Princess Anne on being her father's daughter as she awards The Prince Philip Medal for the first time to a female engineer - ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship reports
Her observations have been released on the day Prince Philip would have turned 100. “We all have to move on,” she said, “but it’s important to remember.” Princess Anne spoke to ITV News from her home at Gatcombe Park in Gloucestershire as she presented an award for engineering, which means a great deal to her.
There was much more to Prince Philip than most people knew, Princess Anne says
The medal bears her father’s name and reflects his – and her - passion for the subject. The Royal Academy of Engineering had always planned to issue a special centenary award of The Prince Philip Medal - to mark the occasion of his birthday. In its 30 year history, the medal, which recognises an individual’s special contribution to the field of engineering, has never been awarded to a female engineer. Until now. Princess Anne presented the Prince Philip Medal to Dr Gladys West at her her home in Virginia, USA to recognise how her work modelling the earth’s surface led to the development of GPS satellite positioning.
ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship reflects on his interview with Princess Anne, saying she is 'very much her father's daughter'
Dr West’s work, the Princess told her via video-link, was “particularly relevant” to her father as Prince Philip was a Naval officer and also a navigator himself.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s only daughter told ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship: “There were not many people who understood just how broad his interests were and how supportive he was to an astonishingly wide range of organisations. His perspective was really important.” She also reflected on how his “life experiences” had made him an inquisitive person: “I think your life experience makes a huge impact. He’d seen a lot of it and across a really wide area of both work and industry and in academia.
"He probably asked more questions than he gave opinions. He was always good at that.”
The Princess Royal wrote, in the days after her father’s death, that “you know it’s going to happen but you are never really ready” but she has not spoken publicly about his passing until now. She told ITV News how Prince Philip’s love of how things worked even shaped Royal family life on holiday.
Prince Philip’s famous barbecue kit in the back of the Land Rover trailer in Balmoral was something Princess Anne remembered fondly: “The trailer was designed specifically for that role. It was actually made by the engineer at Sandringham but it was designed entirely for that purpose and everything had a place and you needed to know where that was…and then it worked, really well!” Prince Philip was a founding member of the Royal Academy of Engineering and arranged the first meeting of the organisation at Buckingham Palace in 1976 and supported the Academy and its work until his death.
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"It’s not a bad background for looking at things.” After previously saying she would have become an engineer had she not been born a princess, Princess Anne reflected on how similar she is to her father: “I think that’s probably true because I think if anything broke, there was always ‘have a look at this, see if you can mend it’.
"We didn’t throw things away, I’m that old. We have to re-educate ourselves on the basis of not throwing quite so much away. That often comes from your own family background.” The Duke of Edinburgh was born in 10 June 1921 in Corfu. He died at Windsor Castle on 9 April 2021, two months before his 100th birthday.