'High admiration' - Ex-royal protection officer's tribute to Prince Philip

David Reeve, long-standing Chairman of the Sandringham Flower Show.

David Reeve, long-standing Chairman of the Sandringham Flower Show, served as the Royal Family's protection officer for 10 years and shared his admiration for the Duke of Edinburgh in a tribute following his passing. - Credit: IAN BURT

A retired chief superintendent who served as the Royal Family's protection officer in Norfolk has paid tribute to Prince Philip.

David Reeve, MVO MBE,  was responsible for the protection of the Royal Family when in the county between 1990 and 2000 and said it was a privilege to see both sides of the Duke of Edinburgh, working with him professionally and socially.

The Dersingham resident said among his most treasured possessions were signed photographs from members of the Royal Family which were presented to him on his retirement from the police force. 

Mr Reeve received a MVO for personal services to the Queen and later an MBE for services to the community.

Mr Reeve, who received a Christmas card from the Queen and Duke last year, said: "I have quite high admiration [for the Duke]. He was a man who knew what he wanted. He could be as kind as anybody that you could ever meet and that was not something that was always highlighted. 

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“I remember when my wife and I lost a puppy tragically at a young age, I was in the church with several thousand people and he came over and asked how the wife was and that he was very sorry we lost the puppy. 

“There were very few subjects you could discuss that he did not know. He was so well read.

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"It was a privilege being some times just him and myself with two or three others having lunch on a shoot or visiting a beach. I saw both sides of him.  

“Whatever happens in the rest of my life it was a unique chapter and a huge privilege. I would never describe myself as a close friend, I had the good fortune to work alongside and to see the public figure and private man.” 

Following a career spanning nearly 35 years in the police force, he said he never thought he would have the opportunity to work directly with the Royal Family. 

Mr Reeve said following his retirement he would still meet the Duke in his capacity as Sandringham Flower Show chairman, which he has been for more than 20 years. 

“The Duke of Edinburgh spent a lot of time at a farm house on the royal estate. He was quite a familiar face in the area," said Mr Reeve.

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