Prince Philip snub: How Duke used ‘dignified option to avoid meeting Donald Trump’

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PRINCE PHILIP was able to use the “dignified” excuse of his royal retirement so as not to meet Donald Trump when he was expected to visit the UK in 2017, according to unearthed reports.

Philip retired from public life in 2017, at th e age of 96. He carried out more than 22,000 solo engagements since the Queen’s ascension to the throne in 1952Now 98, he and the Queen are social-distancing in Windsor Castle amid the deadly coronavirus outbreak. During his many decades as the royal consort, he became known for his sharp tongue and sense of duty to the crown.

It was therefore a surprise when it was announced that he would not be welcoming US President Donald Trump during his expected state visit back in 2017.

Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams told The Independent in May 2017 that Philip was unlikely to attend the President’s upcoming state visit as he was soon to retire.

Mr Fitzwilliams explained: “He will be retiring from public life – so that means he won’t have anything he has to go to.

“He will choose depending on whether the Queen might feel the need to have him by her side when she has to deal with Donald Trump for example.

“If he doesn’t feel it would be appropriate for his health or how he is feeling he has the option, and the dignified option, to step back.”

Prince Philip and Donald Trump

Prince Philip and Donald Trump (Image: Getty)

Trump visited the UK in 2019 and had a state banquet with the Royal Family

Trump visited the UK in 2019 and had a state banquet with the Royal Family (Image: Getty)

Philip was indeed admitted to hospital a month after Mr Fitzwilliams discussed his retirement for an infection arising from a pre-existing condition.

He recovered quickly and was said to be “up and about” again in no time.

Yet Mr Trump called off his visit in June due to the number of protests against him in the UK, and Philip carried out his last royal engagement in August.

Royal watchers were then left uncertain whether the Duke of Edinburgh would have welcomed the President to Britain had the visit taken place before his retirement.

Philip has been living in the Sandringham Estate since leaving public life, and spends most of his time reading or painting.

Philip did not meet Trump when he came to visit in 2018 nor 2019

Philip did not meet Trump when he came to visit in 2018 nor 2019 (Image: Getty)

Mr Trump did visit the UK in 2018 and twice in 2019. For last year’s state banquet with the President, many royal watchers questioned why Philip was not present.

As Mr Fitzwilliams explained back in 2017, there was an expectation that Philip would still be seen in public at important events.

He said: “I think we’ll see a lot of him, in the rare occasions in the past when he’s been ill, he’s been a most impatient patient and a live wire all his life.

“He is a tremendously active person, the sense of this announcement is to preserve dignity but he will remain part of this precious institution.

“Expect him at the Palace balcony, expect him to be at appropriate state occasions when he feels as though he should appear.”

Philip carrying out his last royal engagement in August 2017

Philip carrying out his last official royal engagement in August 2017 (Image: Getty)

The Duke of Edinburgh attending the Royal Windsor Horse show in 2018

The Duke of Edinburgh attending the Royal Windsor Horse show in 2018 (Image: Getty)

However, a senior courtier said in 2019: “The Queen feels the Duke has earned a proper retirement.

“She knows him too well – if he was still at the centre of royal life he’d feel he had to be involved.”

Mr Trump is believed to have a tense relationship with a few of the royals.

Prince Harry recently admitted in a leaked hoax phone call that he thought the US President had “blood on his hands” due to his inaction over climate change.

Philip had a brief spell in hospital over the Christmas period last year

Philip had a brief spell in hospital over the Christmas period last year (Image: Getty)

His wife Meghan Markle also indicated that she was not a fan of Mr Trump during the 2016 Presidential race. She dubbed the Republican candidate “misogynistic and divisive”, leading the President to later dub her “nasty”.

Although he became one of the core members of the royal fold, the Duke of Edinburgh was perceived to be a controversial figure when he first married the Queen due to his “left-wing views” and outspoken nature.

Despite remaining politically neutral throughout his time as the royal consort, Philip’s biographer Philip Eade once described the royal as “rather pink” in his progressive political views, which may have influenced his decision not to see Mr Trump.

Source: EXPRESS CO UK