People can surprise you, even when you are the patriarch of a centuries old monarchy. In the wake of Prince Philip’s death in April 2021, tributes and trivia facts about him are everywhere, including the one sort-of-odd thing that just fascinated him. The Duke of Edinburgh died at the age of 99 years old, so he had probably seen just about everything. Except for the one thing he was secretly obsessed with, of course. 

Remember in The Crown Season 3 when Prince Philip becomes obsessed with the 1969 moon landing and it led to a midlife crisis? That storyline has been debunked by royal experts and his biographers as false, but there might have been some real life inspo behind it all. Sally Bedell Smith, a royals historian and author of Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch told NBC News that the story was a “complete invention.” She added, “The idea that he was obsessed with them and had a midlife crisis over not being on the moon is really preposterous,” she said. “He wouldn’t have been sitting around brooding about not being an astronaut.” However, Prince Philip seems to have been more eccentric than the public really ever knew. 

Prince Philip had a very particular hobby

Prince Philip’s former assistant Sir Peter Horsley, who died in 2001, wrote in his own autobiography (via Metro UK) that the duke was a loyal subscriber to the Flying Saucer Review, a magazine about UFOs. Horsley was also tasked with collecting any and all stories about UFOs from the Royal Air Force. Yes, really. Philip reportedly became interested in extraterrestrials from his uncle, Lord Mountbatten, who actually wrote an official report about a spaceship that he believed landed on his estate back in 1955, per The Sun.

Prince Philip also had an extensive collection of books about aliens, UFOs, and other otherworldly flying machines such as Haunted Skies: The Encyclopedia of British UFOs, per Horsley’s biography. According to Metro UK, Philip also reportedly spent the summer of 2019 reading a book about the Rendlesham Forest incident, which is known as “Britain’s Roswell,” when U.S. Air Force guys working at the RAF location in Woodbridge, Suffolk saw some strange lights in the woods. When they went out to take a closer look, the men reportedly said they were close enough to touch what they called a “craft of unknown origin.” 

So while he might not have been driven into a depression watching the moon landing, The Crown did sort of get one thing right about him — Prince Philip did care about what’s going on in outer space. 

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