that she looked “like a suicide bomber”.

He also asked the then Scottish Conservative leader Annabel Goldie Pointing in 2010 if she had knickers made out of tartan.

Prince Philip passed away in April 2021 at the age of 99.

He had already stepped down from royal duties in 2017, 70 years after he became the Queen’s consort.

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