Prince Philip has travelled extensively during his time in the Royal Family. Many of his state visits have been undertaken with his wife Queen Elizabeth, 94. On one royal tour, the Duke found himself the centre of attention
From November 1953 to May 1954, following the monarch’s coronation, Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth undertook a six-month tour of the commonwealth.
The trip saw the young royal couple visiting a plethora of countries, from Uganda and Bermuda to Fiji and Malta.
They also spent three months in Australia and New Zealand and received a very warm welcome.
When the couple arrived in Australia in 1954 they made their way through Sydney in a twenty-three-mile State procession.
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Sarah Bradford described the event in her book Queen Elizabeth II: Her Life in our Times.
She explained that some Australians were so excited to spot the dashing Duke of Edinburgh, they could hardly contain themselves.
“Some of the crowd of 1,200,000 burst through pic barriers, halting the royal car on eight separate occasions,” said Bradford.
The attendees were particularly keen to get their hands on Philip, literally.
Ben Pimlott said in his book The Queen: “Men and women clutched Philip’s arm, tried to shake his hand, patted the royal shoulder and tossed confetti and flags int the car.”
In fact, Philip was treated like a Hollywood movie star, with his handsome looks praised.
Bradford wrote: “Later even Prince Philip was flustered by a crowd of teenagers wolf-whistling and screaming: ‘Isn’t he nice?… He’s beautiful.’”
Both the Queen and her husband “had become worldwide celebrities” since the coronation, explained Bradford.
The event had subtly altered the public’s view of the monarch. “Millions had seen the Coronation on film,” the author wrote.
“[It was] a magical, mysterious and glittering ceremony which had elevated the central figure to the level of myth.”
Philip’s personality also proved a hit on the tour, as well as his appearance.
“Handsome Prince Philip always found it easy to adopt a relaxed democratic attitude in public,” said Bradford.
“Gregarious” in his behaviour, the Duke enjoyed bantering with others and being flirtatious,” wrote Kitty Kelley in her 1997 book The Royals.
What’s more, he proved an invaluable presence to the young Queen.
“[Philip] was smooth and easy, more sophisticated,” said royal reporter Gwen Robyns, who was part of the small press contingent accompanying the monarch on the 1953 tour.
“He’d jolly her into good humour, and warm her up for the crowds. She’d put on a grumpy face most of the time because she was overwhelmed, but he’d coax a smile out of her.”