Prince Philip asked an 80-year-old photographer to hide in a fake pillar at his funeral for this surprising reason

Prince Philip requested the royal photographer make himself scarce at his military funeral service last Saturday

prince philip laughing
(Image credit: STEVE PARSONS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Prince Philip asked his longtime photographer friend to perform a very special request at his funeral on Saturday – hide in a fake pillar. 

The Duke of Edinburgh, who was laid to rest last weekend at the age of 99, had been heavily involved in his funeral preparations before his death. 

From requesting a military service to designing the regalia display, his influence on the solemn service at St. George's Chapel was impossible to miss. It has now been revealed that he was also particularly concerned with the portrayal of his coffin on camera and was willing to go to extreme lengths to secure the perfect shot.

The late duke enlisted Arthur Edwards, a royal photographer whom he had personally met, to execute the poignant task. 

The 80-year-old was required to hide inside a fake pillar on the steps of the chapel, where he was able to discreetly snap some final pictures of Prince Philip's coffin from a clear angle. His black camera lens could be seen poking out of the makeshift column's opening, a feature that reminded Arthur of a beloved pastime from the duke's later years. 

WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 17: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, Peter Phillips, Princess Anne, Princess Royal, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales look on as a Bearer Party of Royal Marines carry Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh's coffin (draped in his Royal Standard Flag and bearing his Royal Navy cap, sword and a bouquet of lilies, white roses, freesia and sweet peas) into St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle for his funeral service on April 17, 2021 in Windsor, England. Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark was born 10 June 1921, in Greece. He served in the British Royal Navy and fought in WWII. He married the then Princess Elizabeth on 20 November 1947 and was created Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, and Baron Greenwich by King VI. He served as Prince Consort to Queen Elizabeth II until his death on April 9 2021, months short of his 100th birthday. His funeral takes place today at Windsor Castle with only 30 guests invited due to Coronavirus pandemic restrictions. (Photo by Pool/Max Mumby/Getty Images)

Arthur's camera can be seen poking out of the fake pillar on the left hand side of the photo 

(Image credit: Pool/Max Mumby/Getty Images)

"With a letterbox-shaped slit, it was like the bird-watching hides where Prince Philip spent hours of his retirement at Sandringham,” he recalled. 

The clever trick worked just as expected, allowing Arthur to deliver sharp shots of the flag-draped coffin as it entered the chapel. The experience was incredibly moving for the veteran photographer, who had spent half of his life capturing images of Prince Philip. 

 "When his coffin went past my hidey-hole and into the chapel – my last sight of the man I photographed for 40 years – I was overwhelmed with memories of an incredible man." 

Arthur also got an up-close perspective of Prince Charles as walked slowly behind his late father. "Close to tears, I could see he realized the weight of the task ahead to look after his mother and the monarchy,” he revealed.

Attended by just 30 guests due to Covid-19 restrictions, the Royal Family's pain was impossible to ignore during the lowkey service. 

Prince Charles's eyes were glistening with tears in the funeral procession, while the Queen looked solitary sitting alone as she bid her final farewell to her husband. The death of Prince Philip marked the end of her seven-decade-long marriage with the royal consort, leaving her to head the British monarchy without any spousal support. 

Emma Dooney
Lifestyle News Writer

Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.

Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.