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
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.