Captain Moonlight's Notebook: Travels with the Duke

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The Independent Online
THE Duke of Edinburgh's decision to replace his green Lucas electric van with a green London cab for his engagements in London reminds me that from the earliest age he has travelled in odd conveyances. Aged 18 months he was carried aboard a British gunboat in an orange crate at Corfu as his family fled political turmoil in Greece. That was the legend - no one was sure whether it was true.

I can now reveal it was indeed the case. Elizabeth Roberts from Godalming, Surrey, has written saying her father George Willson was a subaltern on the gunboat HMS Calypso and that he helped carry on board the crate with Philip the Greek inside. In 1977, 55 years later, George Willson was summoned to Buckingham Palace and thanked for handling the oranges so gently.

Green seems to be a lucky colour for the Duke of Edinburgh. Apart from his green van and taxi the silver talisman he takes with him whenever he travels by air is wrapped in a green cloth. I am told that nowadays he is becoming rather spiritual and wonder whether green has benign vibrations. Miss Peachblossom, my former soothsayer, was unable to help me on this one. Perhaps a reader can.