Prince Philip tributes: Royals reflect on the 'rock in the Queen’s life'

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Prince CharlesImage source, BBC Studios Events
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"His energy was astonishing," Prince Charles said of his father in his support of the Queen

The Duke of Edinburgh's children have shared their reflections on their father's life, his "astonishing achievement" and his legacy.

The Prince of Wales told the BBC "his energy was astonishing in supporting my mama, and doing it for such a long time".

"He's always been there as that rock in the Queen's life," said the Earl of Wessex.

The Princess Royal praised the "double act" he created with the monarch.

And the Duke of York fondly recalled Prince Philip as a father spending time with his family.

"Like any other family at the time, your parents went out to work during the day but in the evening - just the same as any other family - we would get together, we would sit on the sofa as a group and he would read to us," Prince Andrew said.

The royals were speaking in interviews to mark the Duke of Edinburgh's death as part of a BBC special programme billed as a tribute "from those who knew him best".

Prince Charles told the programme: "I think he'll probably want to be remembered as an individual in his own right."

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Princess Anne reflected on the "incredible challenge" of moving from a career in the Royal Navy to royal consort

Reflecting on his father's difficult upbringing after his family was exiled, he said: "It can't have been easy and life was uncertain and everyone had to rely on other people to help - and presumably he had to fall back on himself."

This uncertain upbringing left him with the "extraordinary ability" to be positive and move on from adversity, said Princess Anne.

Prince Charles spoke of the "huge value" his father found in his education at Gordonstoun under its founder Kurt Hahn, an unconventional figure who emphasised self-reliance and risking - and who partly inspired the creation of the Duke of Edinburgh's award.

Moving from a career in the Royal Navy to become royal consort was "an incredible challenge", Princess Anne said. "In the Royal Navy he was in charge of ships, he was making all the decisions. In his next life, he was making very few."

But Prince Andrew, who served in the navy during the Falklands War, said he had never had any discussions with his father about whether he would have stayed on in the service. "He saw his role as supporting the Queen," the prince said.

Princess Anne spoke of how his appreciation of how he could help the Queen "always seemed to be present" and was vital because she succeeded to the throne so young.

"They needed to be a double act for a lot of that time to allow her to take on that role," she said.

Prince Edward recalled a "lovely moment" when his mother was able to pay tribute to his father at the 50th anniversary of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award, by giving the organisation a Royal Charter.

"It probably meant more to my mother anyway. My father is far too modest to be remotely interested in all that sort of thing, he would brush it off," the prince said.

He said the award was a result of Prince Philip's belief "that if you could tap into what a young person's passion was, that would drive them forward in terms of their life and their success".

Prince Edward said he was "a great source of support and encouragement and guidance all the way through" while Princess Anne added: "I think I will best remember him as always being there and a person you could bounce off ideas, but if you were having problems you could always go to him."

Prince Philip's legendary "directness" was inherited from his mother, Prince Charles explained with an anecdote.

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The duke took on his role with "extraordinary tact and diplomacy", said Prince Edward

His mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, was buried in Jerusalem, where she is also honoured at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial as "Righteous Among the Nations" for protecting Jews at her house in Athens during World War Two.

"My father said, but hang on, how are we ever going to visit your grave?" the Prince of Wales recalled. "She said, don't be so silly, there's a very good bus service from Athens."

The Duke of Edinburgh "did not suffer fools gladly", Prince Charles said, which "made one choose your words carefully".

Prince Edward said had taken on a challenging role "with the most extraordinary flair, and the most extraordinary tact and diplomacy - he's never, ever tried to overshadow the Queen in any way, shape or form.

"He's always been there as that rock in the Queen's life. Certainly within his family that was exactly the same."

"His energy was astonishing, in supporting my mama, and doing it for such a long time," said Prince Charles. "What he's done has amounted to an astonishing achievement, I think."