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Prince Philip's 1983 royal visit left lasting impression in San Diego

Prince Philip's 1983 royal visit left lasting impression in San Diego
Posted at 3:43 PM, Apr 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-09 23:31:49-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Amid the passing of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, San Diegans are sharing their memories from a royal visit to San Diego in 1983.

On a Saturday in February of 1983, water and gun salutes ushered in a royal visit and the arrival of the Royal Yacht Britannia.

Thousands camped out at the Broadway Pier to welcome Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip. They went on a tour of the harbor and an aircraft carrier. Prince Philip, a decorated Royal Navy and World War II veteran, was also the founder of the World Wildlife Fund.

He would visit the San Diego Zoo, where he received a walking tour. He and the Queen also made a stop at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

FROM THE ABC 10NEWS ARCHIVES: Watch Prince Philip & Queen Elizabeth visit San Diego

"It was a bit of an unbelievable experience," said Jerry Kooyman.

At the event, Scripps research physiologist Jerry Kooyman talked of his research into the amount of energy marine mammals used to swim.

Prince Philip stayed after for a few minutes to pick his brain.

“He was very engaged and very interested in animals, and how these seals can dive so deep … I liked him, I thought he was a pretty down-to-earth person,” said Kooyman.

Also that day, Prince Philip and the Queen met local and state dignitaries, including a dinner and reception on the royal yacht.

The next morning, they would attend morning prayer at St. Paul's Cathedral in Banker's Hill.

“He was kind and courteous, a true English gentleman,” said James Carroll, Dean of the Cathedral.

Carroll says Prince Philip read aloud a lesson of Holy Scripture. After the service, he went off-script, visiting with the choir on the patio.

“With the choir, he had some words, especially with the children. They were delighted. They called him, ‘Your Majesty,’” said Carroll.