Many people may have had the chance to meet Prince Philip in a receiving line or at an official reception or tea party, but few have had the chance to meet the Duke of Edinburgh person-to-person, let alone the experience of giving him direction.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 9/4/2021 (197 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Many people may have had the chance to meet Prince Philip in a receiving line or at an official reception or tea party, but few have had the chance to meet the Duke of Edinburgh person-to-person, let alone the experience of giving him direction.

That was the experience of Winnipeg actor-filmmaker Jon Ted Wynne, who met Prince Philip in 2011 while making his six-part documentary series Standing on Guard, a look at Manitoba's military units. In his capacity as the colonel-in-chief of the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders, Prince Philip consented to filming an introduction to that chapter of Wynne's series, which was later broadcast via MTS Stories from Home.

In the wake of Philip's death Friday, Wynne, 62, remembers the experience fondly, and not just because he got to get into a cab at London's Victoria Station and tell the driver, "Buckingham Palace, please."

"It was a very special circumstance," Wynne says. "I’m sure his demeanour for meeting individuals was a little bit different than meeting groups. It’s more down to earth, more immediate.

"I’ll never forget that because it was so special. It didn’t have to happen that way, but because of Philip's dedication to his regiment, that’s the only reason I got in. I was just a poor slob making a movie. I could be anybody.

"He was very accommodating and very kind."

Upon arriving at Buckingham Palace, Wynne was escorted by Philip's assistant to the "Sunshine Room" of the palace, which was like a mini library.

"It had a beautiful big window with sunlight streaming in and it was perfect for my purposes," Wynne recalls, adding the assistant cautioned Wynne the prince "doesn’t like to be fawned upon."

"And I thought: Yeah, I imagine that would be hard to deal with... all these people bowing and scraping and all the rest of it."

Two minutes before the appointment, Philip stuck his head in the door with three ties in his hand, and asked his assistant to confirm which of the ties was the official regimental tie. Because Wynne himself was wearing the same tie, the task was made easy.

It was quickly time for the task at hand, filming Philip reading the introduction to the episode, which Wynne hoped to accomplish in two takes.

"We did the first take and it was perfect," Wynne says. "He just turned 90 a few weeks before, and he read this one page for me. I was flabbergasted. When I was filming the intros to the other regiments with generals and people like that, they were quite good but Philip knocked them right out of the park. He was perfect.

"So I had asked for the second take and he said, 'Is there anything you’d like to comment on?'"

Yes, Wynne, a veteran theatre professional, took the opportunity to give the prince some notes, such as adding a pause after one line.

"He looked down at the sheet for about five seconds later he said 'Yes, OK.' So he did it again and he nailed it. It was just fantastic.

"Philip was extraordinarily professional. There was nothing snobby about him. He was as sharp as a tack and it was an extraordinary experience."

In fact, Philip remembered Wynne when the actor was battling cancer a few years later.

"When I was fighting the 'Big C', a friend of mine in England wrote to Philip to tell him. Prince Philip, through a secretary, sent me a beautiful letter wishing me a speedy recovery. It came during one of the most difficult times in my life when I was not expected to live. Philip's thoughtfulness really had a positive effect on me," Wynne says.

"That's one reason why I'm a monarchist. I believe our royalty at its best serves an important purpose to our collective morale, well-being and sense of tradition."

randall.king@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @FreepKing

Randall King

Randall King
Reporter

In a way, Randall King was born into the entertainment beat.

   Read full biography