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Prince Philip unmasked as ‘quite shy’ in surprise confession from Joanna Lumley

Prince Philip discusses the success of the monarchy in 1969

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The Duke of Edinburgh’s health has caused concern after he was taken into King Edward VII’s hospital in London last week. The 99-year-old, who will mark his 100th birthday in June, was reported to be “ok” by Prince William. Royal sources revealed that doctors were “keeping an eye on him” and that it was “a precautionary measure”. 

Speculation about the wellbeing of the Queen’s husband has led many to reflect on the Duke’s life. 

Former BBC journalist John Humphrys previously recounted two instances where Philip swore at him – once because he had mistakenly taken his car.

Others including TV host Jonathan Ross joked that he had “royal Tourette’s syndrome” during an episode of Room 101 in 2000.

But Ab Fab star Ms Lumley revealed a different side to the Duke that many are unlikely to know. 

The actress, now 74, has experienced a resurgence in popularity in the wake of her ITV show Joanna Lumley’s Home Sweet Home – Travels In My Own Land.

She painted a contradictory portrait of Prince Philip, where she branded him both James Bond-esque but also timid.

Ms Lumley said: “I think he is just an extraordinary character.

“He rides, sails, drives horses, fishes [and] swims.”

Her comments emerged in the 2016 ITV documentary When Phillip Met Prince Philip: 60 Years Of The Duke Edinburgh Award.

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The film honoured the Queen’s husband and featured clips from various celebrities and Royal Family members who knew him best.

In one surprising confession, Ms Lumley argued: “He really could have been [James] Bond.”

She pointed out that “he was a naval commander as well, like Commander Bond”, so it wouldn’t be too hard to imagine him as 007.

Ms Lumley concluded Prince Philip was “incredibly good fun to be with” – however she noted he wasn’t always confident.

She said: “But he is quite shy.

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“I think sometimes, [at] some huge events I’ve seen him go, ‘Oh God, I’ve got to do that’ – I’ve actually heard him saying that.”

But Ms Lumley claimed his sense of duty led him to carry out the task ahead. 

She continued: “But then he pulls himself together head up, chin out and off he goes.”

This wasn’t the first time, Ms Lumley spilled the beans about the Royal Family. 

In 2019, she claimed the Queen used “second-hand” cutlery, bedsheets and linen in Buckingham Palace.

Ms Lumley countered the presumption that visitors “must need new things” upon a visit to the royal residence.

She said: “When you go to stay at Buckingham Palace, guess what?

“You eat off second-hand knives and forks, the bed you sleep in is second-hand [and] the bed linen is second-hand.”

Ms Lumley suggested that people should not turn their noses up at previously owned items, when she proclaimed: “And that’s Buckingham Palace!”

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She argued that if it was “good enough for the Queen” then it would be “good enough for me”.

In another confession about Philip, Ms Lumley claimed she made a cheeky request from the Duke.

During one visit, she noted that he was “very, very interested in art” and described him as “a fine painter”.

Ms Lumley recalled that she “loved” one of the paintings he showed her. 

Shortly after, she found out “he had done it himself” but claimed the Duke “was dismissive” about the work.

This led Ms Lumley to ask: “Sir, I wonder if – when you shuffle off the mortal coil – whether that would find its way into my hands?”

The confession led interviewer Phillip Schofield to yell “What?” and even the actress was shocked by her demand.

Ms Lumley said: “I don’t know how I had the nerve.”

Later she admitted it was because she “wanted the painting” and added: “I liked it so much. I wanted it. What impertinence.”

Ms Lumley did not reveal Prince Philip’s answer to her question and did not clarify whether he would allow her to inherit the artwork. 

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