Gyles Brandreth warned young royals to follow Philips mantra: ‘Don’t be self-absorbed!

Prince Philip: Gyles Brandreth recalls being corrected by royal

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Gyles has delighted fans with his weekly appearances on Channel 4’s Celebrity Gogglebox recently, as he watches and reviews the top TV programmes which have got the nation talking. A former MP, journalist and a royal author, Gyles is also known for illuminating what goes on behind Palace walls. Particularly close with the late Duke of Edinburgh, Gyles has often shared what he thinks Prince Philip will have thought of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s dramatic exit from the Firm last year.

Writing in The Radio Times after Philip’s death in April, Gyles said Philip would often urge those closest to him: “Don’t be self-absorbed.

“Be absorbed in the world around you. It’s more interesting.”

Philip allegedly told Gyles that he learned to accept “these things happen” in life, rather than dwelling on the trauma of the past.

The Duke of Edinburgh had a very troublesome childhood; his family had to escape Greece in exile when he was just an infant.

He was subsequently raised by various aunts and uncles in the UK while his mother spent several years in an asylum in Switzerland and his father lived in Monte Carlo.

Gyles claimed Philip came to accept such trauma, as he believed “that’s life” and decided that the best course of action was to just “get on with it”.

Gyles continued: “The stiff upper lip may not be fashionable nowadays, but it stood him in good stead…”

This may have been a nod to Meghan’s claim back in Autumn 2019 that the “stiff upper lip” is “internally damaging”.

Gyles added: “Lord Lewin, who had served with him in the Navy and later became Chief of the Defence Staff, told me that if the Duke of Edinburgh had been able to continue his naval career, ‘He’d have gone right to the top, no question’.”

Gyles continued: “But, if the Duke had regrets, he wouldn’t share them. That was not his style.”

The royal biographer also told the i newspaper: “When you meet the Duke of Edinburgh — or the Queen, for that matter — they never talk about themselves.

“They ask you about you and what you’re doing.”

He claimed that “if pressed” they would share what projects they were involved in, but if asked about themselves “you will find they change the subject”.

Speaking back in 2018, he urged the public to “take a leaf out of their book” and not to talk about themselves.

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After Meghan and Harry’s Oprah Winfrey interview aired back in March as a CBS Special — where the couple discussed their misery behind Palace walls and made a string of allegations against the Royal Family — Gyles speculated that Philip would not have been impressed.

He said that the Duke of Edinburgh was sorry that the couple’s unhappiness led to their exit — but he was deeply unimpressed with their decision to agree to a tell-all interview about it.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Gyles claimed a source close to the late Duke of Edinburgh told him Philip thought the interview was “madness” and “no good would come of it”.

He added: “I was not surprised because that is exactly how he described to me the personal TV interviews given by Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales, back in the Nineties.”

He also claimed that Philip was not bothered that the interview aired while he was in hospital; but worried about the “couple’s preoccupation with their own problems” and their “willingness to talk about them in public”.

Philip died a few weeks after the Sussexes’ bombshell interview with Oprah aired, when it was still making headlines around the world.

Prince Philip's respect for uniform discussed by Gyles Brandreth

Harry sparked hopes that he was seeking a reconciliation with his family when he flew over from the US to attend his grandfather’s funeral in Windsor.

However, such hopes were unfounded; he was not able to have any successful peace talks with his family during his trip.

Upon the Duke of Sussex’s return to the US, he also made more allegations against the Firm and even went as far as to accuse his father Prince Charles of “total neglect” when it came to his own mental wellbeing.

Speaking in Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert podcast, Harry also brought the Queen and Prince Philip into his ongoing tirade against the royals.

He said: “I don’t think we should be pointing the finger or blaming anybody, but certainly when it comes to parenting, if I’ve experienced some form of pain or suffering because of the pain or suffering that perhaps my father or my parents had suffered, I’m going to make sure I break that cycle so that I don’t pass it on, basically.”

Celebrity Gogglebox airs on Fridays at 9pm Channel 4, and is available on demand at

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