The real Philip in photographs: Royal experts share their favourite moments of the Duke of Edinburgh

Rebecca Taylor
Royal Correspondent
Prince Philip turned 99 in June 2020. (Getty Images)

Prince Philip has built a reputation over seven decades of public service as a cheeky and gaffe-prone royal who does not suffer fools gladly.

Few have been as close to the Duke of Edinburgh over the years as royal reporters and correspondents who have followed his work and engagements both at the side of the Queen and alone.

Experts shared their favourite photos of Prince Philip and the stories behind them with Yahoo UK.

Royal biographer Ingrid Seward’s favourite photo is of Philip at a polo match with Jimmy Edwards*.

Philip with Jimmy Edwards at a polo match in 1965. (Getty Images)

Seward, who is the author of a forthcoming book about Philip, said: “In my favourite picture of Prince Philip he is laughing with comedian Jimmy Edwards at a charity polo match in 1965.

“It says a lot about Philip - he loves the risqué company of the old fashioned politically incorrect comedians and his favourite sport at the time was polo and he also looks cool in his polo gear and tinted glasses.

“He has a wicked sense of humour and a love of life which is harder to see in more formal photographs.”

Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty, chose a wet moment with the duke.

Read more: Prince Philip's 99th birthday marked with new lockdown photo with the Queen

Prince Philip during his final solo public engagement on August 2, 2017. (Getty Images)

He said: “It was taken on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace on 2 August 2017 during the Duke of Edinburgh's final public engagement before retirement. As Captain General of the Royal Marines he'd just taken the salute at a farewell ceremony and despite it being high summer it rained on his parade.

“He got wet, I got wet, and the cheering crowd that had gathered outside the palace railings got wet, but that didn't matter: we were witnessing a moment of royal history.”

Read more: Prince William and Kate share photos in birthday message to Prince Philip as he turns 99

Prince Philip of Greece and Prince of Denmark, paid a visit on Aug. 29, 1945 to Melbourne, Australia. (AP Photo)

Royal author Jane Dismore, who wrote Princess: The Early Life of Queen Elizabeth II, said one with a romantic connection to the Queen.

She said: “Taken in 1945 during WW2, this photo of Prince Philip, aged 24, has the romance of being the one Princess Elizabeth kept on her mantlepiece while he was away with the Royal Navy. 

“His beard makes him look rugged and reflects the action man that he was. On HMS Whelp at the time, he would shortly witness the historic signing of the surrender of Japan and remain in the Far East until January 1946. 

“The picture has a poignancy too, for he could not know that his successful naval career would be cut short by the early death of George VI.”

Prince Philip carried aloft on a canoe through the streets of the Pacific island of Tuvalu in 1982 during the Royal Tour of the South Pacific. (David Levenson/Getty Images)

David Levenson joined Prince Philip and the Queen on the Royal Tour of the South Pacific in 1982 and shared one of his favourite photos of the prince from the tour.

The duke is carried aloft on a canoe as he and the Queen arrive at Tuvalu.

Levenson reflected on the Queen and Philip being carried “shoulder high” throughout the town, having been collected from their boat.

*Yahoo UK has been unable to source the exact image and has chosen one from the same day.