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Prince Philip's final portrait: secret detail revealed by royal artist

Ralph Heimans captured the Duke at Windsor Castle

Gemma Strong

It's an extraordinary painting that perfectly captures Prince Philip's character, right down to the mischievous glint in his eye.

In 2017, Australian artist Ralph Heimans was given the honour of capturing the Duke of Edinburgh at his home in Windsor Castle in the same year that he retired from public service. And now he has shared unknown details about his royal painting.

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Speaking on the Sky News Daily podcast with Dermot Murnaghan, Ralph spoke about his numerous encounters with the Prince and revealed more about the poignant setting chosen for Philip's final official portrait.

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The Duke can be seen standing in the grand corridor at Windsor Castle, located in the private quarters he shared with Her Majesty The Queen. Philip is stood side on with his arms behind his back, and dressed in smart evening attire.

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He is notably also wearing the Order of the Elephant sash – Denmark's highest ranking honour, presented to the Prince as a nod to his ancestry as a Danish prince.

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Ralph Heimans was given the honour of painting Prince Philip's final portrait

What is most significant, however, is the space surrounding the Duke. Ralph revealed that the corridor itself held great personal meaning, disclosing that both Philip's mother and grandmother were born in a room located at the end of the long passageway.

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Poignantly, Prince Philip also passed away at Windsor Castle on 9 April; as Ralph noted, the Duke's whole life span is reflected in that corridor.

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The Duke himself was a keen artist

Ralph also reflected on the pair's time together, and spoke about the Duke's passion for painting, revealing that the royal had practiced as an artist in his spare time over the years and used to sit on the deck of the Britannia to paint sea and landscapes.

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"Sitting was, in fact, a lot of fun," he shared. "As you can imagine, he's full of humour but underlying that there's a sense of seriousness about the portrait.

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Prince Philip passed away at Windsor Castle on 9 April

"And I think he was very engaged throughout the process; he enjoyed it very much and was very chatty afterwards and so it was a really enjoyable experience as well as a very extraordinary privilege."

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