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Royal honour Louth woman recalls her 'amazing experience' working with 'extraordinary' Prince Philip

Sheila Bailey, who hails from Dundalk, Co. Louth is a former CEO of the Ireland Fund of Great Britain and was awarded the Freedom of the City of London for her services to the Irish Community there.

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Sheila Bailey and Prince Philip at the Duke of Edinburgh Awards

Sheila Bailey and Prince Philip at the Duke of Edinburgh Awards

Sheila Bailey and Prince Philip at the Duke of Edinburgh Awards

An experienced Irish charity professional who worked with the late Duke of Edinburgh for two years has recalled a hilarious story of when a cheeky comment left Prince Philip momentarily speechless.

Sheila Bailey was working alongside Prince Philip on the 50th Anniversary of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards when a shameless remark took His Royal Highness aback before laughing aloud.

Sheila, who hails from Dundalk, Co Louth, is a former CEO of the Ireland Fund of Great Britain and was awarded the Freedom of the City of London for her services to the Irish community there. She now works on projects for several international charities.

In describing Prince Philip as 'extraordinary,' she got involved in the Awards ceremony in 2006.

"I worked alongside him for two years then and it was an amazing experience and not once that I thought would ever happen to me growing up in Dundalk," she said

"Prince Philip was an extraordinary man and I think to anyone who had any dealings with him of any sort - funny, irreverent or what have you - went away with a very strong view of him.

"I think the awards were the single most defining thing in his career, the number of people who said it changed their lives was countless.

"Anyone I met who ever had any contact with the Duke of Edinburgh in that time had nothing but good to say about him and about what he did."

However when she learned of Prince Philip's death, there was one story which immediately came to her mind, she told LMFM Radio's Late Lunch programme.

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Sheila Bailey at Royal Ascot

Sheila Bailey at Royal Ascot

Sheila Bailey at Royal Ascot

"In the early stages of the anniversary year, we held a series of big cultural events in Buckingham Palace and in St James' Palace with about 200 people at each one and I was doing the walk around with the Duke, presenting the guests to him.

"About 90 minutes into the reception and I remember introducing one particular couple. A man with a very pretty wife-to-be on his arm.

"He told Prince Philip that he was into scrap metal and they chatted for a bit about the price of scrap and the trade and so on and just when they got to the end of the conversation, the Duke said to him: 'And you know, if you are ever invited to Buckingham Palace again, make sure you shave before you come!

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"Quick as a flash he turns back to the Duke and says: 'Oh, I can't do that, the little lady wouldn't like it!"

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Sheila Bailey was working alongside Prince Philip on the 50th Anniversary of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards

Sheila Bailey was working alongside Prince Philip on the 50th Anniversary of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards

Sheila Bailey was working alongside Prince Philip on the 50th Anniversary of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards

And before anything else could be said, his date who is very, very pretty leans right into the Duke and says into his ear: "Oh no, I love a little bit of rough."

"I'm stood there thinking Oh my God, what am I going to do! And the Duke's face is like a poker.

"Then suddenly he threw his head back and roared with laughter.

"When I thought about it afterwards - in a life when you are surrounded by people being nice to you and saying what they think you want to hear, I'm sure those two were a brilliant opportunity to just say it as it was.

"The Duke was an expert at making conversation with people who were often too stunned in his presence to talk much and so he was good at shaking people up through provocative comments. He'd argue with you just for the sake of conversation.

"So I think that summed the Duke up that day that when someone talked to him like a normal person without any airs and graces, his reaction was both shock and hilarity."

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