Hicks, 90, is the daughter of Philip’s uncle Lord Mountbatten and a former lady-in-waiting to the reigning monarch. She was also a bridesmaid at Elizabeth’s wedding to Philip in 1947.
She vividly recalled how Philip’s mother Princess Alice of Battenberg left Greece to live with the queen and the prince for the final two years of her life before her death in 1969 at age 84.
“The Queen was always marvelous with Princess Alice,” Hicks recently revealed on her daughter India Hicks’ podcast.
“Princess Alice was staying at Windsor and the Queen felt responsible,” she continued.
Alice was born congenitally deaf at Windsor Castle in 1885, U.K.’s Daily Mail reported. She married Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark in 1903. The couple had three daughters and a son. Philip, now 98, would become the Duke of Edinburgh.
India, 52, noted there has been a renewed interest in Alice following her depiction on Netflix’s hit series “The Crown.”
Hiicks said Elizabeth was always “patient” and “kind” to her mother-in-law, who could be “very sharp and difficult.”
“I remember, she was staying at Windsor and we were waiting to go into lunch,” said Hicks. “The equerry had come to collect her for lunch with the queen. He was a new equerry, a young man of about 20, and thought he must entertain Princess Alice and talk to her. He unwisely said, 'And what have you been doing this morning, ma’am?’ to which Princess Alice replied, ‘And what has [that] got to do with you?’”
Hicks also revealed that despite living under the same roof as her son and his wife, Alice and Philip led very separate lives.
“She was in a dressing gown, by choice, in the attic,” said Hicks, "while Prince Philip was very busy down below.”
Philip recently took a rare moment out of retirement to thank key workers who are fighting back against the coronavirus pandemic.
The duke is quarantining at Windsor Castle with Elizabeth.
“I wanted to recognise the vital and urgent work being done by so many to tackle the pandemic; by those in the medical and scientific professions, at universities and research institutions, all united in working to protect us from COVID-19,” Philip said in a statement shared by the British royal family’s Instagram account on Monday.
“On behalf of those of us who remain safe and at home, I also wanted to thank all key workers who ensure the infrastructure of our life continues; the staff and volunteers working on food production and distribution, those keeping postal and delivery services going, and those ensuring the rubbish continues to be collected,” added the royal.
While Philip has been retired since 2017, Newsweek reported the prince was “moved” by the response from the public.
According to the outlet, palace officials noted this surprising move by Philip is likely to be a one-off incident, as opposed to a return to regular royal duties.
“The duke was moved to send a personal message to everyone who is tackling this pandemic, everyone who has made a decision to help in any way they can,” said a palace insider.
“This is a personal message from the duke given these special circumstances.”