Prince Philip’s many gaffes have resurfaced in recent days as the world mourns the death of the 99‐year‐old royal – but it seems there may have been a more selfless reason for his outbursts.
Peter Kaye, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award’s Australian CEO, met and worked with the colourful royal for more than 30 years.
He sat next to him at lunches and dinners all over the world and was one of only a select few people who had the opportunity to observe him behind closed doors.
Mr Kaye described Prince Philip as incredibly intelligent and someone who could “read a room” – as well as a “master salesman” for the Award, which has taken more than 775,000 young Australians through their paces.
The CEO said Prince Philip was a “hands on” member of the team, who took a sincere interest in its people.
“Of all the major causes that were close to his heart, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award was a special one,” he said.
Mr Kaye described the Prince as a man who valued honest opinion over safe comments, and who expected people to speak their minds.
“If he was asking you a question, he genuinely wanted to hear from you,” he said.
“He really wanted to use his role to make a difference.
“He was real.”
Mr Kaye said he would most remember Prince Philip for his intelligence, sincerity and earnestness.
It was, however, this sincerity that often got him into trouble.
Mr Kaye said he believed the Prince’s controversial comments, which he became well known for making, were not intended to be hostile.
“A lot of the things that were referred to as gaffes, were really his attempt to lighten the mood,” he told NCA NewsWire.
“He knew people stiffened up (when they were in the company of royals).”
Mr Kaye recounted an interaction several years ago where Prince Philip had approached him following a meeting.
“He asked me about a task we’d been talking about three years earlier,” he said.
In that time, Mr Kaye had shaved off his beard of more than 20 years, a detail the Duke of Edinburgh picked up on.
“He made this comment to ‘put it back on’,” he said.
There has been an outpouring of grief for Prince Philip since his death on Friday.
His final farewell will be held on Saturday, with the funeral set to go green in a tribute to his passion for the environment.