by Andrew K. Arnett

The recent death of Prince Philip has brought to light some of the more colorful aspects of the life of the late Duke of Edinburgh, namely, a deep and abiding interest in the subject of extraterrestrials. Prince Philip, married to Queen Elizabeth for over 70 years, passed away on April 17, 2021, at the age of 99. A man of such stature and length of years has, needless to say, seen much in his time. There was the rise and fall of Hitler. World War ll. The dropping of the first atomic bomb. The coming and going of the Cold War, etc.

The question arises: what is his take on the UFO phenomena? What does he know? Certainly, a man who has lived a full century in the catbird seat knows a thing or two. No doubt, the Prince has little tolerance for suffering fools, nor time to dally in bizarre fantasies. So it may come as a surprise to some that the Prince indulged a life long interest in all things extraterrestrial.

Indeed, the Duke’s library reveals a man obsessed with the UFO problem. The shelves were filled with books about extraterrestrial encounters. He was a regular subscriber to the British quarterly Flying Saucer Review. And he often corresponded with UFO investigators, one being UFOlogist Timothy Good, self described as the “leading authority on UFOs and the alien presence.” In a letter to Good, Philip wrote that there are “many reasons to believe that [extraterrestrials] exist,” because “there is so much evidence from reliable witnesses.”

Philip Eade, author of Prince Philip: The Turbulent Early Life of the Man Who Married Queen Elizabeth II, wrote “I was struck by the revelation that Prince Philip’s equerry once went off at the prince’s bidding to meet an extraterrestrial humanoid at a house in Ealing.”

Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma

It appears that Prince Philip’s fascination with the paranormal was sparked by another member of royalty, the famous Earl Mountbatten, a maternal uncle of Prince Philip and second cousin once removed of Queen Elizabeth ll. He was a statesman and British Royal Navy Officer and a brief survey of his career shows he was no slouch.

Mountbatten first entered the British Royal Navy in 1916 and saw action in World War l. When World War ll broke out, Mountbatten was commander of the HMS Kelly and the 5th Destroyer Flotilla. He engaged the Nazi’s in Norway, the Mediterranean and the English Channel. In 1943 he became Supreme Allied Commander, South East Asia Command and recaptured Singapore and Burma from the Japanese by the end of the war. After the war, he became the last Viceroy of India then the first governor-general of India.

Mountbatten was an avid UFOlogist and long time subscriber to the Flying Saucer Review. Philip Eade notes that Mountbatten stated in a letter that the pilots of certain alien craft must have been “Martians, Venusians, Jupeterians, or what have you.” In a letter written in the 1950’s, Mountbatten writes:

“Why should life in another planet with entirely different conditions in any way resemble life on our planet? Their inhabitants might be ‘gaseous’ or circular or very large. They certainly don’t breathe, they may not have to eat and I doubt if they have babies — bits of their great discs may break away and grow into a new creature . . . If the human race wishes to survive they may have to band together.”

In February, 1955, Mountbatten wrote an official report about a silver spaceship observed landing on his Broadlands estate in Southern England. The document, unsealed after the death of Mountbatten in 1979, spoke of a bricklayer named Fred Briggs who witnessed a large metallic object “hovering stationary” over snow covered property.

Briggs stated, “While I was watching, a column, about the thickness of a man, descended from the center of the saucer and I suddenly noticed on it, what appeared to be a man, presumably standing on a small platform on the end. He did not appear to be holding on to anything. He seemed to be dressed in a dark suit of overalls and was wearing a close fitting hat or helmet.”

Briggs described how an “unseen force” knocked him and his bicycle over to the ground as the craft flew off into the sky. Mountbatten went to investigate the area of the UFO sighting and was convinced of the veracity of the report, with Mountbatten claiming in the report that “Mr. Briggs was still dazed when I first saw him and was worried that no one would believe his story,” Mountbatten wrote. “He has offered to swear to the truth of this statement on oath of the Bible, if needed, but I saw no point in asking him to do this.”

Following up on the incident, Mountbatten, in 1962, wrote to Lord Solly Zuckerman, the Ministry of Defense’s chief scientific adviser, asking for his take on flying saucers. The answer he received from the noted scientist was dismissive of the UFO phenomenon, relegating the entire business to the dust bin of ghosts and the Loch Ness Monster, for lack of evidence. Apparently, shortly after this, Mountbatten himself claimed he “gradually lost interest” in the subject of UFOs.

Prince Philip, on the other hand, was just getting warmed up. According to Philip’s former aide Sir Peter Horsley, Philip invited people who’d experienced close encounters with UFOs to Buckingham Palace for private interviews. Horsley was also tasked with collecting UFO reports from the UK Royal Air Force, soon after the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953.

In Eade’s book, Horsley states that, “Prince Philip was open to the immense possibilities leading to space exploration, while at the same time not discounting that, just as we were on the fringe of breaking into space, so older civilizations in the universe might already have done so.”

Horsley was not just a collector of paranormal information but became a believer as well. In his autobiography, Sounds From Another Room: Memories of Planes, Princes, and the Paranormal, Horsley describes a strange encounter he had with a telepathic man by the name of Mr. Janus at a London Flat. Horsely describes the encounter thus:

“It was here the strangeness of it all started – the man’s extraordinary ability to read my thoughts. I asked him why he wanted to meet Prince Philip and he replied, ‘Prince Philip is a man of great vision, a person of world renown and a leader in the realm of wildlife and the environment. He is a man who believes strongly in the proper relationship between man and nature which will prove of great importance in future galactic harmony.’”

In an interview with the Daily Mail in 1997, Horsley said, “We talked for hours about traveling in space and time. 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.”

Prince Philip’s UFO obsession, like his paranormal library, continued to grow through the decades. According to Vanity Fair, just last year, in 2020, the Prince read The Halt Perspective, a book on the Rendlesham Forest Incident. Philip dictated to his private secretary a letter for the author of the book, stating, “I will be reading with close interest.” Similarly, when Philip received Haunted Skies: The Encyclopedia of British UFOs, his secretary replied that the Prince would “add this copy to his collection” and it “will make a most welcome addition to his library.”

These revelations coming from the normally tight lipped upper crust of England’s royalty serves, at best, as a bit of marmalade to spread on the paranormal enthusiast’s toast. The question remains, what are they concealing?