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Wednesday, November 19, 1997 Published at 20:27 GMT


Prince Philip pays tribute to his children

The Duke of Edinburgh addresses guests at the Guildhall, London

The Duke of Edinburgh has used a gala lunch celebrating his 50th wedding anniversary to pay tribute to his children.

At a banquet hosted by the Lord Mayor of London, Prince Philip said that they had all done rather well under very difficult and demanding circumstances.

The Duke also praised the Queen for her abundance of tolerance within the partnership of marriage.

[ image: The Queen greeted by the Lord Mayor of London]
The Queen greeted by the Lord Mayor of London
"Like all families, we went through the full range of the pleasures and tribulations of bringing up children. I am, naturally, somewhat biased, but I think our children have all done rather well under very difficult and demanding circumstances and I hope I can be forgiven for feeling proud of them," he said.

"I am also encouraged to see what a good start the next generation is making," the Duke, who is 76, said in tribute to the royal couple's grandchildren.

The Duke said that time had seemed to fly by during the royal couple's half-century of marriage because "we have been fairly busy over the last 50 years".

With the Queen sitting at his side, Prince Philip reflected on the couple's "partnership in marriage" through good times and bad.

[ image: The Duke praised the Queen's
The Duke praised the Queen's "abundance of tolerance"
"The main lesson that we have learnt is that tolerance is the one essential ingredient of any happy marriage," he said. "It may not be quite so important when things are going well, but it is absolutely vital when the going gets difficult. You can take it from that the Queen has the quality of tolerance in abundance."

The Duke then recalled the early years of marriage and the dramatic changes to their lives when Princess Elizabeth was made Queen on the death of her father in 1952. But this, said the Duke, had less effect on married life than he had anticipated.

He also spoke of the difficulties of public life and the lack of privacy endured by the royals. But he conceded that those born into the monarchy "have to learn to accept certain constraints and to accommodate to that grey area of existence between official and what is left of private life."

However, he said, his position also presented opportunities for serving the nation.

[ image: The Queen Mother at her daughter's anniversary lunch]
The Queen Mother at her daughter's anniversary lunch
Four former prime ministers - Baroness Thatcher, John Major, Lord Callaghan, and Sir Edward Heath - were among VIP guests at the Corporation of London lunch.

The Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, and the Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, represented the Government.

The 97-year-old Queen Mother, Princess Royal and her husband Captain Timothy Lawrence, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, and the Duke of Kent were also among the guests.

Mr Prescott sat next to the Queen Mother on the top table and the two chatted animatedly during the lunch of baby lobster, Norfolk duckling, and bread and butter pudding with custard.

[ image: Princess Anne was among the guests]
Princess Anne was among the guests
On Thursday, the Queen will give her Golden Wedding speech at a celebration lunch hosted by the Prime Minister, Tony Blair.

The so-called 'People's Banquet' will be attended by people from all walks of life. Seated beside the Queen at the top table - alongside the Prime Minister - will be Helen James, 24, from Anglesey, a guide leader for five years and a member of the Guide Association's Junior Council.

BBC correspondent Grant Ferret examines changing public attitudes to monarchy over the last 50 years
The Duke's speech

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