He was born in Greece, attended schools in France, Germany and Scotland, trained in England and served in World War II naval theater in the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.
And, 10 times with his wife and less often alone, Prince Philip – who died Friday at age 99 – crossed many oceans to reach a collection of islands so distant from British monarchy a few kilometers further and he would find himself on his way back.
The first time, in the summer of 1953-1954, his wife Elizabeth was not only the newly crowned Queen, but also a mother of two.
Preparations, despite being offset by the Tangiwai tragedy – Prince Philip will lay wreaths at a mass funeral for victims of the Christmas Eve disaster – go far beyond digging up pregnant women.
Sheep tinged with Union Jack colors, sails erected to block tired buildings and armies of children in freshly sewn clothes were dispatched to parks, squares and train stations across the country.
Rotorua girl Miriama Searancke, 13, was among them, walking into Arawa Park with thousands of players and spectators in her new red boots with the Crown and the initials ER on the side.
“Everyone comes to perform for the Queen,” Searancke told the Daily Post in 2018.
“It was amazing.”
The 38-day tour takes the couple to 46 major cities and 110 events, with three-quarters of the country thought to have seen a royal surge.
Like all of the couple’s official tours over the past seven decades of marriage, Prince Philip is usually in the background.
When Pat Jamieson joined the crowd chanting “We want the Queen” outside the Revington Hotel in Greymouth, he was sure he actually took the couple to the balcony.
after – in a moment of silence – shouting “I want Duke”.
The 11-year-old had shared a moment with the empress earlier in the day after running half a mile beside their car during a street parade, she later told the NZHistory Government website.
“The Duke of Edinburgh looked across and said, ‘If you run any further, you’ll explode.'”
He’s known for his long list of blunt – and often outrageous – comments.
One, drawn up in a 1954 letter to Australian politician Sir Harold Hartley and unearthed last year, paints a different picture of the Duke of Edinburgh’s thinking about New Zealand and its inhabitants than one can get from spontaneous waves or the laying of wreaths.
Māori are treated in New Zealand like “museum objects and pets”, he wrote, and the country is a “perfect welfare state” that is “excessively regulated with little room for initiative”.
However, he was impressed by the exhibits of the Māori culture museum, a special interest after reading The Coming of the Māori by Sir Peter Buck / Te Rangi Hīroa (Ngāti Mutunga).
And her people are “universally charming and overall most caring,” he wrote.
He would return two years later – alone – to appear after the Melbourne Olympics.
A decade after their first hugely successful New Zealand tour, the royal couple sailed to the Bay of Islands on Royal Yacht Britannia on Waitangi Day 1963, visiting ports across the country, including Nelson, where the Duke – whose flagship Duke of Edinburgh rewards program helped thousands of children young people rule a precious life
skills – visit the Outward Bound School in Anakiwa.
The Queen and Duke, along with young Prince Charles and Princess Anne, returned seven years later for James Cook’s bicentennial, during which they debuted with the royal “walkabout”.
The royal couple will return to the Commonwealth Games in Christchurch four years later, three years after that to mark the Queen’s Silver Celebration – considered by some to be the closest to the joy of a quarter of a century earlier – and, in 1981, a brief visit following the Heads of the Commonwealth Government conference through the trench .
It may have been brief, but the 1981 tour left the country with captivating memories of Ginette McDonald’s Lyn of Laughter speaking directly to royals at the Royal Variety Performance.
McDonald’s, characterized by a no-bra outfit, blue jumpsuit, and wide Kiwi accent, won over the Duke when he commented on the royals opening the memorial pool at Laughter.
“The Queen doesn’t laugh at anything,” McDonald later told New Zealand Women’s Weekly.
“Prince Philip who is engaged to me. We met them after that and he mumbled something in my ear. He said he liked the sound of the ‘piddling’ pool.”
The next most notable visit came in 1990, when New Zealand marked 150 years since the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and Auckland hosted the Commonwealth Games, with the Queen, Duke and their son Prince Edward in attendance.
The couple’s last visit to New Zealand was in 2002, with the only fault being related to the faulty Daimler, who suffered a flat battery.
Daimler, which is only used for visiting heads of state, has a flat battery.
As the royal couple waits on their now stationary plane bound for Australia, airport workers have the embarrassing task of pushing the incapacitated car off course.