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Pictured: Prince Philip joking with the crew of Royal Yacht Britannia on Christmas Day 1956


Pictured: Prince Philip joking with the crew of Royal Yacht Britannia on Christmas Day 1956 (the last time the Queen spent December 25 alone)

  • An unprecedented photo of Prince Philip was taken on Christmas Day 1956
  • are taken Thousands of miles away while the Queen was preparing for her festive broadcast
  • The photo is a touching throwback to the last time the Queen spent Christmas alone










The Duke of Edinburgh smiles widely and is relaxed, joking with the crew of Royal Yacht Britannia.

This never-before-seen photo was taken on Christmas Day 1956, thousands of miles from home in the South Seas as the Queen prepared for her annual festive broadcast to the nation again at Sandringham.

The informal camaraderie of the Duke’s ship is clearly visible. The floors are dotted with colorful streamers and the balloon is emblazoned with the message “Happy Birthday,” Doki.

This never-before-seen photo was taken on Christmas Day 1956, thousands of miles from home in the South Seas as the Queen prepared for her annual festive broadcast to the nation at Sandringham.

And the photo, which appears in a new ITV documentary about the late duke, is a touching throwback to the last time the Queen spent Christmas alone.

The Duke called the Queen by radio from Britannia, and in her speech she said: “Of all the voices we have heard this afternoon, my children and I have given us no greater pleasure than my husband’s.”

Sixty-five years later, as the Queen prepares for her first birthday since his death, she will undoubtedly miss that voice even more.

Sixty-five years later, as the Queen (who appeared at Sandringham over Christmas 1956) prepares for her first Christmas since his death, she will undoubtedly miss that voice even more.

Sixty-five years later, as the Queen (who appeared at Sandringham over Christmas 1956) prepares for her first Christmas since his death, she will undoubtedly miss that voice even more.

Speaking to ITV, Martin Palmer, a friend of the Duke, with whom he co-founded the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC), said: “When they heard the news of the King’s death in 1952, I think his world collapsed. His normal place in the service, the Navy, was no longer possible.

It was a big shock. Was a little lost. In 1956 when he was asked – and he gladly accepted the invitation – to travel… that’s when he found himself again.

The ITV documentary is described as an attempt to put the Duke’s voice and ideas front and center, using 80 years of rare footage and materials.

Philip: Prince, husband, father on ITV at 9pm on December 21.

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