A memorable meet with Queen Elizabeth's husband, Prince Philip during his visit to Hyderabad

Prince Philip is the one to meet. Royalty he is but is not too much of a stickler for protocol. The 97-year-old Duke of Edinburg, husband of Queen Elizabeth of England, caused an accident while driving his car a couple of days ago. He’s back behind the wheels and was photographed driving his car again. I recall the time, I met him when he was in Hyderabad.

Music wafted in the air. Mandolin Srinivas created magic as we sat down to listen to him weave magic on his instrument on the lawns of Jubilee hall in Hyderabad .  The concert for the small gathering was organized for Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburg one evening when he was on a visit to the city in  1997. He had come to India with his wife, the Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth. While the Queen went about engagements that had been fixed for her, Prince Philip had programmes to attend in three other cities, including Hyderabad.

Having some idea about the royalty and the protocol, it was only expected that the Prince would at the most spend a few minutes at the very formal event. But Prince Philip seemed to enjoy the evening with the lilting music of U Srinivas.  There suddenly was some commotion among the officials. Departing from Protocol, the Prince had expressed a desire to meet all the artistes who had performed and also the motley group of people who had been invited for the occasion.
I was there as a reporter and it did come as a bit of a surprise as we informed that the Prince Philip would walk down to where we were sitting. Just so that there would be no commotion, the officials while conveying the desire of the Prince, asked all the artistes who were with mandolin Srinivas, to be gathered at a particular place on the lawn, not far from the dais that has been put up for the day’s cultural performance. 

Meeting Prince Philip that day turned out to be interesting because he had been informed that it the evening’s programme was a ‘formal event’ and that meeting or talking to Prince Philip was out of question. Prince Philip who was 76 years old then, not only enjoy the classical music concern but he expressing a desire to meet the guests of the evening, left a great impression on everyone who came.  Protocol officials cautioned the group of people against extending their hand to shake hands with the Prince but, of course, if he chose to, they could. And the Prince did choose to mingle freely with the gathering, shaking hands with some but with a genuine smile all through.
Prince Philip is known to be a man with a great amount of humour and the informal manner in which he interacted gave me an insight into another side of the British royalty.


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