Commenting on the Queen and Philip’s facial expressions, Ms Hicks wrote: “Goodness, they look serious here. Well, it was serious, it was the opening of parliament in Ceylon.
“My mother, standing behind the Queen, says it was so clear to everyone that Prince Philip played an enormous part in the success of those Commonwealth Tours and indeed later, to the success of the Queen’s reign, ‘Because of his mix of teasing and humour, with unexpected kindness and thoughtfulness.’
“But she remembers them feeling absolutely ludicrous, climbing into long dress and tiara during broad daylight, on their way for another opening of another parliament.”
But then, according to Ms Hicks, the group had an impromptu moment of laughter thanks to Prince Philip’s spontaneity.
Ms Hicks added: “At one moment during a gruelling civic reception the formalities were lightened when a little dog came out of the crowd, leapt up the steps and when Prince Philip and the Queen stood during the presentations jumped up onto one of the vacant thrones and raised its paw to the crowd, as though acknowledging their cheers. Prince Philip burst out laughing.
“A press correspondent later turned to my mother and said ‘The best investment the Royal family has ever made in all its history is the Duke of Edinburgh’.”
The Duke was known for his ability to turn serious situations around with his sense of humour and witty remarks, frankly offering opinions upfront.