BLINK and you would have missed him, but the Duke of Edinburgh nipped into the area last night for a spot of dinner.
Prince Philip was attending the 130th annual dinner of the Royal Corps of Naval Constructors in Gosport.
The Duke is a patron and honorary member of the organisation, which is an institution of the Royal Navy and British Admiralty for training in naval architecture.
The dinner took place at the QinetiQ base in Haslar.
Republican Paul O’Neil, 45, of Clayhall Road in Gosport was on his way home along Haslar Road last night before the royal’s visit.
He said: ‘It’s good to have a royal visit, it’s nice for the area.
‘I suppose with the naval connections and everything you expect to get royalty now and again.
‘Certainly in Portsmouth and Gosport.
‘Particularly Prince Philip and the Queen, they do a lot of work.
‘They publicise the country around the world.’
Driven in a dark green Range Rover and escorted by another vehicle, the Duke arrived in Haslar at around 6.30pm yesterday.
He passed the home of Gary Vanderhoven, 46, of Clayhall Road in Gosport.
He said: ‘I had no idea he was going to be here but it’s nice that the Royal Family does drop into places and do these things.
‘I like the Duke of Edinburgh and it’s good for the area to have royal visits.
‘I think we get more than most because of our naval connections which is nice.
‘I like the Royal Family and I think the Duke is a good guy.’
Earlier in the day, the Duke of Edinburgh presented campaign medals to Royal Marines during a poignant ceremony at their base in Somerset.
Troops from 40 Commando who had completed their first tour of Afghanistan received medals from Philip and senior officers.
It also marked the end of the unit’s final deployment to the country.
Alex Woodridge, 21, of Clayhall Road, added: ‘I know there’s mixed opinions about the royals but I think they’re great.
‘I didn’t know the Duke of Edinburgh was going to be in Gosport.
‘I think he’s quite funny and a bit of a laugh.’