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Prince Philip: The Royals' Sweetest (and Silliest!) Memories of a Man Who Was 'Unapologetically' Himself

·5 min read
Prince Philip, Will, Kate
Prince Philip, Will, Kate

Karwai Tang/WireImage Prince Philip with Kate Middleton and Prince William

Prince Philip held many roles during his nearly 100 years, but patriarch of the British royal family was among his chief legacies, and the BBC One documentary Prince Philip: The Royal Family Remembers explores the life of Philip through the eyes of his children and grandchildren.

The tribute, which was originally planned as a celebration of the Duke of Edinburgh's centenary, aired in the U.K. on Wednesday, with an unprecedented collection of royal family members reminiscing about the prince in interviews filmed both before and after his death on April 9 at age 99.

Below, read some of Philip's family's most cherished memories...

Prince Philip, Prince William
Prince Philip, Prince William

Chris Jackson/WPA Pool/Getty Prince Philip and Prince William

"He's always been a huge presence behind everything we have done really," Prince William said on Wednesday's special.

Royal watchers will recall that William, 39, has shared many thoughtful tributes to his grandfather in the months since his passing. Three days after Philip's death, he posted a never-before-seen photo of his grandfather with Prince George — the same photo that just last week appeared on William's desk in a video to announce a major step forward for his Earthshot Prize competition. George's 8th birthday portrait also gave a sweet, subtle nod to Philip's love of carriage driving.

In the documentary, William was also seen praising Philip for his work cultivating the royals' Sandringham estate, where William and his three children with Kate Middleton live. He revealed, "For me, coming here and now living here, everything that he's done has led up to Catherine and I feeling that this is a part of the country we want to be in. We love this area, it feels like home, and that's because of what he's created."

(Kate Middleton and her three young children did not participate in the documentary, nor did Meghan Markle or her two children with a Prince Harry. And while Queen Elizabeth did not sit for an interview, though she did grant the filmmakers access to Buckingham Palace, including the office Philip used for 70 years, and to an "unrivaled" collection of private film footage of her family.)

Prince Philip grills with Princess Anne
Prince Philip grills with Princess Anne

Alamy Stock Photo Prince Philip grills with Princess Anne

William also shed light on his grandfather's mischievous side when he — along with Princess Anne's children Zara Tindall, 40, and Peter Phillips, 43 — described how noted grillmaster Philip tricked the royal children into playing with their food.

The prank would start with Philip convincing the youngsters to hold a secretly unsealed bottle of mustard between their two hands — then "he ends up slamming your hands together," Zara recalled, clapping her hands for emphasis.

Confirmed William, "And then he'd squish your hands together to fire the mustard onto the ceiling. He used to get in a lot of trouble from my grandmother for covering most of the places where we had lunches with mustard on the ceiling."

British Royals
British Royals

Samir Hussein/WireImage Prince Harry, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip

Prince Harry, 37, also said he'd miss his grandfather's sense of humor, but it was the serious devotion his grandparents showed over 73 years of marriage that inspired his most touching words.

Calling them the "most adorable couple," Harry said, "To me, knowing the cheekiness of him and knowing that behind what the world sees you have two individuals who were very much in love and both, from a very young age, have dedicated their life to service — that is an incredible bond between two people."

He also noted, "I miss him more for my grandmother because I know how incredibly strong she was with him there. I also know she will be okay without him."

Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Indigo/Getty Images Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie and Prince Philip

The topic of love and marriage also inspired a personal revelation from Princess Eugenie, who spoke loving of the handmade wedding gift the Duke of Edinburgh created for her when she married Jack Brooksbank in 2018.

The passionate outdoorsman gave his granddaughter a still life painting of a bunch of flowers. "It was so nice," she said in the documentary, adding, "it's now sitting in my house in London and I'm so proud of it, you know?"

Eugenie became a mother in February and chose to name her son August Philip Hawke in honor of the duke. "I brought little August to come and meet him," she says of a visit shortly before Philip's death. "I told him that we'd named him after him. It was such a lovely moment. We were very lucky to do that."

While Princess Anne, 71, and Prince Edward, 57, singled out their father's ardor for angling, Lady Louise Windsor reminisced about how her grandfather's love of horses (a passion he shared with the Queen) gave them an opportunity to sneak in some quality time — and helped her find one of her great passions.

"We would go carriage riding," the 17-year-old explains in the documentary. "Well first of all, he would take me on a different route every day, and I do not know how he managed to do that. But he'd also tell me all sorts of anecdotes about absolutely anything and everything. He's honestly one of the most interesting people I've ever met."

Added Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Lady Louise's mother with Prince Edward: "You never really prepare yourself for losing him because he was always there."

RELATED: Remembering Prince Philip's Life in Photos

Prince Philip
Prince Philip

Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Prince Philip in 2019

The documentary also revealed that Prince Charles was one of the last people to speak with Philip.

And when the future king broached the subject of his father's unwelcome approaching 100th birthday during a call on April 8, Philip didn't miss a beat: "Well, I've got to be alive for it, haven't I?"

Charles, 72, replied as only a son can: "I knew you'd say that!"

In the documentary, Charles said, "We were lucky to have him for nearly a hundred years."

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Harry summed up, "What you see is what you got with my grandfather. He was unapologetically him."

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