How the Duke of Edinburgh kept smiling through 70 years of service

Philip, the court jester! How the Duke of Edinburgh kept the Queen, his family and foreign dignitaries smiling through 70 years of public service

  • Prince Philip conducted more than 22,000 solo engagements in his career as the longest-serving consort
  • Duke of Edinburgh, often joked he was the ‘world’s most experienced plaque unveiler’ and in his 70 years of public duty always brought a sense of fun, making members of the public smile, laugh and joke constantly
  • FEMAIL looks back at Philip’s funniest and cheekiest moments from his seasoned career in the public eye 

Prince Philip conducted more than 22,000 solo engagements in his career as the longest-serving consort before he died today aged 99. 

And the royal, who has played a key part in modernising The Firm, often appeared cheerful and silly on his official trips, undergoing more than 630 overseas visits throughout seven decades of service.

The Duke of Edinburgh, often joked he was the ‘world’s most experienced plaque unveiler’ and in his 70 years of public duty always brought a sense of fun, making members of the public, foreign dignitaries and his own family laugh and smile during outings.

Even as his health worsened, His Royal Highness never lost his sense of humour and  was often pictured pulling very expressive faces and laughing and joking with his wife, children and grandchildren.

In 2013, he looked very animated while speaking to a guest in the Royal Box during the Epsom Derby, while he made the  Roman Catholic Archbishop of Malta blush on a trip to the island in 2015 by whispering ‘we’re all Christians’.

Here, FEMAIL looks back at Philip the joker’s funniest and cheekiest moments from his seasoned career in the public eye. 

Philip the joker prince! The Duke of Edinburgh looks very animated as he talks to a guest in the royal box at the Epsom Derby in 2013

Always animated: The royal, a keen sportsman and sports fan, looks very excited as he watches the Highland Games with The Queen in 2003, where the royals welcomes Tony and Cherie Blair as guests

Sharing secrets? The royal pulled a cheeky expression as he whispered in the ear of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Malta during a trip to the island in 2015. He is believed to have said ‘I’ll tell you a secret, we are all Christians’ during the service at St Paul’s Pro-Cathedral


Claire Murdoch, chief executive of the Central and North West London NHS Trust, looked very surprised as the Prince giggled when they met in 2014 during a visit to the Margaret Pyke Centre which provides basic and specialist sexual reproductive healthcare in London (left). In 2013, he visited a school in Norfolk with a very surprised expression (right)

Shades on and ready to go: Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh wearing 3D glasses to watch a 3D film, at the Pinewood Studios in Toronto, Canada in 2010






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Always having a laugh! Duke of Edinburgh sharing a joke with General Sir Mike Jackson at the General’s Corps Museum in Winchester in 2003

And all that jazz! The Duke didn’t know where to look as he visited the set of Chicago in the west end in 1999

That’s how you do it! Prince Philip is pictured during a young shot competition in 2002 in Sandringham with a very animated expression 

What did she say? The royal looks shocked  talking to members of the emergency services during a visit to the Balsall Heath area of Birmingham in 2005

Keeping it cool! Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II wears 3D glasses to watch a display and pilot a JCB digger during a visit to the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research centre in 2010

One is not amused!  Prince Philip didn’t looked pleased at how the racing during Derby Festival horse racing in 2014

Having a giraffe! The royal is pictured with an elephant at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, where he and Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the zoo’s new Centre for Elephant Care as part of a visit to Bedfordshire in 2017

Strutting his stuff! The Duke of Edinburgh attends the first garden party of the year at Buckingham Palace in 2014

Uh oh! The Duke did an accidental face palm while watch ingEngland playing hockey against Wales at the National Hockey Centre 20th Commonwealth Games, Glasgow, in 2014

Over there Ma’am! The Prince is pictured in 2013 with Her Majesty attending the Braemar Gathering in Braemar.

OOh la la! The Duke of Edinburgh at the Guildhall in London, talking to guests during a lunch given by the Lord Mayor of London Sir David Howard, to mark his 80th birthday in 2001. 


What’s this! The royal kept agile into his old age. Left after seeing a rollator walking frame while meeting residents of the St Michael’s Care Complex in Aylsham Prince in 2013, right: on an official visit to Swansea in 2003

Giggling for days! Prince Philip attending the pre-wedding reception of King Constantine of Greece and Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark in Athens – laughing as he escorts Princess Georgina of Liechtensten in 1964

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