Prince Philip, who died earlier this week aged 99, was famous for his gaffes.
But there was one occasion he didn’t put a foot wrong – in stopping to chat to a chimney sweep on his wedding day!
The Duke of Edinburgh spotted the sweep among the throng of well wishers who gathered outside Kensington Palace on November 20, 1947.
The Duke, who was just about to set off to Westminster Abbey, was captured by film crews receiving a good luck message from the sweep, who is at the front of the crowd.
Clearly, the groom was well aware of the tradition of lucky sweeps at weddings and the two can be seen exchanging greetings.
Unfortunately, no sound footage remains of what was said… but it clearly worked.
After all, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip were married for 73 years!
There is a rumour a chimney sweep was ushered into Buckingham Palace for a private ‘good luck’ message to both the bride and groom, but no hard evidence exists.
The Duke wasn’t the first Royal to have benefited from a sweep’s intervention. Chimney sweeps have a long-standing tradition of bringing good luck to Royalty.
Folklore has it that in the 18th Century, King George II’s life was saved by a sweep. Apparently, a stray dog shot out infront of the King’s horse and bit its leg, causing it to bolt.
With the King in danger, a brave sweep stepped out from the crowd and managed to calm the horse.
Because the sweep disappeared before King George could thank him, a Royal Decree was issued proclaiming that all sweeps are lucky.
It’s a tradition which continues today. I regularly get customers asking to shake my hand and enquire if I ever attend weddings.
I have to say that it’s not a service I provide. But then again, if an assignment came in from Buckingham Palace, I may make an exception…
Mr Soot Chimney Sweep is a fully qualified sweep and a member of the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps, based in the Manchester and South Lancs area