Prince Philip’s Last Words to Eldest Son Prince Charles Were Just What You’d Expect from the Royal Family’s Witty Patriarch

The Prince of Wales considers his father’s last quip to him a happy memory.

Prince Charles Prince Philip
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Save for touching social media posts about the royal family’s late patriarch, Prince Philip—who died one year ago this weekend, on April 9, 2021—the royal family has been mourning privately. Philip died at 99 years old, just two months shy of what would have been his 100th birthday on June 10.

One of the Duke of Edinburgh’s strongest traits throughout his long life was his rollicking sense of humor and biting wit, traits on full display in his last words to eldest son Prince Charles, just hours before his death.

In their last phone call, Charles shared in a BBC documentary celebrating Philip’s life, the Prince of Wales tentatively brought up plans for his father’s centennial, just two months away. It was a celebration that Philip, who didn’t crave being the center of attention, was not necessarily excited about. Charles suggested a party to mark the milestone, per the Mirror.

“We’re talking about your birthday! And whether there’s going to be a reception!” Charles said loudly, knowing his father was slightly hard of hearing.

Enter the witty quip from Philip, without missing a beat: “Well, I’ve got to be alive for it, haven’t I?”

“I told him ‘I knew you’d say that!’” Charles told the BBC, before adding that his father’s last words were a happy memory for him.

Philip died hours later, peacefully at Windsor Castle, clever and cheeky and very much himself until the very end.

Rachel Burchfield
Contributing Royal Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family. In addition to serving as the royal editor at Marie Claire, she has worked with publications like Vogue, Vanity Fair, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, and more. She cohosts Podcast Royal, a show that provides candid commentary on the biggest royal family headlines and offers segments on fashion, beauty, health and wellness, and lifestyle.