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'The time he gave me was my time': Hello! Canada readers share their memories of meeting Prince Philip

By Zach Harper

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"In 1967 Canada had its 100th celebration in Ottawa and he and the Queen were there... as was I.

"I was supposed to be hired as a clown on Parliament Hill. When I arrived for a suit, they were all taken and was told to follow the CBC broadcaster, Adrienne Clarkson, as her helper. I got her water and carried some stuff as she prepared to do the show. I helped her up a high ladder to the booth and was done my duty.

"So, I emptied garbage cans that were filling fast and found myself behind the big cake as the Queen and Philip exited to address the crowds. He saw the cake and, to my amusement, took a big swipe of the icing with his finger as he passed. It must be in a picture somewhere."

- Ronald Conlon, Ottawa

Photo: The Queen and Philip while visiting Canada in 1967. © Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

"I had the privilege of attending a garden party at Buckingham Palace in 1986. Prince Philip was one of the attending royals and was working the crowd. He noticed that one of the young men was wearing a pin that signified he was a Duke of Edinburgh Award winner, and struck up a conversation with him about his accomplishments. I inched a little closer so that I could eavesdrop more effectively. Suddenly, the Duke turned around, looked directly at me (his eyes were very, very blue), and asked, 'And where are you from?' I was so surprised to have been a) caught out and b) asked a question, that I completely FORGOT where I lived. After several seconds of uncomfortable silence, I pointed what I hoped was a westerly direction and answered, '... Canada?' He clasped his hands behind his back, rocked back on his heels and laughed... then waited patiently for me to gather my thoughts. Once I had, he remarked that he had visited my city several times and I mentioned that on one such occasion he had met my grandfather. We chatted a few more moments before he moved on. What I remember most clearly was that the time he gave me was MY time. He did not look past me to see if there was someone more interesting (and less geographically challenged) to talk to, and he ensured that I would have a positive memory of the day."

– Sheryl Hunnie, Manitoba

Photo: The Queen and Philip talking to guests at a Buckingham Palace Garden Party in 1997. © JOHN STILLWELL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

"I met Prince Philip when he came to the Caribbean island of Montserrat in 1993 on the Royal Yacht Britannia. He was visiting the other islands in the Caribbean besides Montserrat. I was a graduate student. My school was based on the island...

"Another student and I found out about when he was coming and where he would be on the island. We decided that going to the church where he would give a Bible reading was our best chance to see him. We arrived an hour early to get good seats. Everyone was in such good spirits. It was exciting to be in church with a member of the Royal Family.

"After the service was over, he did not leave right away. He stayed around to talk to people. I read that we should not speak to a member of the Royal Family first unless they speak first. He did not speak to me, but he smiled. I took his picture. It is one of my best memories of being on the island of Montserrat."

Vanessa Lund Davis, Chicago

Photo: The Queen and Prince Philip aboard the Britannia during the Silver Jubilee tour of the Caribbean in 1977. © PA Images via Getty Images

"I had the pleasure of touring Prince Philip through the Olympic Yachting Press Centre in Kingston in 1976. His charm, humour and sporting interests were all on display as he joked with the international press. The Britannia was anchored outside the Olympic Harbour."

Jane Colwell, New Hamburg, Ont.

Photo: Philip, Princess Anne, Mark Phillips, Prince Edward, the Queen, Prince Andrew and Prince Charles in Canada for the Olympics in 1976. © Anwar Hussein/Getty Images

"In 1973, I was on holiday as a teenager with my family and heard that the Queen and Prince Philip were visiting Prince Edward Island for the Centennial Celebration. I knew the only place they would be staying was the historic Charlottetown Hotel. I waited, and sure enough, they arrived.

"While the Queen was escorted out of the limo, Prince Philip exited the vehicle, broke protocol and walked around the car and came to me. I was waving a flag and he told me a joke... or something that made me laugh..."

- Penny Grimshaw

Photo: Philip and the Queen listen to an Acadian band in Mont-Carmel, P.E.I. during their 1973 tour. Photo: © Doug Griffin/Toronto Star via Getty Images

"In 1977, the Queen and Prince Philip were in Ottawa. She had just delivered the Speech from the Throne. They were in an open carriage, leaving the Centre Block, both of them in full regalia. I, with others, were hanging out a second floor window of the East Block as they passed below us. Philip looked up, saw us, and literally poked the Queen in the ribs and pointed up at us. They both then gave us our very own, very personal big wave and smile. It was a moment I will never forget."


Photo: The Queen and Philip arrive at Parliament Hill in Ottawa in a carriage to open the 30th Parliament on tour in 1977. © Jeff Goode/Toronto Star via Getty Images

"Before Expo, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip came to Vancouver and I went down with my oldest sister to get a glimpse and some pictures. I've always loved the Royal Family and knew to follow some protocol. Well, Prince Philip was starting to walk by, and my sister asked him if he could wait as sec as she had to change the batteries in her camera. Yes, I was mortified, but guess what? He watched and waited. Best experience ever."

Patricia Deines, Kelowna, B.C.

Photo: Philip and the Queen leaving Vancouver on a much different trip in 2002. © Don MacKinnon/Getty Images

"I was fortunate to meet Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Philip in August 1994, in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories (I was 14 at the time). I had my parents bring me to the airport to watch the royal plane land and many others from the community gathered to await the Queen, as well.

"I had purchased a bouquet of flowers for the Queen and as she did a walkabout on the tarmac, the Queen walked past where I was standing, but Prince Philip walked up to me and asked if I'd like to present my flowers to the Queen.

"I could not understand what he was asking because I understood formality not to approach the Queen. My mother, standing next to me and nudging me, said I'd love to.

"As I agreed, Prince Philip told me, 'Well, climb under [the barricade].' He put his hand over my head as I bent underneath the barricade and he escorted me to the Queen.

"He engaged in small talk with me, asking me where I was from, to which I said Yellowknife. He probed further, asking, 'Whereabouts in Yellowknife?' I was so nervous that I gave him short and blunt answers (after all, he wouldn't know where 47th Street was), so I told him I lived, 'Oh, just down the street.' We were on the Yellowknife Airport tarmac.

"He smiled during the entire encounter and he attempted so much to be engaging to a shy and nervous teenager.

"When I arrived to the Queen with Prince Philip by my side, she had a smile and look of 'Where did you come from?' I presented the Queen with my flowers and said to her, 'It's an honour to meet you, Your Majesty.' Then I turned and went back to the crowd. Security had calmed down and then the CBC interviewed me as the girl that Prince Philip took from the crowd.

"At the time of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012, I wrote a letter to Prince Philip and thanked him for a moment in my life that is frozen in time and to which, I am so grateful. He was such a lovely gentleman."

- Natasha Penney, Fort Liard, N.W.T.

Photo: © Natasha Penney

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