Prince Philip’s contribution to society discussed by Witchell
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Prince Philip has often been hailed as a key figure in revolutionising the Royal Family and helping usher the monarchy into the 21st century. But despite his evident commitment to both the Queen and the Crown, the BBC’s Nick Witchell noted not everyone in the Royal Family or the royal household were appreciative of his efforts to modernise the monarchy. Mr Witchell said: “In so many aspects of life that we now take for granted, that the Royal Family are involved with – Prince Charles with the environment, faith and so on – it was actually his father, the Duke of Edinburgh
“It was Prince Philip who pioneered the way in those avenues of our national life, quite a part from the Duke of Edinburgh Awards, which is now active in 130 countries and has seven million participants around the world have benefitted from the programme he set up in the 1950s.
“The courtiers were suspicious of it, they wondered ‘what is this man trying to set up, what is this Duke of Edinburgh Award going to be and what’s it going to do to our young people?’
‘But of course it has just been a force for power and positive energy in young people.
“He found all these different ways to make a real contribution in his own right.”
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The Queen Mother was a particularly strong opponent to Prince Philip’s attempts to modernise both the Royal Family and the household.
The pair reportedly clashed furiously to gain the upper hand in the battle for influence over the Queen in the early years of her reign.
Historian Professor Kate Williams told viewers: “The Queen Mother wants Elizabeth’s monarchy to be exactly the same as George VI. Philip wants things to change.
“So this battle between the Queen Mother and Philip, between the past and the future, begins. And Elizabeth is torn in between them.”
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Following the death of King George VI, the Queen Mother had also allegedly refused attempts to have her relocate out of Buckingham Palace.
Historian Professor Jane Ridley said: “The Queen Mother will not move, and Philip becomes exasperated by this.
“There is a story that, in the end, Philip has to resort to turning off the central heating in the Queen Mother’s apartments. He tries to freeze her out of Buckingham Palace.”
Author Sarah Gristwood said: “He set about reforming some of the more arcane practices in Buckingham Palace.
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“Like the powdering of footman’s wigs.
“Like sending a message verbally from one part of the giant Palace to another, rather than picking up a house phone.”
Prince Philip died “peacefully” on the morning of April 9, 2021 – two months before his 100th birthday on June 10.
The Duke of Edinburgh had been staying at Windsor Castle with Her Majesty as the pair continued to shield together because of the pandemic.
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