Robert Philip is a no-nonsense, forthright, and sometimes pessimistic divorce lawyer whose occupation and separation from his wife has led him to adopt a rather melancholy outlook on life. Robert can sometimes be aloof towards the emotional output of other people and any departure from logic and sensible thinking. In general, he is Giselle's opposite, choosing not to sing or dance or indulge her fantastical stories of Andalasia. Therefore, when he first meets Giselle he wastes no time in finding out where she is from and sending her on her way.
Nevertheless, he is not incapable of showing his love and loosening up. He is a well-meaning and providing father, hoping to bring his daughter Morgan up with a loving mother and a sensible take on life. He also doesn't encourage "fairy-tale nonsense" wanting Morgan to be able to face the world for what it is, much like George Darling in Peter Pan and George Banks in Mary Poppins. Despite Morgan's apprehension, he does his best to encourage a bond between her and his fiancée Nancy, but Morgan is drawn to Giselle's warmth and kindness.
While Robert teaches Giselle that no relationship is ever perfect, she teaches him not to take the one he loves for granted and that he must show her that he loves her. By exchanging their ideals honestly, Giselle starts to bring him out of his shell after they spend a day in the park and have a meal that night. Robert is sad to see her go when Edward comes for her and encourages her to find him if she ever visits New York again.
At this time, his feelings for Giselle have changed him. As they dance together at the King and Queen's ball he softly sings "So Close" to her and is later willing to step in front of Giselle to keep Narissa from hurting her. Robert experiences a wave of emotion as he finally reconciles with Giselle and they share their feelings. By the end, he is dancing happily and carelessly with Giselle and Morgan.
- Robert is Patrick Dempsey's second role in a Disney film, his first was Kenai in Brother Bear 2 replacing Joaquin Phoenix.
- Robert's last name is a tribute to Prince Phillip from Sleeping Beauty, whose kiss awakened Princess Aurora.
- The way he runs his family is akin to George Darling and George Banks. All three try to make their children grow up without fairy tales and make-believe in attempts to prepare them for the real world.
- Robert wears a similar suit to Beast's during the ball scene.