Prince Philip: The Westport Connection

The death last week of Prince Philip at age 99 brought back memories for Jim Marpe. A quarter century ago, he spent 2 hours with the queen’s consort.

Marpe was not yet first selectman, so this is not a Town Hall-meets-Buckingham Palace story. Still, it’s a good one.

In 1996 Marpe was a partner with Accenture, the management and technology consulting firm. His British partners asked if he would introduce the prince to the leadership team of the major New York global bank that was his client, to help encourage their further expansion in the UK.

The meeting took place when Prince Philip was in New York.

Marpe recalls that while he and the other guests were briefed on a certain amount of protocol, he was pleasantly surprised with “the relaxed demeanor of the prince, his genuine engagement in the presentations and discussion, and a self-deprecating sense of humor.

“He knew what he didn’t know, but seemed anxious to learn,” Marpe says.

Prince Philip (left) and Jim Marpe. “You don’t shake a royal’s hand,” Marpe notes. “You just kind of clasp it.”

While this was more than 20 years before “The Crown,” and a year before the death of Princess Diana, Marpe was aware of the royal family’s “challenges,” and the prince’s propensity for making “tone-deaf” remarks.

Nevertheless, Marpe says, “our time together felt like a normal, friendly business meeting, and our conversation was comfortable.”

Reading the obituary this weekend, he noted that Phillip’s (as well as Queen Elizabeth’s) great-great-great-great-grandfather was King George III. The monarch was responsible for the British landing on Compo Beach, and the subsequent Battle of Compo Hill that is commemorated by our Minute Man Monument.

“That’s another Westport connection” with the British royal family, Marpe notes.

5 responses to “Prince Philip: The Westport Connection

  1. Arline Gertzoff

    I too had the great privilege to be presented to the Queen and PrincePhilip at St James Palace I was on a course sponsored by the English Speaking Union and we drew lots I was one of the winners Queen wanted to know where we came from The Duke of Edinburgh a few steps behind literally snapped his fingers and champagne appeared Yes he was utterly charming and far better than watching The Crown They walked through 9 rooms greeting their guests My good luck gave me the Throne Room
    An unforgettable experience Rest In Peace Your Royal Highness

  2. Michele Coppotelli SOlis

    Great story Dan!

  3. Susan Iseman

    Didn’t we have a revolt to get away from these people?

  4. Hanne Jeppesen

    Susan, Yes you are right of course. However, that does not preclude being interested in royalty and their lives. Just as some are interested in the Kardashian’s, or movie stars. I grew up in Denmark, we have a queen, Denmark is the oldest monarchy in the world. Several countries in Europe have a king or queen, most don’t have much political power, but act as good will ambassadors, our queen is very popular, as is the crown prince and his family. It is part of our history and tradition, as it is for all countries that still have the monarchy. Of course Russia dealt harshly with the tsar and his family, when he was no longer needed, England, Denmark and several other countries are not barbarians, so we honor our royalty. As an American it is understandable you don’t quite understand that tradition.

  5. Hanne Jeppesen

    Prince Phillip was known for his charm and almost movie star good looks, when he was younger. He was outspoken, i.e. not always politically correct, and often showed impatience with the royal protocol.