Prince Philip: A Royal Life
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PBS NewsHour looks back at the life and legacy of the Duke of Edinburgh.
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Special | 56m 54s | Video has closed captioning.
PBS NewsHour looks back at the life and legacy of the Duke of Edinburgh.
Problems Playing Video? | Closed Captioning
ANNOUNCER: This program was made possible to your PBS station, from viewers like you.
(MUSIC) JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening, and welcome to this "PBS NewsHour" special, "Prince Philip: A Royal Life."
The duke of Edinburgh passed away last Friday at the age of 99.
He leaves his wife, Queen Elizabeth, a widow, and his four children, Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, as well as eight grandchildren.
Prince Philip had experienced various health complications over the past several months, and was most recently released from the hospital in March.
To help us put Prince Philip's long life into context, I am joined now by Wesley Kerr, a former royal correspondent for the BBC and other outlets.
He first met Prince Philip in the late 1970s.
Wesley Kerr, thank you so much for talking with us.
Tell us, what are the British people saying about this man who was in their lives for, what, more than a lifetime?
WESLEY KERR, Former BBC Royal Correspondent: So, I wouldn't say it is national mourning, but I think we're all very, very sad.
And many people are deeply depressed, especially older people, people in the services, people in the hundreds of charities that he worked in, and people who see the monarchy as a fantastic symbol of Britain, which kind of endures whatever the other difficulties are.
The queen's popularity has always been enormous, and Philip's with it.
The queen is still very much the most loved person in the United Kingdom.
And I think it would be possible to say -- and I think this has become evident since he died -- that Philip is perhaps the most or was perhaps the most respected person in the United Kingdom.
It has been very much a joint thing, although she has been the sovereign and the queen, I think that the fact that he has been her strength and stay, that he has been beside her for all the 250 foreign tours, tens of thousands of engagements.
So it has been a team.
We feel for her with her grief at this terrible time, after 73 years of marriage.
And even though he had been in the hospital, there was a shock at the suddenness of this, because he was due to be 100 in two months' time.
And people thought, he's come out of the hospital, he's had maybe a new stent, maybe he will make it to 100.
JUDY WOODRUFF: It sounds as if people almost had a personal relationship with him, despite the fact it's -- he is the royal and someone who is apart from them.
WESLEY KERR: Yes, I met him many times.
Not that long ago, I met him on a ship in - - moored in the center of London for an event to commemorate the Second World War.
And he had earlier that day been at Parliament, opening Parliament, with Her Majesty the Queen and all the ceremonial.
And I said to him: "Oh, you must be a bit tired to have this engagement after that."
He said: "Call that work?"
(LAUGHTER) WESLEY KERR: So, there was a rather characteristic sort of bluntness about him.
But he was actually very, very warm.
He was very much just an all-around action man.
And I sense that the queen is a more placid person, and he -- and they were the most amazing foil for each other.
When they would be abroad on a tour, and they would be dining in some huge room, they would arrange the tables so that they could see each other, and they would smile across at each other.
So, actually, it was a great love story.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Wesley Kerr, thank you for beginning to fill out the portrait of who Prince Philip was.
We will be back with you in a little while.
But, first, here is a look at the life of Prince Philip from Sian Williams and our partners at ITN Productions.
SIAN WILLIAMS: He was the man who, for seven decades, walked with the queen, accompanying, supporting and loving the most famous woman in the world.
ARTHUR EDWARDS, Royal Photographer, The Sun: He was just perfect for the country at the time, perfect for the queen.
Must've been a special marriage.
SIAN WILLIAMS: His Royal Highness Prince Philip, duke of Edinburgh, was the longest-serving royal consort in British history.
ROBERT JOBSON, Author, "Diana": He shared a lot of the difficult times with the queen in a way that no one else could.
SIAN WILLIAMS: As a partner in the most high-profile of marriages, his character influenced the evolution of the British monarchy.
SARAH BRADFORD, Author, "Queen Elizabeth II": He wasn't part of the great social set of England at that time, and so he was a breath of fresh air.
SIAN WILLIAMS: A fascinating, complex man, Prince Philip was the foreign-born noble who overcame tragedy before earning his place at the very heart of the British establishment.
RIGHT HONORABLE SIR NICHOLAS SOAMES, Former M.P.
and Friend and Prince Charles: He had an astonishingly difficult childhood, one which would've daunted, I think, anyone else, frankly.
SIAN WILLIAMS: He was the all-action sailor who served Britain with distinction during the Second World War.
HUGO VICKERS, Author, "Elizabeth, The Queen Mother": It was always said by naval officers that he would have gone to the top of the Navy, and he would've done it on his own merit.
SIAN WILLIAMS: Before sacrificing personal ambitions in service to royal duty.
BARONESS FLOELLA BENJAMIN, Member, House of Lords: He gave up everything for his wife.
And there are not many men in this world who would do that.
SIAN WILLIAMS: If Her Majesty became the epitome of unbroken discretion and calm, Prince Philip,was, by comparison, larger than life.
PRINCE PHILIP, Duke of Edinburgh: Finished?
(LAUGHTER) SIAN WILLIAMS: And a man of strong opinions.
PRINCE PHILIP: It remains to be seen whether those in political authority can shoulder their responsibilities in time.
CHARLES ANSON, Former Press Secretary to the Queen: He enjoyed getting things done.
And getting things done means being outspoken.
SIAN WILLIAMS: Free-thinking and direct, the duke of Edinburgh most certainly was, but, ultimately, he was also the husband, whose devotion to his wife and to his adopted nation allowed her reign to be long and successful.
QUEEN ELIZABETH II, United Kingdom: He has quite simply been my strength and stay all these years.
And I and his whole family and this and many other countries owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim or we shall ever know.
SIAN WILLIAMS: Prince Philip, as consort to the queen, came to represent all things British.
However, the man himself was famously, of course, not British-born.
HUGO VICKERS: Prince Philip was officially born as a prince of Greece and Denmark, but the Greek royal family actually had no Greek blood whatsoever, because a Danish prince, his grandfather, had been sent down there in 1863 to become king of Greece, and his mother was a Battenberg, so she actually was a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria, born at Windsor Castle in 1885.
SIAN WILLIAMS: It was a tumultuous time in Greek history.
With the life of his father under threat following a military revolt, the infant Prince Philip was whisked to safety in a British warship, as the family began years of exile across Europe.
In later life, Buckingham Palace would become his official residence.
But, during those childhood years, Prince Philip would live at various times in France, Germany and across Britain.
PHILIP EADE, Author, "Prince Philip": When people asked him later on in life, "What language did you speak at home?"
for example, "What language did you speak at home?"
he would sort of shoot back very sort of furiously, and say, "What do you mean at home?"
because, essentially, he didn't really have a home.
SIAN WILLIAMS: Philip was the youngest of five children and the only boy.
As well as dealing with their life in exile, the marriage of his parents soon ended, his father effectively abandoning the family, his mother suffering a nervous breakdown, which meant the young Philip would be cared for by an English guardian.
HUGO VICKERS: He once said to me: "My father was away.
My mother was ill.
I just had to get on with it."
And that was very much his attitude all through life.
SIAN WILLIAMS: Prince Philip's family may have been royal, but, after fleeing Greece, had little wealth and were almost entirely dependent upon the generosity of their relatives.
And it was those relatives who funded Philip's education, most importantly, allowing him to attend the newly establishment Gordonstoun.
Gordonstoun had been founded by a Germany emigre Kurt Hahn, whose principles would leave a lasting impact upon the young Philip.
KATE WILLIAMS, Author, "Young Elizabeth": Prince Philip, through Gordonstoun, developed a love of outdoor exercise and a real movement away from introspection.
You don't want to sit around thinking about your feelings.
You do your duty, and that's what's important.
So, Prince Philip was schooled in duty, not only through a royal upbringing, but, most of all, through Gordonstoun, when the idea was you create self-disciplined, organized, efficient individuals not prone to too much introspection.
PHILIP EADE: He had a sort of inbuilt self-reliance even before he went to Gordonstoun, but I think Gordonstoun definitely helped to foster it and sort of build it into something more durable, perhaps.
SIAN WILLIAMS: It was whilst studying in Scotland that Philip was rocked by yet more family heartbreak when his sister Cecile was killed in a plane crash.
HUGO VICKERS: He was called into his headmaster's study at Gordonstoun and told that his sister had died with all her family.
And the fact that she was pregnant at the time, that really did upset him hugely.
SIAN WILLIAMS: One figure who would eventually help the young prince navigate such a difficult adolescence would also become his guardian, Louis Mountbatten.
PHILIP EADE: Louis Mountbatten, when he took over the job of sort of bringing Prince Philip up, his most significant -- first most significant thing was to steer Prince Philip away from his original ambition, which was to join the RAF, and to follow the sort of Mountbatten family tradition and join the Royal Navy.
SIAN WILLIAMS: The first step in that seafaring career would see the teenage Philip attend the Royal Naval College at Dartmouth, where he'd excel.
Crucially, Dartmouth was the venue in July 1939 where his path would cross that of 13-year-old Princess Elizabeth during a royal visit.
Lord Mountbatten had arranged for his 18-year-old nephew to escort the king's daughters.
SARAH BRADFORD, Author, "Queen Elizabeth II": He was extremely handsome, tall and blonde and suntanned and athletic.
And I think he showed off a little bit, jumping over tennis nets and this kind of thing.
And I think that both the queen, or Princess Elizabeth, as she was then, and Princess Margaret, were pretty impressed.
The queen later on authorized it to be known that she had fallen in love with him then.
KATE WILLIAMS: It was a meeting that was to some degree engineered by his uncle Mountbatten.
But what uncle Mountbatten couldn't engineer was the fact that Elizabeth fell head over heels in love with Prince Philip.
He was handsome.
He was an excellent cadet.
He was the top in his year.
He was going on to a great naval career.
And it was the beginning of the war.
This was a time in which the great respect for sailors, the great respect of military service was absolutely flowering.
SIAN WILLIAMS: The meeting in Dartmouth was important, but the priority for all, of course, during the next few years would be the Second World War.
Now a commissioned officer, Philip would serve the Royal Navy with distinction, even being mentioned in dispatches following the successful Battle of Matapan in 1941.
During the war, the prince and princess had corresponded.
And, with peace secured, the relationship could grow, with Prince Philip becoming a more noticeable presence within royal circles.
Of course, no royal courtship could progress without the permission of the king, which, after some consideration, was forthcoming.
HUGO VICKERS: I think King George VI admired Prince Philip very much.
I think his only real concern was that Princess Elizabeth, Princess Margaret hadn't had much of a childhood and adolescence, and then all this happened very quickly at the end of the war.
And the princess was very young.
And I think he just wanted to have a little bit more time with her to be absolutely certain she was doing the right thing.
ANNOUNCER: Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, now his Royal Highness the duke of Edinburgh, leads.
But the eyes of the world are centered on Buckingham Palace.
SIAN WILLIAMS: With the king's blessing secured, having renounced his claim to the Greek and Danish thrones and now a British subject, King George awarded Philip the title duke of Edinburgh.
He was able to marry Princess Elizabeth in 1947.
ANNOUNCER: And now they are man and wife.
The princess had been in the abbey for nearly an hour.
What followed the service was the ornate pageantry of a state occasion.
It showed that this was no ordinary wedding, but that of a king's daughter.
Following the bridal procession came the bride's father and mother.
KATE WILLIAMS: It was clearly a love match.
You only had to look at the photographs of them.
However posed the photographs were, they were clearly a young couple who were so in love with each other, a very handsome young couple.
And for the public, the idea of a love match and their beloved princess being in love was so exciting to them.
People after the war were desperate for some good news.
SARAH BRADFORD: They were grim times in 1947, austerity, postwar difficulties.
And it was Winston Churchill who called their wedding in November 1947 a flash of color on the hard road we have to travel.
And I think that's how people saw it, a lovely party-ish occasion.
SIAN WILLIAMS: The years immediately following the royal wedding were among the happiest the couple would ever enjoy.
As well as the birth of their first two children, Charles and Anne, Prince Philip continued his naval career, with Princess Elizabeth happy to support her husband.
HUGO VICKERS: 1947 to 1952 were, by and large, a very happy time for the young couple, particularly when they were out in Malta, where Prince Philip was stationed.
And Princess Elizabeth could drive her own car.
She could go to the cinema.
She could go to polo matches.
She could go and go dancing in the hotel and lead the life of a young naval officer's wife.
SIAN WILLIAMS: However, one cloud in the life of the royal couple steadily darkened during this otherwise relatively carefree period.
The health of King George VI began to decline, so much so that Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip began to assume some of his public duties.
In February 1952, while the couple were touring Africa in this capacity, King George died in his sleep.
At a stroke, both their lives changed forever.
SARAH BRADFORD: There they were out in Kenya.
And the queen was sitting in a Treetops lodge watching animals at dawn at the watering hole, when her father died at Sandringham in Norfolk in the early hours of the morning.
And she didn't know.
And then she came back to find Prince Philip, very upset, telling her what had happened.
And when he was told by his aide, the aide described him as looking as though half the world had fallen on him.
ANNOUNCER: Elizabeth Alexandra Mary is now, by the death of our late sovereign of heavy memory, become Queen Elizabeth II.
SIAN WILLIAMS: As well as the personal family loss, the prince was immediately aware that his naval career was effectively over, as he was now consort to the queen.
PHILIP EADE: I think he would've contemplated 20 years which they could lead their own lives, and during that time, undoubtedly, his ambitions were concentrated on the Navy, and he might well have gone a long way.
HUGO VICKERS: The worst thing that happened to Prince Philip in the course of his adult life really was the early death of the king, because he wanted to prove himself in the Navy.
And it was always said by naval officers that he would have gone to the top of the Navy, as did his uncle Lord Mountbatten.
ANNOUNCER: The crown of England, the archbishop performs the simple, yet the most significant ceremony of the queen's coronation.
SIAN WILLIAMS: The coronation of Elizabeth II would take place the following year in June 1953, an event watched by some 20 million people across the nation.
MEN AND WOMEN: All hail the queen!
All hail the queen!
All hail the queen!
KATE WILLIAMS: The defining day of Prince Philip's life was the coronation, because, until then, they'd lived pretty much as a wealthy, but normal couple in the '40's and '50's.
Now it is different.
He is the consort.
He is the consort to this great queen, to this major queen, and his job now is to support her and to support the role.
And that's, I think, quite difficult for any man at that period of time.
We're talking about the time of the '50s housewife, when it was all about the woman supporting the man, difficult for any man, but particularly different for a man like Prince Philip, who has been a leader, who's been what we would say was an alpha male, a leader, an alpha male, a commander.
And now his job is to support his wife.
ANNOUNCER: The duke of Edinburgh comes to vow lifelong allegiance to his queen.
HUGO VICKERS: The archbishop of Canterbury, he was all for keeping Prince Philip sort of out of the main part of the service as much as possible.
And the queen was equally as determined to bring him in as much as possible.
SIAN WILLIAMS: When Elizabeth had become queen, Prince Philip expected, as was customary, the new royal household would cease to be Windsor, and instead take its name from him, as patriarch.
But this didn't happen.
SARAH BRADFORD: Oh, well, Prince Philip was absolutely furious and upset and said: "I'm nothing but a bloody amoeba.
I can't even give my name to my children."
KATE WILLIAMS: And he said that every man in Britain, even the poorest working man, he gives his children his name, and he could not.
And that was a real blow to his manhood.
It really was.
And so it was very upsetting to the queen, but she simply knew it had to be the Royal House of Windsor.
It could not be the Royal House of Mountbatten.
That was not possible.
The politicians wouldn't allow it.
The royal family wouldn't allow it.
SIAN WILLIAMS: Within the family domain, Prince Philip's function was head of the household.
But in the public arena, as consort to the queen, no role had been clearly defined for him.
It would be up to the duke of Edinburgh to carve it out.
ROBERT JOBSON: Prince Philip was somebody who was a bit of a workaholic, if everything should be known.
He was full of ideas, full of energy.
I think it was quite difficult for the queen and the courtiers to actually know what to do with him.
SIAN WILLIAMS: In response to this challenge, Prince Philip decided he could use his influence to champion areas of life often overlooked at the time.
PRINCE PHILIP: Ladies and gentlemen, it is clearly our duty as citizens to see that science is used for the benefit of mankind, for what use is science if man does not survive?
SIAN WILLIAMS: British technology, science and industry were early beneficiaries.
But the range of issues Prince Philip would come to engage with was impressive, illustrating from the outset he was a progressive campaigner well ahead of his time.
PRINCE PHILIP: It's totally useless for a lot of well-meaning people to wring their hands in conference and to point out the dangers of pollution or destruction of the countryside, if no one is willing or capable of taking any action.
Well, sir, time is fast running out, and it remains to be seen whether those in political authority can shoulder their responsibilities in time and act quickly enough to relieve a situation which grows more serious every day.
(APPLAUSE) DICKIE ARBITER, Former Royal Press Secretary: Prince Philip started banging on about the environment, about fossil fuels being in short supply, oil running out.
And he was talking about the environment in the '50s.
But, in the '50's, nobody took any notice, because nobody knew anything about the environment.
SIAN WILLIAMS: Alongside his work in conservation, in 1956, he founded the Duke of Edinburgh's Award, a self-improvement program for young people which would eventually become one of his greatest legacies.
His sincere desire to help the next generation make the most of their lives was evident from the outset.
PRINCE PHILIP: This scheme is not a cure.
It's a preventative.
Once you have got a soccer hooligan, you have got a soccer hooligan, and somebody else is going to have to try and cure him of that.
The purpose of the scheme, basically, is to try and catch people while they are moderately civilized still and keep them that way.
BARONESS FLOELLA BENJAMIN: I have a feeling the reason why the duke created the Duke of Edinburgh's Awards was to make sure that the people who were left behind were always thought about, given opportunities, because, once you give a child or a young person opportunity to prove themselves, they flourish.
And that's what the Duke of Edinburgh Awards is all about.
QUESTION: So, how would you sum up the sort of -- the identikit young person you might meet?
Are they enthusiastic?
Are they lazy?
Are they inquiring?
PRINCE PHILIP: The sum of all, yes.
I don't think you want to generalize about young people.
It's very dangerous.
(LAUGHTER) QUESTION: But there's no sense you have that they're less willing to take risks nowadays?
We hear this talk about...
PRINCE PHILIP: I think there's a great danger about being generalizing about young people, because you can find somebody who's the exception, or not just somebody, but a whole group of them who are exceptions.
SIAN WILLIAMS: During his life, Prince Philip was actively involved with hundreds of charities and organizations.
One of his strengths as an advocate was his willingness to speak his mind on a range of topics, while often writing his own speeches as well.
CHARLES ANSON: Prince Philip could -- had a little bit more room for maneuver.
He still had to support the queen's neutrality, but he could encourage discussion and reach conclusions that perhaps allowed people to say and do what they thought.
DICKIE ARBITER: With Prince Philip writing his own speeches made those around him, his staff, his secretary, a little bit nervous, because they were never, ever terribly sure what he was going to say until he delivered it.
He was one of those people who tend to play close to his chest.
And he'd never pass the speech around for others to see and others to vet it.
He knew very well that he had to steer off politics, but there was a way of delivering a message that might have a political overtone and deliver it in such a way that it didn't rock the boat.
SIAN WILLIAMS: However, Prince Philip's frankness could take his audience by surprise on occasion, as it did in 1969 while in Canada, where he seemed to suggest Canadians could sever ties with the monarchy, if so inclined.
PRINCE PHILIP: I believe that it's part of the structure of our society, particularly in this country, in the United Kingdom, I think it's valid, but it is for the purpose of the community here.
And this is how it should develop.
If there is a consensus of opinion that it's outlived its value, well, then let's come to an amicable agreement about it and not, not -- because, really, we should be beyond the point where we have to have a, oh, I don't know, a revolution or something about these things.
CHARLES ANSON: He enjoyed speaking out.
He enjoyed getting things done.
And getting things done means being outspoken at times.
BARONESS FLOELLA BENJAMIN: He was a man who was ahead of his time, when you think of all the things he campaigned for, the environment, food, looking after the world.
If you're ahead of your time, sometimes, you're misunderstood.
And I think that's what probably happened on many, many occasions to the duke of Edinburgh.
SIAN WILLIAMS: In later life, and to his dismay, Prince Philip's comments would come to define him in the imagination of some.
They were not talking about his work.
They were talking about his gaffes.
GYLES BRANDRETH, Author, "Philip and Elizabeth": He was very conscious that he'd become gaffe man.
And it annoyed him.
He hated it.
As he said to me: "You know, when the queen comes into a room, she is the queen and people respect that.
She is the event.
When I come into the room, well, I go down endless lines shaking hands, and I do at least try to make one person in the lineup laugh."
ANNOUNCER: The prince's latest gaffe was made as he accompanied the queen's visit to an aboriginal cultural center.
The palace leapt to his defense today, reportedly claiming that his comments were meant in good humor.
ARTHUR EDWARDS: I remember once in Brisbane, and there were some Aboriginal elders.
And he came up to them after the queen met them.
And he came second, of course, as always.
But he said: "Oh," he said, "I have just met your other tribe up the up the road there."
He said: "Are you still chucking spears at each other?"
And they all laughed.
And, of course, when it was reported the next day, it looked awful for him.
He was very angry about that, because the other tribe that he'd visited earlier had told him that: "We used to go to war with them and we used to throw spears at each other," because he thought that was tremendously funny.
SIMON VIGAR, Channel 5 News: Some of the gaffes, he shouldn't have said.
Some of them, he didn't say, and they have just become urban myths.
But when he said those sort of comments, for instance, the slitty-eye comment in China, the fuse box which looked as if it had been put in by an Indian, I don't believe he was saying that out of nastiness.
GYLES BRANDRETH: I do remember once, at a private dinner party, there were perhaps a dozen men around the table, all of whom knew the duke well.
And a friend of mine and a friend of his, more his generation than mine, began telling a joke that was clearly going to have some sort of racial subtext to it.
And the duke of Edinburgh, although this was a private occasion, stopped him and said: "I don't think we like that kind of humor here."
SIMON VIGAR: I think he was just saying comments, like many people of his generation said, just trying to break the ice.
CHARLES ANSON: In the presence of the monarch, which tends to silence people rather a lot - - even sometimes people of enormous capability and experience get totally tongue-tied in front of the queen for some reason.
But, with Prince Philip, his sort of easier way with a joke really did break the ice, and walking, for example, onto a factory floor or to some great occasion with hundreds of people there, just that little remark, and people laughing, even if they hadn't heard the joke a little further down in the room, just sort of warmed up the occasion in the best possible way.
ANNOUNCER: The guns were deafeningly close, and Prince Philip's amusement may well have been caused by the discomfort of the assembled photographers.
GYLES BRANDRETH: If ever he saw he was on a foreign tour, he saw there was a British news crew going to be accompanying it, his heart sank, because he knew all they would be looking for was the gaffe.
And he said: "I also know that the tour would not be reported at all unless there is a gaffe.
SIAN WILLIAMS: That sense of frustration led to a sometimes fractious relationship with sections of the media.
DICKIE ARBITER: Prince Philip views of the British tabloid press were always pretty hard.
He didn't like them.
He didn't like any of them.
There was an occasion I remember so well when a reporter from a tabloid tried to be friendly, I suppose.
It was at a press reception.
I can't even remember which country it was, but said: "How was your flight, sir?"
And Prince Philip said: "Have you ever flown?"
And the reporter said: "Yes."
He said: "Well, it was just like that."
PRINCE PHILIP: In a way, if you're presented with all these things and all those things, you know more or less that if you're going to say something, it's going to be taken down.
But if you're having a conversation, and somebody pokes one of these at you with a tape recorder behind or one of those long listening devices which they can overhear a conversation 20 yards away, you get a bit anxious.
SIMON VIGAR: He resented the media.
And that's because, in the '50s and '60s, he tried to work with the media.
He was the person who brought television in.
And he tried to build a constructive relationship.
He felt that was just thrown back in his face.
QUESTION: You suggested to a chap with one of these things how he might dispose of it.
(LAUGHTER) (CROSSTALK) PRINCE PHILIP: Well, I'm glad that he took it down.
I hope he did it.
(LAUGHTER) SIAN WILLIAMS: The relationship between monarchy and media would become further strained during 1992, with some press reports criticizing the cost to the public purse of repairing the fire-damaged Windsor Castle.
DICKIE ARBITER: What rankled him, I think, about the press was the constant drip-drip feed, certainly in the 1980s and the 1990s, constantly having a go, constantly having a snipe at the royal family, constantly having a go at royal family finances.
ANNOUNCER: But there is every sign that it was the public outcry over the queen's finances which followed the Windsor fire, and with the queen herself under criticism from some M.P.s, apparently making no gesture towards the cost of repairs, which has brought forward the announcement, which the palace, the Treasury and the inland revenue have been piecing together.
SIAN WILLIAMS: Headlines were also dominated by reports of the breakdown of three royal marriages.
QUEEN ELIZABETH II: 1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure.
In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an annus horribilis.
(LAUGHTER) QUEEN ELIZABETH II: I sometimes wonder how future generations will judge the events of this tumultuous year.
I dare say that history will take a slightly more moderate view than that of some contemporary commentators.
DICKIE ARBITER: The queen was getting blamed left, right and center by the media of not being able to control her family, which is a bit -- which was a bit rich, suggesting that the queen should be able to control her family, control their marriages.
There's nothing that she could do about it.
These are adult people.
And if the marriage goes pear-shaped, then that's it, nothing she can do about it.
But she did have the support of Prince Philip.
She was able to talk to him.
He was a comfort to her.
He was - - he'd always been a comfort to her right from the day that they got married on 20th of November, 1947.
SIAN WILLIAMS: Without doubt, the most damaging incident was the separation of Prince Charles and Diana, princess of Wales.
For his part, Prince Philip was criticized by sections of the tabloid press for being cold towards his daughter-in-law.
CHARLES ANSON: And I think he was sometimes portrayed as, for example, being very critical of the princess of Wales, of Princess Diana.
But, in fact -- although I haven't seen those letters, but he wrote to her quite often in the '80s and the early '90s and was compassionate, in the sense: Look, I know what it's like.
I came into the royal family as a foreigner and as someone outside the British royal tradition.
And I know acceptance is difficult, and the media attention is difficult.
And I think his attitude was a lot more sympathetic than he's given credit for from outside.
ROBERT JOBSON: Unfortunately, he wasn't able to help that marriage.
And I think he was very sad about it, because I think he hoped very much that they could resolve the situation, because he knew it would be damaging not only to them personally, which it undoubtedly was, but to the institution of monarchy and, therefore, to his wife.
ANNOUNCER: In their first official announcement, detectives investigating Saturday's fatal crash have said the driver of the limousine in which the princess of Wales and Dodi Fayed were travelling had been drinking that night, the amount of alcohol in his blood well above the legal limit.
SIAN WILLIAMS: If the monarchy had felt under attack in 1992, five years later, in August 1997, the death of Diana in Paris would precipitate the fiercest criticism they had ever faced.
As head of the royal household, Prince Philip would help steer them through this dark hour.
DICKIE ARBITER: Prince Philip was a tremendous support to both William and Harry, as was the queen.
They were up at Balmoral when William and Harry were there.
Prince Charles was there with them, their dad.
And this was a tremendous shock to everybody.
And what needed to be done was to help and counsel William and Harry to come to terms with the tragedy that had happened to their mother before they had to return to London.
There was a lot of vicious press reporting aimed specifically at the queen and Prince Philip for not being in London, particularly the queen for not being in London at the time of the buildup to the funeral, not considering for a moment that William and Harry needed their grandparents and needed their father and needed to be shielded from everybody.
QUEEN ELIZABETH II: This week at Balmoral, we have all been trying to help William and Harry come to terms with the devastating loss that they and the rest of us have suffered.
SIAN WILLIAMS: With the royal family back in the nation's capital, behind closed doors, Prince Philip would help guide his grandsons through perhaps the most difficult event of their lives.
ANNOUNCER: Emerging from St James's Palace, duke of Edinburgh behind Earl Spencer.
And they are walking down to the Mall, just as the cortege will pass.
And they are clearly going to take their places behind it and walk behind it on what is now the traditional processional route from here.
SIMON VIGAR: Philip knew that the protocol, whatever your age, was to walk behind the coffin of your parent.
And William, understandably, wasn't sure whether he could do that.
Now, it wasn't protocol for Philip to walk behind the coffin of his daughter-in-law, but he said to William: "If I walk, will you walk with me?"
DICKIE ARBITER: And any footage that anybody looks at today or tomorrow or any time in the future, they will see Prince Philip gesticulating in conversation with William all the way along the processional route, pinpointing landmarks, to take his mind, not only off the tens of thousands of people lining the route, but the millions watching global television.
ANNOUNCER: A reassuring pat on the back of Prince William from his grandfather.
SIAN WILLIAMS: As well as becoming Britain's longest-serving consort to a reigning monarch, Prince Philip was also the oldest ever male member of the British royal family.
PRINCE PHILIP: I can only assume that it is largely due to the accumulation of toasts to my health over the years that I am still enjoying... (LAUGHTER) (APPLAUSE) PRINCE PHILIP: I have reached a fairly satisfactory state of health and have reached such an unexpectedly great age.
MEN AND WOMEN (singing): Happy birthday to you.
SIAN WILLIAMS: Prince Philip had remarkable energy levels.
When he celebrated his 90th birthday in 2011, he stated that he would, understandably, begin to wind down his workload.
That didn't seem to happen.
Prince Philip suffered several health scares in later life, the most high-profile in 2012 during the queen's Diamond Jubilee.
Poor weather during the river pageant caused Prince Philip to become ill, and then hospitalized with an infection, forcing him to miss some of the subsequent celebrations.
SIMON VIGAR: At the service at St. Paul's, the queen was going up the staircase at the cathedral on her own.
And, suddenly, she looked really alone.
You looked at those pictures and you thought, something's wrong here.
And, of course, what was missing was the person, the one person who's been by her side for more than 60 years.
MAN: I think just a good rest is probably required.
Mind you, I think... (CROSSTALK) MAN: Yes, inevitably, I think, so absolutely.
And we were all -- he's been watching it all on television, so... SIAN WILLIAMS: Prince Philip would recover, but perhaps his absence had spurred some to reflect on the prospect of losing him one day.
Now that day has come, what insights do we have about the real duke of Edinburgh?
SIMON VIGAR: He would admit he was irascible and didn't suffer fools gladly, but he was a complicated guy.
He was also very funny.
REPORTER: The queen and the duke certainly do seem particularly at ease here.
It was the duke himself who decided that they should spend the actual day of their anniversary on Malta, for this very private of public couples, quite a romantic gesture.
PRINCE PHILIP: Finished?
(LAUGHTER) BARONESS FLOELLA BENJAMIN: The first time I met the duke of Edinburgh was at a luncheon.
And I was asked to sit next to him.
And they told me he was only going to be there for half-an-hour.
He came and he spoke to the person on his right for 25 minutes.
Then he suddenly turned to me and said: "So, tell me who are you, and what do you do?"
And I said to him: "I will tell you what, my love.
You tell me who you are and what you do, and I will tell you all about myself," which he thought was hilarious.
And we got on so well because I stood up to him.
(LAUGHTER) SIAN WILLIAMS: Prince Philip was a stickler for accuracy.
The details mattered to him.
GYLES BRANDRETH: I'd written a biography of him for one of his charities.
I put somewhere in the book that ,during the Second World War, Prince Philip had served on HMS Ramillies.
He said: "I didn't serve on HMS Ramillies."
I said: "You did, sir.
You gave me the logbooks.
I know you served on HMS Ramillies."
He said: "I did not serve on HMS Ramillies."
I said: "I said, excuse me, sir.
You provided the logbooks.
I have seen the photographs.
You served on HMS Ramillies."
He said: "I did not serve on HMS Ramillies.
I served in HMS Ramillies.
You don't live on a ship, do you?
You live in a ship.
You don't live on your house.
You live in your house.
You don't know anything, do you?"
CHARLES ANSON: I remember, at the time of the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the Second World War, he was being interviewed by a television team about his own contribution.
The interviewer asked him: "Well, what did it feel like?
You were being fired upon, and you were there in a huge naval battle during the Second World War.
What did it feel like?
And was it very frightening?"
He said: "Well, you just got on with the job.
And then, afterwards, there weren't counselors around saying, look, do you feel alright?
Are you OK?
Are you going to be able to manage?
You just got on with the job, you know?"
And, immediately, that was picked up by the press, saying, this is very unfeeling and all the rest of it.
And I remember thinking, actually that's the man.
He just gets on with it.
RIGHT HONORABLE SIR NICHOLAS SOAMES: The caricature of Prince Philip as, you know, the sort of - - the sort of idiotic headlines of bluff, foot in the mouth, was so far and away from the truth of the figure that he was.
SIAN WILLIAMS: Few knew Prince Philip better than his first-born son, Prince Charles, who at one point during his own adulthood had been critical of his upbringing.
That, in turn, had Fed into a public perception of a difficult relationship between father and son, consort and future king.
RIGHT HONORABLE SIR NICHOLAS SOAMES: Prince Philip is a product of his -- was a product entirely of his generation.
He served in the war.
He had an astonishingly difficult childhood, one which would have daunted, I think, anyone else, frankly.
He grew up in the school of hard knocks, then went straight to the Navy, as I say, a very distinguished war.
And so, inevitably, his character is different from that of his sons, because that's the way it worked.
ROBERT JOBSON: There was never any doubt that they both loved each other very much.
They would always greet each other with a hug and a kiss and depart in the same way.
Now, the difference is that they would have different views on different subjects, diametrically opposed views half the time.
And so, therefore, there would be quite a volatile discussion going on.
But, as someone said to me, that doesn't mean they don't like each other.
It just means they disagree with each other.
And they would part with a kiss.
And there was never any doubt that there was love between them.
SIAN WILLIAMS: That love of family grew as the royal family grew.
Philip lived long enough to see the arrival of eight grandchildren and see them marry.
He was also able to welcome the arrival of great-grandchildren, a fourth generation of royals.
Of course, the most important relationship of Prince Philip's life was with his wife, Her Majesty the Queen.
And in terms of defining his contribution and legacy, it's her words that guide many.
QUEEN ELIZABETH II: All too often, I fear Prince Philip has had to listen to me speaking.
(LAUGHTER) QUEEN ELIZABETH II: Frequently, we have discussed my intended speech beforehand.
And, as you will imagine, his views have been expressed in a forthright manner.
(LAUGHTER) SIMON VIGAR: The only person's opinion that really counts here is the queen's.
And she has said more than once that she couldn't have done it without him.
He said he tried to support the queen without getting in the way.
And I think, on those terms, he was an incredibly successful and very important consort to the queen.
And, as she said, we owe him a debt of gratitude more than probably we will ever know.
QUEEN ELIZABETH II: He is somebody who doesn't take easily to compliments, but he has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years.
And I and his whole family and this and many other countries owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim or we shall ever know.
ROBERT JOBSON: I think the queen was absolutely right in what she said about the duke of Edinburgh being her strength and her stay over many years, because I think that it's clear -- it's almost an impossible job, the head of state.
And to do so on your own, and it's quite a lonely place.
And I think that the one person that she could be absolutely confident and have confidence in was her husband.
And so he shared a lot of the difficult times with the queen, in the way that no one else could.
CHARLES ANSON: If I had a proposal, she would often say: "What does Philip think?
Have you talked to him?"
And if I had, I would tell her.
If I hadn't I'd say: "I haven't talked to him, but would you like me to do so?"
And she would say: "Yes, certainly."
And once I did and came back to her with Prince Philip's views, I can't remember any occasion where she didn't immediately say, "Well, right, go ahead."
So, I think he was a great source of both comfort, but also wise advice.
And I think, partly, that was because he was a very intelligent, thoughtful man, but also because he was very independent-minded.
SIAN WILLIAMS: But, after August 2017, that comfort and wise advice for the queen came behind the scenes, and not in public.
At the age of 96, Prince Philip retired from public duties.
Taking the salute at Buckingham Palace as captain general of the Royal Marines was his final solo public engagement, after 65 years of service.
In his later years, there would still be important family matters to contend with.
Less than two years after attending the wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle at Windsor Castle, Philip saw his much-loved grandson withdraw from royal duties.
This included Harry relinquishing his title as captain general of the Royal Marines, a position handed to him by his grandfather.
RICHARD KAY, Daily Mail: Philip's reaction would've been one of great disappointment.
He'd formed a very close bond with Harry over the years, so there had been this long link between grandfather and grandson.
Philip, too, his whole life has been shaped by a sense of duty, supporting the monarchy, supporting the queen, of course, first and foremost.
And I think he felt that Harry was letting the side down.
Philip, I know, did not approve.
SIAN WILLIAMS: And, at the age of 97, Prince Philip was involved in a car crash near Sandringham that injured a member of the public.
Despite these events, the importance of the monarchy would once again come to the fore at a time of crisis during the coronavirus outbreak.
As the U.K. struggled with such an unprecedented emergency, Prince Charles was one of tens of thousands to be infected, and spoke to the nation in a video message.
The queen also spoke to the public, and Prince Philip was with her in Windsor, as she gave only her fifth unscheduled TV address to the nation.
RICHARD KAY: Philip was in isolation with her at Windsor Castle, where the broadcast was made.
I'm absolutely certain he would've cast his eye over the words that she was going to speak.
The sentiment was very much the queen's, of course, reflecting her own childhood and the epic years of the war, where she has such strong memories.
And, of course, Philip shares those memories.
SIAN WILLIAMS: It was a moment when the monarch was able to offer some comfort, with Prince Philip giving her his support, as he had done for decades.
CHARLES ANSON: His life as a whole was one of service, of duty, of interest, and of doing things that make the world a slightly better place.
That's part of his legacy.
PRINCE PHILIP: It's been a challenge for us, but, by trial and experience, I believe we have achieved a sensible division of labor and a good balance between our individual and joint interests.
Of course, after 50 years of experience, I find there's a great temptation to give advice.
(LAUGHTER) PRINCE PHILIP: The trouble is that no two marriages are quite alike.
However, I think that the main lesson that we have learned is that tolerance is the one essential ingredient of any happy marriage.
It may not be quite so important when things are going well, but it is absolutely vital when things get difficult.
And you can take it from me that the queen has the quality of tolerance in abundance.
(LAUGHTER) SIAN WILLIAMS: Among the countless images he took of the couple, for Arthur Edwards, perhaps this one encapsulates best the bond between queen and consort, husband and wife.
ARTHUR EDWARDS: That was the last day of their last trip to Australia.
And they were leaving that big barbecue in Perth to get the plane home.
And the queen was trying to see as many people as possible.
And, obviously, not everybody could get -- give their flowers to the queen.
And so the duke was collecting the flowers and bringing them over to the queen.
And it was that look of her face at him, absolutely adoringly at him, and taking the flowers.
And it was just -- it says everything, that -- just that one look on her face and his smile, and the fact that they're so connected.
And he was just perfect for the country at the time, perfect for the queen.
And, certainly, we have just got to be grateful we had him.
SIAN WILLIAMS: The duke of Edinburgh served this nation during war and long years of peace.
For seven decades, he supported his wife and sovereign loyally.
Though never seeking commendation, Prince Philip was, unquestionably, the foundation upon which Her Majesty's successful reign was built.
And, for that, above all else, he should be remembered.
JUDY WOODRUFF: What a life, and more than seven decades of marriage.
Thank you again to Sian Williams and our partners at ITN Productions.
I'm joined once again by longtime British royal correspondent Wesley Kerr.
Wesley, you listened to that, you watched that story of Prince Philip, and you think about the relationship of the two of them.
We're so accustomed to seeing them together.
What is it going to be like for Her Majesty the Queen without him?
WESLEY KERR: To lose your strength and stay, your life partner, who you have been in love with since 1939, who you have been married to since 1947, and with whom you have shared this astonishing life -- people think of the British royal family as austere.
But, actually, in these palaces, in the private areas, there is lots of laughing and joking and humor.
And he was able to make her laugh, to calm her down.
I mean, she is actually quite a shy person naturally.
You would often see her having to sort of prepare herself mentally before going into a big event, going into a room.
But she always knew, there he was behind her, beside her, or working the room on the other side.
And then, in addition to the 250 tours that they did together in different countries, often lasting weeks and weeks in the old days, when it was on the yacht, he did hundreds and hundreds of visits in support of his charities or military causes.
So, the amount of energy and hard work, I think, is something that he was doing really until he was 95.
He made over 5,500 speeches all over the world about environmental causes, about green issues, about conservation.
They invented this thing called a walkabout, where they would just like kind of plunge into a crowd, not in a politician sort of glad-handing way, but standing back and letting people chat to them.
But he would shepherd people forward.
So, if there were people on the other side of the crowd or people who thought they wouldn't get a chance to meet her, he would shepherd them forward or collect their flowers and give them to the queen.
So, they were the most incredible team.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Remembering Prince Philip, what he meant to Queen Elizabeth and to the commonwealth.
Wesley Kerr, longtime royal correspondent, thank you so much.
And that concludes this "PBS NewsHour" special, "Prince Philip: A Royal Life."
I'm Judy Woodruff.
I hope you will join us each evening on the "PBS NewsHour" on your PBS station and online at PBS.org/NewsHour and our social channels.
Thank you for joining us, and good night.