Pictured: Philip laughing with the crew of Royal Yacht Britannia during Christmas Day 1956, when Queen Elizabeth II was present.

  • This never before seen photograph of Prince Philip was taken Christmas Day 1956.
  • Taken The Queen was preparing for her holiday broadcast from thousands of miles away 
  • The image below is a powerful reminder of the Christmas Eve when Queen Elizabeth was all alone

Smiling broadly, his pose relaxed, the Duke of Edinburgh jokes with the crew of the Royal Yacht Britannia. 

This photo, which was never before seen, was captured on Christmas Day 1956. It was thousands of miles away from Sandringham as Queen Elizabeth prepared for her annual broadcast.

The informal camaraderie of the Duke’s ship is clear to see. Decks are strewn with colourful streamers and a balloon is decorated with the message ‘A Happy Christmas, “Dukie” ’.

This never-before-seen photograph was taken on Christmas Day 1956, thousands of miles from home in the southern seas as the Queen prepared to make her annual festive broadcast to the nation back at Sandringham

This rare photograph, never seen before, was captured on Christmas Day 1956 thousands of miles away in the south seas while the Queen was preparing to broadcast her annual Christmas message to the nation at Sandringham.

This poignant throwback is made possible by the ITV documentary that the Duke of Edinburgh has released about him. 

The Duke had called the Queen by radio from Britannia, and in her speech she said: ‘Of all the voices we have heard this afternoon none has given my children and myself greater joy than that of my husband.’

60-five years on, the Queen will be missing that voice as she prepares for her first Christmas without him.

Sixty-five years later, as the Queen (pictured at Sandringham during Christmas 1956) prepares for her first Christmas since his death, she will no doubt miss that voice even more

As the Queen, pictured at Sandringham in 1956 during Christmas, prepares to celebrate her first Christmas after his death sixty-five year later, it is clear that she will miss him even more.

Speaking to ITV, the Duke’s friend Martin Palmer, who co-founded the charity Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC) with him, said: ‘When they heard the news in 1952 that the King had died, I think his world collapsed. The Navy was his natural service place, and he couldn’t continue to do so. 

“It was an enormous shock. It left him feeling lost. In 1956 when he was asked – and joyfully accepted the invitation – to travel… that’s when he found himself again.’

The ITV documentary is described as a bid to put the Duke’s voice and thoughts front and centre, using 80 years of rare footage and material.

Philip: Philip, Prince, Husband and Father will be on ITV at 9:00 PM on December 21.