Prince Philip used to get into ‘a lot of trouble’ with the Queen over palace pranks

The late Duke of Edinburgh's unusual prank to entertain his grandchildren didn't go down quite as well with Her Majesty...

Prince Philip in 'trouble' with the Queen over pranks, seen here side by side
(Image credit: Future// Image1:Photo by Alastair Grant - WPA Pool/Getty Images // Image 2: Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

A palace prank used to get Prince Philip in “trouble” with the Queen according to their grandchildren who were thoroughly entertained by his humorous antics. 


The late Duke of Edinburgh’s death last year might not have changed the royal line of succession (opens in new tab) but it certainly changed The Firm (opens in new tab) as we know it. In a heartfelt speech during the Jubilee Platinum Party at the Palace in June, Prince Charles remarked upon how his father was “much missed”. Whilst the Queen secretly mourned Prince Philip (opens in new tab) with a special detail on her outfit for her second balcony appearance. 

But whilst these are very poignant moments, the royals did share some incredible light-hearted anecdotes about him in a Prince Philip BBC documentary (opens in new tab), Prince Philip: The Royal Family remembers. Partially filmed before his passing, his family reflected on their wonderful memories. 

And according to his and the Queen’s grandchildren (opens in new tab), there was one palace prank which got Prince Philip in “trouble” with the monarch…

Initially the documentary was intended to mark Philip’s 100th birthday in June 2021, though the focus understandably changed after his death. The likes of Prince William, Prince Harry, Prince Charles and Zara Tindall and many other royals all spoke about the late Duke.

And it was William, Zara and her brother Peter Phillips who shared a hilarious anecdote about his attempts to make them laugh. The Duke of Cambridge, who is second in the royal line of succession (opens in new tab), revealed that his grandfather used to take the lid off a tube of mustard and then convince his grandchildren to put the mustard between their hands.

The results apparently didn’t win the Queen’s approval as he explained, “[T]hen he’d squish your hands together to fire the mustard onto the ceiling. He used to get in a lot of trouble from my grandmother for covering most of the places we had lunch and things with mustard on the ceiling.”

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge attend the 2015 Rugby World Cup Final

(Image credit: Photo by Max Mumby/Pool/Indigo/Getty Images)

"He enjoyed those jokes; he enjoyed messing around with the children and being a grandfather,” William later added.

Despite Her Majesty’s apparent distaste for the prank, William’s cousins Zara and Peter also remembered it fondly. 

“I can’t remember exactly what he says but he ends up slamming your hands together.... It goes all over the ceiling,” Zara shared as Peter added, “I actually think the marks are still there.”

According to William, Philip’s vibrant sense of humor also extended beyond the palace walls to the possibility of things going wrong even on meticulously-planned engagements.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh smile during a ceremonial welcome

(Image credit: Photo by Toby Melville - WPA Pool /Getty Images)

“My grandfather loved things when they go wrong,” the Duke of Cambridge said. “Both my grandparents love that because you can imagine, they’ve lived a life where everything has to go right the whole time and so when things go wrong, they both chuckle an awful lot. Everyone else gets mortally embarrassed. They love it.”

Whilst Prince Philip’s mustard prank’s messiness in the royals’ historic homes might not have gone down that well with the Queen at the time, he certainly seemed to have entertained his excited grandkids with his antics. All these years later, it’s clear they still hold these memories close to their hearts as they miss this remarkable royal figure.

Emma Shacklock
Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with six years of experience working in digital publishing, ranging from book publishing to magazines. She currently looks after all things Lifestyle for Woman&Home, Goodto.com, and My Imperfect Life.