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Duke of Edinburgh felt ‘weight of expectation’ taking over title from father

The Duke of Edinburgh has described feeling a “weight of expectation” when he took over the title from his father.

A year on from taking over the role, Edward admitted he still finds himself not recognising where to sit in a room when his title is written on a name place.

In a rare television interview, The Duke told gardener Alan Titchmarsh on ITV’s Love Your Weekend programme about the challenge of taking over the role from his “extraordinary” father, Prince Philip, who died in 2021 aged 99.

“It was a huge privilege, but also quite a lot of weight of expectation as well,” Edward said, as he marks his 60th Birthday.

Love Your Weekend
Edward said his wife Sophie, the Duchess of Edinburgh, is his ‘rock’ (ITV/PA)

“I mean, there’s an awful lot of legacy that came with that title and everything that my father had done, especially when you’re not inheriting it – this is a choice.”

On getting used to his new title, Edward said: “It’s just the weirdest and strangest feeling.

“You walk into a room and, particularly still today, there are name places on a card and I still look around going: ‘Yes, but where am I sitting?’”

During the interview, Edward praised his father for being “brilliant with people” even if it sometimes “didn’t necessarily come across that way”.

“He was always, always encouraging everybody,” he said. “You sort of needed to get to know him.

“Everybody would always comment on my father’s sense of humour but that’s what he was just doing.

“He was just an extraordinary man. He was the Prince Albert of our age. He had an extraordinary mind. He loved design, he loved innovation, he was brilliant with all sorts of people.”

Royal attends Christmas Day church service
Edward with his father, Prince Philip (Chris Radburn/PA)

The Duke said his father was much more comfortable talking about the organisations he supported and “refused to talk about himself”.

Edward continued: “Never ever ask him to blow his own trumpet, he would never do that.

“You needed to get him to talk about the organisations he supported, and then what he’d done in relation to those, and that’s the way you got around it.

“And for heaven’s sake don’t say: ‘What do you feel?’ Because he would never have shared anything like that.”

Edward also said his wife Sophie, the Duchess of Edinburgh, is his “rock”, adding: “I’m incredibly lucky that I found Sophie and that she found me.”

He and Sophie, 59, have been married since 1999 having met at a promotion shoot for the Prince Edward Summer Challenge two years earlier.

Royal visit to Headingley Stadium
The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh with a cake for Edward’s 60th birthday (Danny Lawson/PA)

Asked about what he does to switch off and relax, the Duke said he enjoys “Getting outside in the countryside.

“The garden, dogs,” he continued: “The garden is the most brilliant place to do all sorts of things.

“Also, it can be a great place to get away and go think and get your head around certain things.”