Prince Harry Shares Insight Into Prince Philip's Attitude About War

If there's one business the British royals have been involved in from the very beginning -– not just the Windsor dynasty, but going all the way back to the ancient Britons — it's been the business of war. In many cases, they've had to pay the ultimate price, as well. Not only commoners but kings have lost their lives on the field of battle, from Harold Godwinson taking an arrow to the eye during the Battle of Hastings to Richard III failing to exchange his kingdom for a horse at the Battle of Bosworth Field and subsequently succumbing when he took a sword where the sun didn't shine (via Metro). Luckily, Richard was the last English king to die in battle (and the last to be named Richard, as it happens), but hardly the last to take a very active role in serving his country.

During WWII, the late Prince Philip, husband to the future queen, went off to war where he served with distinction in the Royal Navy. And by served, we don't mean a cushy desk job — he was on board a ship that came under attack from a German bomber, and he was instrumental in making sure his crew survived. So what sage advice did he give to his grandson, Prince Harry, when the latter went off to serve in Afghanistan? According to the new documentary "Prince Philip: The Royal Family Remembers" (via Newsweek), Philip was very terse, offering just six words.

Prince Philip didn't make too big a deal about military service

So what were these words of wisdom the older prince shared with the younger one? As Harry tells it, his grandfather simply told him "Make sure you come back alive." Well, Harry was obviously able to do so, so it wasn't bad advice, at that, and very in keeping with Philip's general demeanor. Philip, typical of his generation, didn't make much fuss about the horrors of war after he was lucky enough to return home in one piece. He just put the war behind him and got on with business -– business, in his case, being serving as prince consort to the woman who'd take the throne just a few years after the war ended.

So what happened when Harry came back from his own war? Well, as he tells it, not a great deal of emoting then, either, at least not from his grandfather (nor, we assume, from his granny, Queen of the Stiff Upper Lip). As Harry told the BBC (via Newsweek), "There wasn't a deep level of discussion, more a case of, 'Well you made it. How was it?' That's how he was."

 It seems Philip was more of an advise by example guy, but then, his low-drama style evidently served him in good stead. To hear his family tell it, he not only put his wartime experiences behind him but enjoyed nearly every moment of the 75+ years that followed.