The Duke and Aberfan: How Prince Philip helped comfort the community after the 1966 tragedy

Watch the full report by Jonathan Hill

His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh has died aged 99.

He was the longest-serving consort in British history and dedicated decades of his life to royal duty, serving the nation at the monarch’s side.

The small village of Aberfan is one part of Wales with a very close connection with the Duke.

After the Aberfan disaster in 1966 he went to visit the scene and console those still trying to comprehend the scale of the devastation a day after the tragedy, which resulted in the deaths of 116 children and 28 adults. 

Throughout his career, Prince Philip displayed a keen and genuine interest in Welsh life - although for many, it was his visit to Aberfan that earned him a special place in the hearts of those impacted by one of the worst disasters in its history. 

The Duke speaks to the family of survivor Gareth Jones (boy, left)

The Duke of Edinburgh was the first member of the royal family to visit the Aberfan community. 

Gareth Jones was a pupil at Pantglas Junior School when disaster struck. Despite being just six years old at the time, he recalled feeling a sense of gratitude at the Duke’s visit. 

“He (the Duke) came and spoke to my grandfather because we were all at the front. He came and I thought ‘that’s the King that is, that’s the King of Britain’” he said.

“He spoke to my grandfather, my grandfather spoke to him as well and he said ‘these are my three’s my three grandchildren that survived. 

“So I remember him turning to us and he said ‘You were actually in the school?’

“I said ‘Yes sir I was in the school, we survived the school.’

“The hairs stand up on the back of your neck. You look back and you think ‘How great they’ve come here’, to me personally and a lot of others here in Aberfan, it’s that personal touch.”

The Duke returned to Aberfan a week after his first visit joined by the Queen

A week after his first visit to the village, the Duke of Edinburgh returned with the Queen. 

The Queen had been criticised at the time for her delay in visiting those affected - which is thought to be one of the biggest regrets of her reign. 

Prince Philip would again visit Aberfan in the future, attending various commemoration events remembering those children and adults who perished in the disaster. 

Rob Osborne on the day that Prince Philip visited Aberfan