Late Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, here seen in April 2015, speaks to guests and members of the Calgary Highlanders, the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry and the Canadian Scottish Regiments during a reception at Canada House. The Queen and Prince Philip joined the three Canadian military regiments in London to commemorate the regiments’ role in a historic First World War battle. (Charla Jones/Photo Courtesy of the Canadian Scottish Highlanders)

Late Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, here seen in April 2015, speaks to guests and members of the Calgary Highlanders, the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry and the Canadian Scottish Regiments during a reception at Canada House. The Queen and Prince Philip joined the three Canadian military regiments in London to commemorate the regiments’ role in a historic First World War battle. (Charla Jones/Photo Courtesy of the Canadian Scottish Highlanders)

Sidney man who met late Prince Philip twice remembers his wicked sense of humour

Richard Talbot first met the Duke of Edinburgh in 1971, then again in 2015

“You had a feeling of being with somebody truly unique. It was almost like meeting a legend.”

This is how Sidney’s Richard Talbot described his two meetings with the late Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. The husband of Queen Elizabeth II – perhaps the most famous Queen consort since Prince Albert, the influential husband of Queen Victoria – died on April 9, just short of his 100th birthday.

“He was very direct,” said Talbot of Prince Philip. “You really felt that he was talking to you personally and really was interested in hearing what you had to say.”

Talbot met the prince when he and daughter Princess Anne visited Victoria in 1971 as B.C. celebrated the centenary of joining confederation.

Recently promoted Major Talbot was serving then Lt.-Gov. John “Jack” Nicholson as an aide-de-camp when an impromptu, day-of strike by Nicholson’s two senior aides-de-camp saw Talbot assume a much greater role in hosting the Windsors at Government House during a state dinner.

With all the guests minus the Windsors seated, Talbot eventually found himself in their drawing room along with Nicholson. He wanted to lead the royal visitors into the dining hall through a door that would have seen the Queen enter from behind a temporary bar, an optical no-no, as Talbot told his skeptical but insistent boss, reminding him of the present television cameras.

RELATED: Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, dies at 99

“At that stage, Prince Philip chuckled and said, ‘Well, I think we better follow the Major instead. Let’s go the way he suggests.’”

The last-minute absence of Princess Anne due to an upset stomach, and her lady in waiting, earned Talbot and his wife Jinny spots at a table occupied by Scotland Yard agents protecting the Queen and Prince Philip.

“So you can imagine we have had a wonderful evening down there, with every possible story you can imagine, most of which I have luckily forgotten,” said Talbot, who was 30 at the time.

Talbot met Prince Philip a second time in April 2015 at Canada House in London. Talbot was leading a delegation of veterans and current soldiers serving in his unit, the Canadian Scottish Regiment, at a centennial for a First World War battle. Delegations from two other regiments — the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry and the Calgary Highlanders — also participated in the trip to London to mark the occasion, which included an informal tea party (with slightly stronger beverages) that included the respective colonel-in-chief of the regiments: the Queen’s first cousin Princess Alexandria for Talbot’s unit, as well as Prince Philip for the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry and Queen Elizabeth II for the Calgary Highlanders.

As delegation leader, Talbot met the Queen as she entered the room, with Prince Philip two paces behind. “They stopped just beside me,” said Talbot. “And the Queen said to Prince Philip, ‘now, Philip, you know what you have to do next.’ And he said, ‘oh yes, dear. I have to follow behind you and not be rude to anybody’ and gave me a great, big wink. And she said, ‘no, you are supposed to look after you own regiment and I am going to look after mine.’”

The Queen’s advice did not necessarily take, as Prince Philip soon started to visit with members from the other regiments. “You could hear his laugh all afternoon,” said Talbot. “He was chuckling away and telling awful stories, no doubt.”

At one stage, Prince Philip picked out Talbot’s oldest son Michael, who had served in his father’s regiment. During the conversation, Talbot’s son revealed to Prince Philip that he was accompanying his father as his unofficial aide-de-camp.

“And Prince Philip said, ‘so you are really just sponging here,’” said Talbot in recalling the story.

Talbot said that gathering made an impression on all the Canadian visitors, with one soldier from Port Alberni describing the occasion as the best day in his life.

“Everybody was totally overwhelmed by them,” said Talbot. “They were so friendly and amusing and informal. I think they created a whole bunch of fans they did have before.”

RELATED: A look at the more than 20 trips Prince Philip made to Canada

Like millions around Canada and the rest of the Commonwealth, Talbot knew of Prince Philip from an early age. As a young boy, he listened to the 1947 radio broadcast of Philip’s wedding with then Princess Elizabeth. He also watched the Queen’s coronation ceremony in June 1953, first on a large television set up at his dad’s office in Whitehall, then in person from a balcony as the coronation procession wound its way through London.

Over the years, Prince Philip made headlines for various statements, earning him the nickname of Duke of Hazard.

But Talbot sees him in a more charitable light in praising his wit. “On both occasions, he had a wicked sense of humour, and often, there was a little dig in it,” said Talbot.

When asked whether Prince Philip might have recognized Talbot when they met for the second time in 2015 after their meeting in 1971, Talbot said he does not think so.

“I was tempted to remind him of it, but as you heard it is a rather long story,” he said. “I rather regret it because I think he would rather have enjoyed that story.”


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Saanich Peninsula

Just Posted

The Greater Victoria School District continues to face backlash over its wording and approach to Indigenous learners in its 2021-2022 budget talks. (Black Press Media file photo)
School district’s approach to Indigenous learners leaves Victoria teachers ‘disgusted’

Backlash grows over ‘pattern of colonial thinking permeating the leadership’

Commonwealth Place recreation centre was shut down before 8 a.m. on Friday following a power outage. (Saanich Parks, Recreation and Community Services/Twitter)
Saanich Commonwealth Place closed due to power outage, outdoor classes still running

Indoor classes, programs at pool and weight room halted

Royal Bay Secondary School students paint the crosswalk in front of their school in support of LGBTQ and marginalized members of the community (Royal Bay Secondary School photo)
Senior student leaves mark at Royal Bay Secondary School for LGBTQ+ students

Crosswalk at Colwood school painted in support of marginalized community members

An elderly man having a medical emergency in Mount Douglas Park on May 13 was rescued by firefighters and paramedics with the help of ATVs. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Rescue team uses ATVs to get man in medical distress out of Saanich park and to hospital

Cedarhill Road closed as firefighters, paramedics rescue man in Mount Douglas Park

New changes are being proposed to four streets in James Bay to allow better access for cyclists. Residents have until June 11 to provide feedback. (Black Press Media file photo)
New revisions to James Bay bike lanes open for feedback

Routes on Government and Montreal streets planned for 2022

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of May 11

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

A COVID-19 patient receives oxygen outside a hospital in Jammu, India, Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (AP/Channi Anand)
B.C. donates $500K to Red Cross COVID-19 relief efforts in India

The money will provide oxygen cylinders and ambulances for patients in communities grappling with the virus

Superintendent Aaron Paradis, community services officer with the Surrey RCMP, during a media availability about a recent drug bust in Port Coquitlam. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Police seize 13 million ‘potentially fatal doses’ of pure fentanyl at B.C. drug lab

The evidence was seized at large, illicit drug manufacturing site in Port Coquitlam

B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth debates the province’s latest measure to control crime, March 10, 2021. The legislation allows police to impound vehicles used to transport weapons and further restricts sale of vehicle and body armour. (B.C. legislature video)
B.C. seeking ways to ‘name and shame’ gangsters, minister says

Mike Farnworth appeals to family members to talk to police

Jonathan Prest had to climb way up to the top of a dead red cedar tree to rescue a terrified cat, but he made it up and down successfully. (Facebook photos)
Tree cutter rescues cat stuck 100 feet up a dead and dried-out cedar

Jonathan Prest put himself in extreme peril to get a terrified cat out of a dangerous situation

The Arts Council of Ladysmith and District is working with several Vancouver Island art councils on the Digitial Innovation Group to improve digital skills for Island artists. (Submitted photo)
Arts group promotes digital literacy for Island artists

The goal is to leverage digital skills to promote Vancouver Island as an ‘arts powerhouse’

Italian-Canadian prisoners at the Kananaskis prisoner of war camp in Alberta. (University of Calgary/Contributed)
Italian moved to Okanagan with hope; he ended up being sent to a WWII internment camp

Raymond Lenzi shares his grandfather’s story ahead of Canada’s planned formal apology to Italian-Canadians

Most Read