On Air Now

On Air Next

‘He was very much a listener’: Prince Harry reveals Duke of Edinburgh’s advice before he served in Afghanistan

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp

The Duke of Edinburgh was a great listener, who liked barbeques and watching the Hairy Bikers, members of his family have revealed.

The Duke of Sussex has spoken for the first time about his grandfather since his death in April, saying he gave him the space to talk about his time in Afghanistan.

Prince Harry was twice deployed to Helmand province during the UK’s military operations, and in a BBC tribute programme to Prince Philip he describes how his grandfather would “never probe” but listen.

During the show, Prince Philip’s passion for barbecues is recounted by his children and grandchildren, and his love of cookery shows is revealed, with the Hairy Bikers among his favourites.

During Prince Philip: The Royal Family Remembers, Harry says: “Going off to Afghanistan he was very matter of fact and just said, ‘Make sure you come back alive’… then when I came back, there wasn’t a deep level of discussion, more a case of, ‘Well you made it. How was it?’ That’s how he was.

“He was very much a listener, he sort of set the scene for you to be able to share as much as you wanted to share but he would never probe.”

Prince Harry in Afghanistan
Image: Prince Harry was twice deployed to Afghanistan

Harry first served on the front line in Afghanistan as a forward air controller, from 2007 to 2008, co-ordinating air strikes on the Taliban before his presence was revealed by foreign media and he was flown home.

More on Duke Of Edinburgh

He was later able to return to the front line, serving as an Apache helicopter co-pilot gunner during from 2012 to 2013.

More than a dozen royals pay tribute to the duke and his seven decades of public service in the one-hour programme, which was filmed before his death aged 99.

This includes all of the Queen’s and Philip’s children – the Prince of Wales, the Princess Royal, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex – and their adult grandchildren, the dukes of Cambridge and Sussex, princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, Peter Phillips and Zara Tindall.

Prince Philip’s love of barbecuing, which once saw him task a royal engineer with making a trailer to house his grilling equipment, is a running theme.

The Prince of Wales said about his father: “He adored barbecuing and he turned that into an interesting art form. And if I ever tried to do it he… I could never get the fire to light or something ghastly so [he’d say]: ‘Go away!'”

Philip’s cooking skills were praised by his grandson the Duke of Cambridge, who said: “Every barbecue that I’ve ever been on, the Duke of Edinburgh has been there cooking… he’s definitely a dab hand at the barbecue.

“I can safely say there’s never been a case of food poisoning in the family that’s attributed to the Duke of Edinburgh.”

Sophie, the Countess of Wessex added: “Cooking is something that I love talking to him about. And he loves watching cookery programmes. Hairy Bikers, I think is one of his favourites.”

The Queen was not interviewed for the programme, which also features the duke’s long-serving staff and a look at his study, private office and library.

Prince Philip, in his capacity of Colonel, Grenadier Guards, chats to sergeants in March 2017. Pic: AP
Image: Philip’s dedication to the nation’s military was also celebrated in the BBC programme. Pic: AP

The programme, which will air on Wednesday at 9pm on BBC One, was originally conceived to mark the duke’s 100th birthday in June, but the nation’s longest-serving consort died two months before his centenary.

The Duchess of Sussex, who has accused the Royal Family of racism, the Duchess of Cambridge and other spouses of the Queen and Philip’s grandchildren do not appear.

Philip’s dedication to the nation’s military was celebrated by Prince Charles: “Well he took very seriously the fact that he was involved in the three armed forces… and obviously the Navy was his main service but he took an inordinate interest in everything to do with the other two.

“He read up an awful lot and thought about it and so he certainly put a lot of the generals and others through their paces, if you know what I mean. He’d always thought of a better way of doing it.”

William described how the duke, who served as a naval officer during the Second World War, was concerned about the care the armed forces received.

He said: “He’s always set a very good example about how we have to look after the welfare of the military and represent them and be there for them, and understands, you know, the trials and tribulations that they all go through.”