The Royal House Of Windsor: Prince Philip

Prince Philip

This episode reveals how Prince Philip was frustrated by having to give up his beloved naval career in exchange for a lifetime of trailing after his wife – but channelled his energy into becoming the Windsors’ most radical moderniser. When Elizabeth is catapulted on to the throne, her husband wants to assert his rights by having his children bear his surname of Mountbatten. But the young and inexperienced Queen faces formidable opposition from her mother, grandmother and the most powerful man in the land, the PM Sir Winston Churchill. They want the Royal Family to retain the very English name ‘Windsor’, and the Queen gives in. Philip deals with this blow by launching a series of radical modernisation projects: overhauling the management of Buckingham Palace and refitting the Royal Yacht. But he’s thwarted at every turn by the palace old guard who distrust him and dislike change. In 1956, the Prince responds by setting off alone on a four-month world cruise, giving rise to rumours of a rift in the royal marriage. By the 1960s the Royal Family are looking tired and out of touch, so Prince Philip embarks on his most ambitious modernising scheme yet. He harnesses the medium of television to revamp the royal image. They appear in a fly-on-the-wall documentary Royal Family. It’s a tremendous success, watched by two thirds of the British population. But with the benefit of hindsight, the documentary opened Pandora’s Box. The people had seen the Royal Family in their off-duty clothes. Soon they wanted the dirty laundry.

The Royal House Of Windsor: Prince Philip – Saturday 8pm on Channel 4