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Prince Philip’s life of smiles, hand shakes and laughter with celebs, PMs and presidents.

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Prince Philip's life of smiles, hand shakes and laughter with celebs, PMs and presidents. 52

 

 

The Duke of Edinburgh met more famous faces and shook more celebrities’ hands than anyone else in the world, except the Queen.

Whereas presidents and prime ministers are only in power for a few years at a time, the royal couple had seven decades to meet the world’s great and good.

In those years, the Duke met 13 US presidents, including Herbert Hoover, who was out of office by the time the Queen was crowned.

Prince Philip was on good terms with every serving president from Dwight D Eisenhower to Barack Obama.

What is your best memory of Prince Philip? Let us know in the comment section

With Barack Obama in 2011
With Barack Obama in 2011 

He and the Queen became firm friends with Ronald and Nancy Reagan, the only First Lady to go carriage driving with the Duke.

At one meeting President Obama told the Duke he had had breakfast with the leaders of Britain, China and Russia.

“Can you tell the difference between them?” the Prince asked.

Philip and France's first lady Carla Bruni smile as they stand with Queen Elizabet and French President Nicolas Sarkozy during a review of the Guard of Honour at Windsor Castle in Windsor, 2008
Philip and France’s first lady Carla Bruni smile as they stand with Queen Elizabet and French President Nicolas Sarkozy during a review of the Guard of Honour at Windsor Castle in Windsor, 2008 (Image: REUTERS)

Prince Philip also charmed some of the world’s most glamorous first ladies, from Jackie Kennedy to Carla Bruni, the wife of French president Nicolas Sarkozy.

He met every British PM since Churchill and spent hours chatting to each one, especially at Balmoral, the Queen’s Scottish retreat.

He was on first-name terms with many world leaders.

1964, and Philip enjoys the joke as British pop group the Beatles fight over the single award he presented them at the Carl-Alan Awards ceremony, at the Empire Ballroom in Leicester Square
1964, and Philip enjoys the joke as British pop group the Beatles fight over the single award he presented them at the Carl-Alan Awards ceremony, at the Empire Ballroom in Leicester Square.

He and Nelson Mandela always had a laugh when they met.

The Duke of Edinburgh also met many of the world’s biggest showbiz stars, including Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall, Frank Sinatra and Bob Hope.

The Prince accompanied the Queen to more than 30 Royal Variety performances where he met all of Britain’s top performers of the day.

1951, and Philip talks with Frank Sinatra at a party hosted bythe Duke for members and friends of the Variety Club of Great Britain and the stars of the Midnight Matinee, at the Empress Club, London
1951, and Philip talks with Frank Sinatra at a party hosted bythe Duke for members and friends of the Variety Club of Great Britain and the stars of the Midnight Matinee, at the Empress Club, London (Image: Getty Images)

He once famously shook Tom Jones’ hand backstage at the 1969 Royal Variety performance and enquired: “What do you gargle with – pebbles?”

The Duke first met the Beatles in 1964 and the following year told the world the Beatles “were on the wane”.

But one thing that never waned was his love of flirting.

Philip is introduced to Britt Ekland at the Royal Command performance of Move Over Darling at the Odeon, Leicester Square, 1964
Philip is introduced to Britt Ekland at the Royal Command performance of Move Over Darling at the Odeon, Leicester Square, 1964 

In 1964 he made a beeline for Swedish actress Britt Ekland at a film premiere and nearly 50 years later he was obviously happy to be in the company of Gwyneth Paltrow and Cameron Diaz.

What they said

THE QUEEN ABOUT PHILIP…

“Prince Philip is, I believe, well known for declining compliments of any kind. But throughout he has been a constant strength and guide.”

– Diamond Jubilee address to Parliament, March 2012

With Cameron Diaz and Gwyneth Paltrow in
2011, ar a drinks reception to officially launch Mayfair's 'The Arts Club', hosted by Philip
With Cameron Diaz and Gwyneth Paltrow in 2011, ar a drinks reception to officially launch Mayfair’s ‘The Arts Club’, hosted by Philip (Image: Getty Images)

“If I am asked what I think about family life after 25 years of marriage, I can answer with equal simplicity and conviction – I am for it.”

– Silver wedding speech at the Guildhall, November 1972

“I’m sorry for that little interlude but, as you know, it happens in every marriage.”

– After having a blazing row with Philip, March 1954

With boxer Henry Cooper at a dinner helpd by the showbiz charity organisation the Grand Order of Water Rats
With boxer Henry Cooper at a dinner helpd by the showbiz charity organisation the Grand Order of Water Rats (Image: PA Archive/Press Association Images)

PHILIP ABOUT THE QUEEN AND HIMSELF…

“I think the main lesson we have learnt is that tolerance is the one essential ingredient in any happy marriage. You can take it from me, the Queen has tolerance in abundance.”

– At their Golden wedding anniversary, November 1997

Philip once met an Australian man who said: “My wife is a doctor of philosophy and much more important than I am.”

He replied: “Ah yes, we have that trouble in our family too.”

– Australia, 1954

Meeting comedy conjuror Tommy Cooper in 1955, at a Variety Club of Great Britain lunch at the Savoy Hotel. At centre, right, is British film producer James Carreras
Meeting comedy conjuror Tommy Cooper in 1955, at a Variety Club of Great Britain lunch at the Savoy Hotel. At centre, right, is British film producer James Carreras (Image: Popperfoto/Getty Images)
The Duke cuts a slice from a 60ft swiss roll for Coronation Street star Liz Dawn at the opening of Oakdale Bakeries new factory in Morley Leeds
The Duke cuts a slice from a 60ft swiss roll for Coronation Street star Liz Dawn at the opening of Oakdale Bakeries new factory in Morley Leeds (Image: PA)

“The problem was to recognise what the niche was and to try and grow into it and that was by trial and error. There was no precedent. If I asked somebody, ‘What do you expect me to do?’ they all looked blank. They had no idea.”

– Fiona Bruce interview, 2011

OTHER PEOPLE ABOUT THE ROYAL COUPLE…

“Princess Elizabeth was enamoured from an early age. She never looked at anyone else. She was smitten from the start.”

– The Queen’s cousin Margaret Rhodes

Margaret Thatcher gets a blank stare in 1979, at an Indonesian banquet at London's Claridges Hotel
Margaret Thatcher gets a blank stare in 1979, at an Indonesian banquet at London’s Claridges Hotel (Image: PA Archive/Press Association Images)
Jokes with the Goons after the comedy group got together again for the first show for 12 years. Left to right; Announcer Andrew Timothy, Spike Milligan, Lord Snowdon, Peter Sellers, Princess Margaret, Harry Secombe, Princess Anne and the Duke of Edinburgh
Jokes with the Goons after the comedy group got together again for the first show for 12 years. Left to right; Announcer Andrew Timothy, Spike Milligan, Lord Snowdon, Peter Sellers, Princess Margaret, Harry Secombe, Princess Anne and the Duke of Edinburgh (Image: PA Archive/Press Association Images)

“Regardless of whether my grandfather seems to be doing his own thing, sort of wandering off like a fish down the river, the fact that he’s there – I don’t think that she could do it without him.”

“He makes her laugh because some of the things he says and does and the way he looks at life is obviously slightly different than her, so together they’re a great couple.”

– Prince William during an interview, 2012

“Prince Philip is the only man in the world who treats the Queen simply as another human being. She values that. And it is not unknown for the Queen to tell the Duke to shut up.”

– Queen’s former Private Secretary Lord Charteris

PMs and Presidents

George W Bush chatted with Prince Philip during The official state visit welcoming ceremony at Buckingham Palace
George W Bush chatted with Prince Philip during The official state visit welcoming ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

He met every British PM over seven decades…

Winston Churchill, Sir Anthony Eden, Harold Macmillan, Sir Alec Douglas-Home, Harold Wilson, Edward Heath, James Callaghan, Margaret Thatcher, John Major, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Theresa May, Boris Johnson.

He also met 13 US Presidents…

Herbert Hoover, Dwight D Eisenhower, John F Kennedy, Lyndon B Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Bill Clinton, George W Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump.