H.R.H The Duke of Edinburgh.
H.R.H The Duke of Edinburgh. 1921 - 2021. RIP.
What an amazing man Prince Philip was and what an incredible life he led, touching so many people all around the world.
Here are Kerrie's reflections of meeting with Prince Philip.
"In 2001, I was asked to speak at the Commonwealth Royal Agricultural Society Conference in Durban South Africa to present a paper on Value Adding to Agriculture, as a "young person" involved with the Royal Shows in Australia, and I was a Nuffield Farming Scholar.
The conference's theme for the year was Providing for Growing Populations where they focused on how we can be sustainable in a small and large scale agriculture.
I first heard Prince Philip whilst registering at the start of the Commonwealth Royal Agriculture Society conference in Durban, 2001, South Africa. I made a joke & heard a very loud laugh from behind a screen in the office but didn't know who it was & as I walked out there was a camera pointed in my direction & when I turned around to see what they were aiming at, Prince Philip was just behind me with a big grin on his face!
Commonwealth Royal Agricultural Society Conference, Durban, South Africa March 2001. Photo by Prestige Photography
I got to know him throughout the conference at breaks, dinners etc as most people were from farming backgrounds, he really enjoyed having a chat about agriculture, the environment and innovations and was deeply interested in what people had to say. There were really no media around and he was very relaxed and very much enjoying himself.
My presentation was on the second day at 2pm after lunch (THE worse time when everybody falls asleep) & I had decided to miss lunch & was making sure the music & video I was going to use to wake everyone up was set up properly, when I was told that I had to go to lunch immediately as I was sitting with Prince Philip.
It was a lovely lunch with His Royal Highness and Lord Vesty where we talked about the invasion of cane toads into the Kakadu, dung beetles, the Australian wool industry & value adding in Agriculture in Australia (my topic that I was speaking on). Prince Philip was quite concerned about the effect the introduction of non-native animal/insects into Australia were having on our native animals and habitats.
Prince Philip's knowledge, interest & understanding of agriculture across the Commonwealth was amazing & as he was the Chairman of the Commonwealth Royal Ag. Societies, he chaired a number of sessions where he summed up many speakers presentations with eloquence, vision & a touch of humour.
He also sat in on a working group I chaired on how to get younger people involved in Agricultural shows & he had some great ideas including his "Big Bang" theory ie. get rid of all the olds!! After some discussion we did agree that a compromise combining experience with youth was ok and to have definite terms for people on the committees and Agricultural Society' boards whilst encouraging younger members to be involved at decision making levels in their youth rather than when retired! Very interesting.
As I was at the conference talking about Value Adding to Wool and the opportunities for young people in Agriculture I took the opportunity and presented Prince Philip with a pair of our world famous wool underwear, Wundies! He said he would wear them whilst driving his horse & carriages!
Prince Philip being presented with a pair of Wundies by Kerrie Richards Durban, South Africa. March 2001 Photo by Prestige Photography After the conference I was on the same flight back to London as Prince Philip & his entourage & his Private Secretary, Brigadier, Sir Miles Hunt-Davis extended an invititation visit Buckingham Palace for a cup of tea if I had time!! (Let me think about that!!)
So whilst in London, I gave Miles a call and had the amazing privilege to go to Buckingham Palace and had a "cuppa & a bickie", saw the corgis being put out for a run & was mistaken for "someone important" and asked for my autograph as I left!!
When Prince Philip was in Brisbane in 2002, even though I was away at the time, I organised for a number of copies of RM Williams Outback Magazine that I knew he'd be interested in, delivered to his hotel & received a note back afterwards
I was just looking through my file with the photos & communications with Buckingham Palace and realise now just how special this was!
I was very lucky to have met Prince Philip... he was down to earth, intelligent, funny & didn't suffer fools!"
Merino Country Australia
Photos in Durban by Prestige Photography - Hennie Van Den Berg.
Main Photo of Prince Philip, Getty Images