Son of Prince Philip's former protection officer mistook Duke for 'someone from the pub'

·2 min read
Richard Griffin - Tim Graham/Tim Graham Photo Library 
Richard Griffin - Tim Graham/Tim Graham Photo Library

Prince Philip’s former protection officer yesterday revealed his son once assumed that the Duke was "someone from the pub" when he phoned the family’s house.

Richard Griffin, who spent over 30 years in protection officer roles for the Royal Family, told the BBC that the child’s confusion resulted in an anecdote that the Duke used to "dine out on".

Mr Griffin said: "He rang up one day and my five year-old son answered the phone. He used to call me 'Dick' so he said, 'Can I speak to Dick please?'.

"He [his son] said, 'He’s in the garden, I’ll go and get him. Who shall I say is calling?' He [the Duke] said, 'The Duke of Edinburgh'. He said all he heard was my little boy yell out, ‘Dad, can you come to the phone, someone from the pub wants to speak to you!’”

Speaking shortly before the Duke’s funeral on Saturday, Mr Griffin said that the Duke "wouldn’t bother" phoning his house via a switchboard, instead ringing directly.

Prince Philip's funeral and military procession in pictures
Prince Philip's funeral and military procession in pictures

He said that when his wife answered the calls, "She would stand up and curtsy. And I would say, 'He can’t see you!'".

Mr Griffin accompanied the Duke on trips abroad. He said that after the British press reported the Duke’s "slitty-eyed" remark made to British students in China in 1986, the Duke denied he made it.

"I remember one day in the press, they were saying that Prince Philip had made another gaffe," Mr Griffin said. "I was in the car with him the following day. I said, 'Sir, I was with you all day yesterday, when did you say that?' He said, 'Well, I didn’t, but it was the sort of thing I would say, so I might as well take the credit for it'."

Mr Griffin experienced the Duke’s sense of humour on their first meeting. He said that when Prince Edward introduced him to the Queen and the Duke, the Queen asked the former police officer about his work before his roles at Buckingham Palace.

He said that he told her that he dealt with vice: "Sex shops… pornographic cinemas, brothels… prostitution and gambling."

According to Mr Griffin, when the Queen asked him why Prince Edward would require protection from someone with this experience, "Quick as a flash Prince Phillip said: 'I don’t know, but they can have some wonderful parties at Cambridge'."