Bird-watching, painting, naval history and polo were just some of the Duke of Edinburgh’s eclectic range of interests and hobbies.
Prince Philip certainly liked to keep himself busy, but watching out for UFOs might not be the first thing you’d expect him to be into.
It turns out the Duke was fascinated with close encounters and had amassed a sizeable collection of books on the subject.
He was a regular subscriber to Flying Saucer Review and had given his former assistant Sir Peter Horsley ‘carte blanche’ to collect stories about UFOs from the RAF.
In his autobiography, Sounds from Another Room, Sir Peter, who served as the Duke’s ‘equerry’ from 1949 to 1956, says he was asked to bring witnesses to Buckingham Palace for private discussions.
Philip spent the summer of 2019 reading The Halt Perspective, which tells the story of Rendlesham Forest incident, dubbed ‘Britain’s Roswell’.
On December 26 and 28, US Air Force personnel at RAF Woodbridge, Suffolk, reported seeing strange lights in surrounding woodlands.
As they went out to investigate, one serviceman claims they got within touching distance of a ‘craft of unknown origin’.
The Duke had a number of other books on extraterrestrials in his collection, including Haunted Skies: The Encyclopedia of British UFOs.
The title’s author, a retired West Midlands detective, says the Duke had 12 of his books.
He told the i: ‘I’ve got about 12 letters from the Duke’s private secretary that say the prince found the subject interesting.
‘I’m quite proud of Prince Philip, why shouldn’t he have been interested in UFOs, because for goodness sake, that is something that we should treat seriously rather than flippantly. It is a phenomenon that has baffled mankind for millennia.
‘Even Prince Charles is interested in it and Prince William.’
According to the Sun, the Duke’s interest in UFOs was first sparked by his uncle Lord Mountbatten, who wrote an official report about a silver spaceship reportedly landing on his Broadlands estate in Romsey, Hampshire in 1955.
The report, which was kept secret until after Lord Mountbatten’s death in 1979, told how bricklayer Fred Briggs spotted the craft hovering above the ground.
A figure dressed in overalls and a helmet was then said to have emerged from the bottom of the vehicle, before Briggs was knocked off his bike and pinned to the ground by ‘an unseen force’.
In 2016, Nick Pope, who ran the Ministry of Defence’s UFO project told the Daily Star that Philip at one time was ‘absolutely fascinated’ with extraterrestrial activity.
He said: ‘This royal interest in UFOs was extremely difficult for us at the MoD because our policy was to downplay the true extent of our interest and involvement in UFOs.
‘We routinely told Parliament, the media and the public that the subject was of very limited interest and ‘no defence significance.
‘The irony was that we were all Crown servants – and that our ultimate bosses were fascinated by a subject we were actively trying to debunk.’
In his book, Sir Peter, who went on to be come an RAF commander, claims that in November 1954, he had an encounter with an alien called ‘Mr Janus’, who was able to read his mind.
The author said: ‘He didn’t say he was a visitor from another planet – but I had that impression.
‘I believe he was here to observe us. I never saw him again. I have no qualms about the reaction to my experience with Mr Janus.
‘I don’t care what people think – it was what happened.’
Sir Peter says Mr Janus wanted to meet Prince Philip, who he described as ‘a man of great vision’.
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