While April’s funeral at Windsor Castle saw the Royal Family visibly grief-stricken, the documentary Prince Philip: The Royal Family Remembers was, as the title suggested, more like a memorial service – the generations gathering in a lighter mood to say nice things about the deceased.
Apart from the Queen (I was relieved to see), they came mob-handed – even Prince Andrew, whose noticeably brief input was to compare his father’s office to the bridge of a ship. In fact, the spick-and-span room, untouched since his death, revealed the man as clearly as any spoken reminiscences.
This gathering of The Firm – each member shot against a bare wall (not in the Bolshevik sense) – was the most obviously special aspect of a documentary originally intended as a 100th birthday tribute and partly filmed as such: Prince Harry spoke about his grandfather in the present tense.
Fans of The Crown may have discerned that the Prince of Wales seemed somewhat conflicted as he dwelled on his father’s disapproval – while teaching him to sail, for example, or not quite coming up to scratch when attempting to emulate Prince Philip’s favourite pastime of preparing barbecues.
Princess Anne came across as genuinely fond. This was an affectionate tribute with anecdotes that highlighted the Duke’s sense of humour (see his party trick with the squeezy mustard bottle and a difference of opinion with Les Dawson over black pudding), unstinting support for the Queen and so on.
But inevitably too much was familiar from the BBC’s blanket coverage in April, while the much-vaunted home-movie footage didn’t amount to a great deal. May he now rest in peace.
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