Princess Anne heartbreak: 'Not many people understood' Philip – but 'we have to move on'

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Not many people understood how broad Prince Philip’s interests were, according to his only daughter Princess Anne. The Princess Royal sat down for an interview for the first time since the Duke of Edinburgh’s death. 

As she marked what would have been her father’s 100th birthday, Princess Anne said: “There were not many people who understood just how broad his interests were and how supportive he was to an astonishingly wide range of organisations.

“His perspective was really important.”

Throughout his decades of service to the Crown, Prince Philip became associated with more than 990 organisations – either as patron, president or honorary member.

Following his retirement, Prince Philip started passing on to other members of the Royal Family some of his patronages and titles.

In late 2017, Prince Harry took over his grandfather as the Captain-General of the Royal Marines.

In July 2020, the Duke of Edinburgh took part in a poignant ceremony in which he relinquished his role of Colonel-in-Chief of the Rifles regiment, passing on the honour to the Duchess of Cornwall.

However, the royal patronage of many other organisations supported by Prince Philip will likely go “into retirement” due to the limited amount of working royals the Firm can count on.

During her interview with ITV royal editor Chris Ship, Princess Anne also reflected on Prince Philip’s “life experiences” and how they made her father an inquisitive person.

READ MORE: Royal row erupts: Enough! You’ve upset the Queen again Harry!

She said: “I think your life experience makes a huge impact.

“He’d seen a lot of it and across a really wide area of both work and industry and in academia.

“He probably asked more questions than he gave opinions.

“He was always good at that.”

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Princess Anne shared with her father not just an understanding of duty but also a keen interest in engineering.

The Princess Royal had previously said she would have become an engineer had she not been born in the Royal Family.

Reflecting on how similar she grew up to be to her late father, she said: “I think that’s probably true because I think if anything broke, there was always ‘Have a look at this, see if you can mend it’.”

The Princess gave her interview at Gatcombe Park in Gloucestershire, as she presented an award by the Royal Academy of Engineering to Dr Gladys West to acknowledge how her work modelling the earth’s surface led to the development of GPS satellite positioning.

Dr West, who received a medal bearing Prince Philip’s name, has become the first woman in 30 years to receive the award.

Prince Philip died on April 9, two months before his 100th birthday.

In the wake of his death, the Princess Royal paid tribute to the Duke, calling him “my teacher, my supporter and my critic”.

She said: “You know it’s going to happen but you are never really ready.

“My father has been my teacher, my supporter and my critic, but mostly it is his example of a life well lived and service freely given that I most wanted to emulate.

“His ability to treat every person as an individual in their own right with their own skills comes through all the organisations with which he was involved.

“I regard it as an honour and a privilege to have been asked to follow in his footsteps and it has been a pleasure to have kept him in touch with their activities.

“I know how much he meant to them, in the UK, across the Commonwealth and in the wider world.

“I would like to emphasise how much the family appreciate the messages and memories of so many people whose lives he also touched.

“We will miss him but he leaves a legacy which can inspire us all.” 



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