Remembering Prince Philip: Memories of Our Time Together in Ephesus, Turkey

Posted by on Apr 9, 2021 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, Engin Kadaster in Ephesus

I will never forget the day I spent with the British Royal Family in the ruins of Ephesus on October 21, 1971. Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, Princess Anne and other Royals were in the group, and I was one of their three official guides. It was a lovely Fall morning when we met the Royal Family at the entrance of the ancient city. In the 2 hours we spent together, I addressed mainly HRH the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, who were both awed by Ephesus.

As I reflect on that day, four fond memories come to mind:

First, as we were walking down Curates Street, the Prince asked me “what are the grooves on the marble blocks of the street?” I told him that the marble pieces were probably brought and reused from older unused buildings, and they were marked with grooves to avoid slipping during rainy weather. He turned to me and said, “Like all archeologists, you make up a lot of stories – Ha Ha!”. (Disclaimer: I was not yet an archaeologist, but a student at the University of Ankara, studying to be one).

Second, as those who have been lucky enough to have visited Ephesus would know, this ancient city has everything – baths, theaters, schools, concert hall, apartments, library, brothel and public toilets, among others. To avoid embarrassment, we had decided in advance not to take the Royal Family to the toilets or to the brothel. But, after we passed the Temple of Hadrian, Prince Philip made a right turn, and before I could guide him back to the route, we found ourselves right in the middle of the marble toilets! He turned to me asked where we were. Replying as delicately as I could, I answered “Well, Your Royal Highness, these are the water closets”. With graceful humor, Prince Phillip called to someone else who had followed us and said “Lord … , bring me the newspaper. I will do some reading here”!

Third, during their visit to Ephesus, access to the ruins had been blocked to everyone except members of the Royal Family, security, and journalists, as this event was being reported by news outlets all over the world. (Even my brother in Germany saw me on the evening news on TV that night!). At one point, there was a commotion among the journalists who were clamoring to take closer pictures. I was next to Prince Philip, and he put his hand over my shoulder and shouted to the arguing journalists that they “should take all their pictures and get out of there!” (He said it more colorfully, which I thought was delightful!)

Finally, after we finished touring the ruins of Ephesus, we moved on to the Archaeological Museum to see more priceless artifacts that had been found in the excavations, and to enjoy some cocktails. Of course, our important guests were immediately offered their drinks. Upon noticing that I was empty-handed, Prince Philip walked over to me and said, “May I bring you a drink?”, to which I politely replied “No, thank you, your Royal Highness.” To this day, I wonder if I should have instead said “Oh, a nice Gin & Tonic would be lovely”!

He was a true gentleman, with a great sense of humor. May he Rest in Peace!

Engin Kadaster, VP & Manager, Turkey At Its Best
April 9, 2021

Clip 1: Engin Kadaster & Prince Philip, Ephesus, Turkey.

Clip 2: Engin Kadaster & Prince Philip, Ephesus, Turkey.