"If you have a common interest, nobody cares a damn where you come from or who you are." This was Prince Philip's reaction to Alan Titchmarsh as they discussed his passion for carriage driving during special Diamond Jubilee broadcast, All The Queen's Horses.
Despite the rather blunt delivery, the message behind these words carried a poignant significance. As someone who always navigated his life's path two steps behind the Queen, pursuing hobbies was exactly how Prince Philip carved out an identity as his own man.
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Whether the chosen passion was seconded by his wife or members of the charities and organisations he championed, they were of central importance. His own interests consistently drew him in three main directions – the environment, equestrian pursuits and the welfare of young people.
Prince Philip served in the Royal Navy
Perhaps his most enduring legacy is the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme which he launched in 1956 to provide a journey of personal and professional discovery among youth. The project was undoubtedly inspired by his own nomadic beginnings, and began to take shape during his time as a young pupil at Gordonstoun school.
At the behest of his mentor and Headmaster Kurt Hahn, Prince Philip launched the initiative which, in his own words was designed to: "Give young people the chance to discover their own abilities for themselves as an introduction to the responsibilities and interests of the grown up world." And in keeping with the personality of its founder, having "a great deal of satisfaction and fun in the process" was also a top priority.
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The Duke played polo up until the age of 50
Since then, more than six million youngsters have done exactly that, and the scheme has become one of the most successful youth programmes in the world.
The royal Patriarch also nurtured a life-long fascination with the natural world and was an innovator of the environmental movement. He lent his support to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), and, in his role as president toured the world meeting locals, visiting projects and promoting their cause.
One of the Duke's passions was the welfare of animals
"If we've got this extraordinary diversity on this globe it seems awfully silly for us to destroy it," he told the BBC's Fiona Bruce during an interview to mark his 90th birthday. "All these other creatures have an equal right to exist here, we have no prior rights to the Earth than anybody else and if they're here let's give them a chance to survive."
But the Queen's husband never thought of himself as green, adding: "I think that there's a difference between being concerned for the conservation of nature and being a bunny hugger... people who simply love animals."
Philip was an accomplished carriage driver
At the core of Philip's identity lay his early experiences as a sailor in the Navy, a period of his life that was deeply important to him. A professional Naval officer from the age of 18, he worked his way up from a dashing young cadet to earn the title of first lieutenant – which at 21 saw him become one of the youngest first lieutenants active at the time.
And it was at Dartmouth Navy College that he met his future wife in 1939.
Over the years, the couple's union has been cemented by a devotion to duty and shared passions, such as their love of equestrian sports. Carriage driving – which involves four wheeled carriages being pulled by horses – was the activity in which the keen sportsman particularly excelled.
So while common interest was played down by the Duke, his hobbies and passions were an integral part of his life.
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