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Prince Philip: 'At the forefront of change'

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Prince Philip invited the public and technology into the royal circle, modernising an institution.

Video Transcript

- Bride and bridegroom appeared before the cameras.

- He may have married into one of the most traditional institutions in the world, but Prince Philip could never be accused of staying stuck in the past, always one step behind his wife, perhaps, but also at the forefront of changes to the world in which we live.

- The queen returns wearing the imperial state crown, her robes, and train.

- Royal biographers say that it was he who insisted the queen's coronation be shown to the world, fighting back against concerns that by allowing the public to see live coverage, the mystique of royal life might somehow be ruined.


He broke down the barriers between the palace and the public, introducing the first royal walkabout in 1970 on the couple's tour of Australia and New Zealand, a tradition enthusiastically embraced by politicians, presidents, and Hollywood stars.

But it was his role as an environmental pioneer that is perhaps his lasting legacy. When he became the first UK president of the World Wide Fund for Nature, he shone an early light on an issue that many in the world had been slow to accept.

PRINCE PHILIP: All the statistics suggest that we are at the moment, using the natural capital in a manner which is unsustainable.

- We want to see the prince!

- Far from media shy, the prince was ahead of his time in understanding the power it could play.

PRINCE PHILIP: What do you want to see me about?

- This short film he starred in, in 1951, unlike anything the royals had done before, and raising tens of thousands of pounds for the National Playing Fields Association, for which he was a tireless patron.

PRINCE PHILIP: We cannot possibly have enough people helping us in this job, officially, unofficially, or indeed, in any capacity.

HELEN GRIFFITHS: It was absolutely vital and pivotal, I think, to the success of the organization then that has enabled us to carry on delivering the work to protect parks and playing fields today. The Duke of Edinburgh was passionate about ensuring that everybody, and most especially young people, had access to opportunities.


(SINGING) If only she'd looked my way.

- And while charity singles might now be regulars on the charts, it was the duke that first came up with the idea, collaborating with his friend Frank Sinatra to again benefit his charity work.

(SINGING) Just let's pretend [INAUDIBLE]

PRINCE PHILIP: In buying this record, you have joined Frank Sinatra, [INAUDIBLE], in helping to provide money for more playing fields.

- Being a modern royal is normally associated with younger members of the family. But in Prince Philip, it is clear where the next generation have gained their inspiration.

(SINGING) That little while, however fleeting.