It’s no secret that the British Royal Family have a historical interest in UFOs. Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and husband to the Queen, used to be a subscriber to Flying Saucer Review magazine, and it is well documented that the Duke’s uncle, Lord Mountbatten, once investigated the alleged landing of a UFO and its alien occupant in the grounds of his own Hampshire estate.
The Duke’s son, Prince Charles, is known to have expressed an interest in crop circles in the early-1990s when a number of mysterious formations appeared in fields close to his Highgrove estate. Prominent crop circle researcher, Colin Andrews, claims the Prince contacted him at the time requesting a meeting to discuss the phenomenon, but that it had to be cancelled due to “an unfortunate leak to the media.”
That was some 25 years ago. But Prince Charles remains keenly interested in crop circles today. This according to the BFG (Big Friendly Giant) of Steven Spielberg’s new movie based on the Roald Dahl classic. Actor, Mark Rylance, who plays the title role in the film, told the Sydney Morning Herald last week of his own personal interest in crop circles – and interest he says is shared by his friend, Prince Charles.
Rylance, who won an Oscar for his role in Spielberg’s previous film, Bridge of Spies (2015), told the Herald he first met Charles when the Prince saw him play Henry V at the Globe Theatre in London. The two men hit it off and Rylance soon told the Royal of his crop circle fascination. “He’s interested in crop circles, too,” said Rylance of the Prince, “so I send him my crop circle calendars and magazines that I buy and keep him informed. I'm his crop circle counsellor.” They have since exchanged private letters regarding the phenomenon.
Following up on this story, the UK Telegraph noted that “A spokesman for the Prince refused to comment.”
Charles’ attraction to a seemingly-UFO-related phenomenon makes sense given his family’s historical interest in flying saucers. His father’s involvement with UFOs goes beyond his aforementioned subscription to a saucer rag. Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, has followed the UFO mystery since at least the mid-1950s. His personal Equerry at the time was Peter Horsley, a Wing Commander in the RAF who would eventually become a Knight and an Air Marshall. In his 1997 autobiography, Sounds from Another Room, Horsley described how, in 1954, following orders from Prince Philip, he met in private with what seemed to be a man from another world.
It began with Prince Philip instructing Horsley to make some discreet enquiries into the flying saucer phenomenon. Horsley got to work on this and was soon contacted by a colleague of his, a General Martin, who told Horsley to go to the Chelsea home of a woman named Mrs Markham, who was hosting a mysterious “Mr Janus.”
In a dimly-lit room in an up-market flat, Mrs Markham introduced Horsley to Mr Janus and the two men launched into a profound discussion covering UFOs, atomic warfare, human history, and the nature of the cosmos. As the night wore on, Horsley became concerned: it was apparent that Janus knew all of the UK government’s top nuclear secrets. Even more disturbingly, Janus seemed to be reading Horsley’s mind, answering each of his questions as they formed in his head, moments before Horsley had chance to voice them. Throughout the discussion, Janus, who was entirely human in appearance, spoke as though he were not from ‘here,’ and certainly Horsley was left firmly with that impression when he reported back to Buckingham Palace the following day.
When Philip ordered Horsley back to Mrs Markham’s flat for a follow-up interrogation with Mr Janus, no trace of either person could be found, and the flat itself seemed uninhabited and notably different in appearance to how Horsley remembered it.
“This was an astounding experience, related by a man whose integrity is beyond question…” said the late Admiral of the Fleet, the Lord Hill Norton, in defence of Horsley’s testimony. “By no means would he have made up such a story. He would have been frightened of being ridiculed.”
We may never know if Prince Philip ever managed track down Mr Janus, or to what extent the Duke’s UFO interest persists in his old age. But, if the recent comments by Spielberg’s BFG are anything to go by, it’s safe to say that Philip’s saucer fascination is as keen as ever in his son, Britain’s King-to-be.
Robbie Graham is the author of Silver Screen Saucers: Sorting Fact from Fantasy in Hollywood's UFO Movies.