Updated: April 13, 2021 12:11:49 pm
Britain’s Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II who spent more than seven decades supporting his wife in a role that mostly defined his life, died on Friday. Soon tributes started to pour in and rare photographs of him also started to circulate widely online. One such viral photo showing the royal couple “giggling” has been winning hearts, however, the context is not what is being claimed.
In the viral image, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who was the longest serving royal consort in British history, is seen standing in a red uniform, trying to control his smile, the Queen stands giggling next to him. The image became a hot trend on social media, with many saying that it was from a time when the Duke decided to prank his wife by dressing up as a royal guard at Buckingham Palace.
Captions on Twitter and Reddit claimed the candid moment was a result of the Queen surprised to see her husband there. In reality, it wasn’t a prank but he was simply carrying out official duty. As far as the smiles are concerned, it was because of a sudden attack by bees.
The best photo I’ve found of The Queen and #PrincePhillip. He had decided to prank her by dressing as a guard when she was returning to Buckingham Palace. I love her smile! #marriagegoals pic.twitter.com/bsx0yWAIby
— Péter Heltai (@peterheltai) April 10, 2021
— Elaine Willcox (@ElaineWITV) April 10, 2021
Unlike what social media posts claimed that the royal consort pranked the Queen and took her surprise, the reality was different, where the Duke of Edinburgh wasn’t pretending to be a palace guard. While the photograph is not fake and Queen Elizabeth II was indeed giggling next to Prince Philip, the claim that he “pranking” is inaccurate.
Prince Philip pranking The Queen by dressing as a Palace Guard. pic.twitter.com/ub8xtOnlkG
— Weird History (@WeirdHistoryPlX) April 10, 2021
My favourite photo of The Queen and Prince Phillip. He had decided to prank her by dressing as a guard when she was returning to Buckingham Palace. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/DgCKvy4ZyY
— jwa (@joshwalker989) April 9, 2021
I love this picture, where the Queen realises that the guard is Philip. Just lovely. Thinking of her today ❤️ pic.twitter.com/6wAOnmKan6
— Jennifer 🌸 (@Jen4Scot) April 9, 2021
While netizens may have got confused with the traditional bearskin hat also known as busby but, the Duke had been photographed wearing this ceremonial dress on numerous occasions, mostly during the annual Trooping the Colour Parades.
“As colonel of the regiment, the duke was standing in full uniform, as he prepared to accompany Her Majesty,” BBC News clarified.
The image was captured by Chris Young, a Press Association photojournalist at the time, the only photographer present in April 2003, prior to a review of the Grenadier Guards’ elite Queen’s Company regiment.
“I got lucky,” Young told BBC, recalling the events that happened 18 years ago. “I recognised that it was a human moment. She was giggling like a little girl and he was laughing too. I thought the reaction from both of them was pretty unique,” he said talking about the viral photo.
Recalling how the unusual interruption by the bees generated a lot of interest, he told the news outlet that his editors wanted some more shots of the royal couple. “The main picture made the front pages of a number of newspapers the following day. It was a rare, candid exchange of glances between the couple in public,” the report added.
In fact, the original caption in the PA photo from 2003 too didn’t mention anything about him being the royal guard. “Her Majesty The Queen and Prince Philip enjoy the spectacle, as a swarm of bees cause concern prior to The Queens Company Review at Windsor Castle,” the caption on website read.
A photo series from the event also show how the swarm of bees had left guests concerned on the Windsor Castle’s lawn. Images also showed a beekeeper removing the swarm of bees which had attached itself to a wooden chair set in the open air for dignitaries attending the ceremony.
The 41 rounds fired in London, Cardiff, Belfast and Edinburgh at a rate of one shot per minute from midday local time on Saturday mark the start of an eight-day national mourning period for the Duke.
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