AS Prince Philip, the husband of England’s Queen Elizabeth is laid to rest today, the anecdotes about his role as the Queen’s Consort and how he touched many hearts and minds keep flowing in.
Elizanne Asafu-Adjaye, 66, the daughter of Ghana’s first High Commissioner to the UK, Sir Edward Asafu-Adjaye, recounts an encounter with the Duke in the halcyon days of the early post-independence period:
‘In March 1960 the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Phillip suddenly came to dine with my parents.
‘I was only 5 years old but savoured every moment as it all happened so quickly for me.
‘Apparently he had asked my mother, Lady Martha to prepare him a special Ghanaian dish which he had heard about and wanted to try. My mother loved cooking so she was delighted to prepare the dish.
‘The proof was “in the pudding” – the Prince enjoyed it so much he even had seconds so actually the pudding [dessert] wasn’t important!!
‘I wanted to share this occasion as a tribute to The Duke of Edinburgh because he had not just a humorous but also a very personable and endearing side and this extended to different people including those from the Commonwealth.
‘My father was the first High Commissioner for Ghana, Sir Edward Asafu-Adjaye, who was a Ghanaian statesman and lawyer. He had attended both the coronation of the King George VI in 1937 and the Queen in 1953 and they named me in honour of the Queen and her daughter Princess Anne. This was a time when the country had newly gained its independence from British colonial rule and acts like the one the Duke did was especially appreciated, far more than can be imagined today. The Duke was so comfortable and relaxed he arrived with only one personal security officer and a chauffeur, needless to say he made us all feel comfortable and relaxed.
‘The Duke spotted me holding a camera and of course the Duke couldn’t conclude the evening without one of his classic humorous comments and this time it was to do with the Queen’s future brother-in-law (the then Antony Armstrong-Jones the society photographer who later became Lord Snowden) – I was warned to be careful not to put him out of a job!!!’
British political analysts deem that dinner engagement an act of adroit diplomacy by the Duke. ‘It was February 1960 and relations between the two countries were tense,’ The Times newspaper reported earlier this week. ‘Three years earlier Ghana had gained independence from British colonial rule and there were fears it might leave the Commonwealth,’ the authoritative newspaper added.
The Queen and Prince Philip went on a momentous royal tour of Ghana the following year.