Through many of the Queen and Prince Philip’s 70-year marriage, rumours of his alleged affairs have been rife.
Even now, individuals surprise how he may have left his spouse and two younger kids – Charles and Anne – for a jaunt spherical far-flung outposts of the Commonwealth in late 1956, the Daily Mail studies.
It lasted greater than 4 months, and there was gossip about wild events. Did it have any basis? The jury is out, but it surely hardly appears credible that something untoward may have taken place with out the data of a minimum of a few of the royal yacht Britannia’s crew of 220 males and 20 officers.
The following yr, a London-based correspondent for the Baltimore Sun claimed that rumours abounded of Philip’s curiosity in an unnamed lady, whom he allegedly met usually in a society photographer’s house within the West End. ‘Report Queen, Duke in Rift Over Party Girl’ ran the headline.
Gossip was additional fuelled by the truth that the Prince’s non-public secretary Mike Parker had chosen this second to tender his resignation. This was taken as an indication that he needed to go as a result of he’d been main Philip astray. In reality, Parker felt he needed to resign as a result of his spouse had simply filed for divorce. According to him, “The Duke was incandescent [about the reports]. He was very, very angry. And deeply hurt.”
In a break from the rule that the Palace by no means feedback on hearsay, the Queen authorised her press secretary to announce: “It is quite untrue that there is any rift between the Queen and the Duke.”
Some individuals questioned if the unnamed social gathering woman referred to within the Baltimore Sun was Pat Kirkwood, a fantastic musical comedy star.
Rumours about her having an affair with Philip had surfaced as early as 1948, when Princess Elizabeth was pregnant with Prince Charles. Pat, then the highest-paid star on the London stage, was the girlfriend of society photographer Baron Nahum – a member of the Thursday Club in Soho, which Philip usually attended for a boys’ night time out.
So what is understood about her affiliation with the Prince? Years later, Pat stated that one night, after she’d carried out within the musical Starlight Roof on the London Hippodrome, Baron had taken Philip and an equerry to her dressing room.
The foursome then went out to dinner at Les Ambbadadeurs Club in Hamilton Place, run by a Polish ex-wrestler. Afterwards, they carried on – at Philip’s request – to the Milroy Club for some music and dancing. According to Pat, the Prince would not let her sit down, dancing together with her to regardless of the band performed. They stayed out till daybreak and had scrambled eggs at Baron’s flat.
Pat insisted that the one time she’d ever met the Prince once more was at theatrical command performances.
After she died in 2007, her fourth husband Peter Knight introduced that, at her request, he’d at some point give ‘correspondence’ between Pat and the Duke of Edinburgh’ to Philip’s official biographer. It would show that there was no illicit relationship, he stated.
This did not clarify, nonetheless, why Pat and the Prince had been corresponding with one another in any respect.
Another lady with whom the Prince has been romantically linked is Hélène Cordet, previously Helene Foufounis. They turned pals as kids once they spent holidays collectively at her mother and father’ villa in Le Touquet, France.
Helene, who turned the hostess of the BBC selection present Café Continental, had two kids whereas separated from her first husband, however refused to disclose who their father was. So when Philip elected to turn out to be godfather to each, some badumed that it should be him.
Despite this, Helene allowed the paternity of her kids to stay a thriller – although one in every of her sons has flatly denied that the Prince is his father.
The hearsay mill has saved on grinding, even alleging he had a relationship with Sarah Ferguson’s mom, Susan Barrantes. His alleged indiscretions embody: the Countess of Westmorland, spouse of the Queen’s Master of the Horse; the novelist Daphne du Maurier, who was married to ‘Boy’ Browning, former Comptroller of the Royal Household; the actresses Merle Oberon and Anna Mbadey; the TV persona Katie Boyle; the Duchess of Abercorn, spouse of the Lord Steward of the Royal Household; his cousin, Princess Alexandra; and his carriage-driving companion Lady Brabourne (now Lady Mountbatten).
The satirical journal Private Eye even linked Prince Philip with Stephen Ward, the society osteopath on the centre of the Profumo affair, which rocked the Conservative authorities in 1963.
Ward, additionally a member of the Thursday Club, was infamous for throwing wild events at which ‘The Man within the Mask’ served drinks carrying solely a skimpy apron. Private Eye took to referring to Prince Philip as ‘The Naked Waiter’.
There isn’t any proof that that is true, simply as there isn’t a convincing proof to help any of the opposite allegations.
Of all Prince Philip’s revered biographers, solely Sarah Bradford is adamant that Philip has had affairs.
“There is no doubt in my mind at all,” she informed writer Gyles Brandreth in 2004. “The Duke of Edinburgh has had affairs – sure, full-blown affairs and a couple of.
“Not with Pat Kirkwood or Merle Oberon or any of these individuals . . . All that was nonsense, full nonsense. I do not badume there was ever something in any of that. But he has affairs. And the Queen accepts it. I believe she thinks that is how males are.
“He’s never been one for chasing actresses. His interest is quite different. The women he goes for are always younger than him, usually beautiful and highly aristocratic . . . Philip and Sacha Abercorn certainly had an affair. Without a doubt.”
The Duchess of Abercorn has denied this.
Prince Philip’s personal response to all of the gossip was to inform a reporter in 1992: “Have you ever stopped to think that, for the past 40 years, I have never moved anywhere without a policeman accompanying me? So how the hell could I get away with anything like that?”
What will not be unsure is that he is all the time loved the corporate of fairly girls, ideally years youthful than he’s.
I’ve seen him gliding across the dance flooring on the Royal Yacht Squadron Ball throughout Cowes week with Penny Romsey, the spouse of Lord Brabourne. Neither of them gave a rattling who noticed them or what anybody may say. And I observed that Philip, a wonderful dancer, was utterly in rhythm with the gorgeous Penny.
He’s undoubtedly near her. In 1996, on the peak of what was dubbed ‘the struggle of the Waleses’, a snooping radio ham taped a cell phone name made by Philip to a ‘plummy-voiced’ lady, wherein they mentioned the bitter battle between Charles and Diana.
The plummy voice turned out to be Penny’s. But, at one level within the dialog, she handed the cellphone over to her husband, thus fairly destroying any phantasm of a clandestine affair.
Since 1975, when she was first launched to Prince Charles, Penny has been standard with the Royal Family.
But it’s her energetic thoughts, in addition to her magnificence, that is turned this former meat-trader’s daughter right into a central determine on the coronary heart of royal life. She’s usually at Windsor Castle at weekends, and tells each Philip and the Queen about what is going on on within the outdoors world.
As a person who has a watch for a fairly lady however simply will get bored, the Prince finds her firm irresistible. He’s taught her the rudiments of carriage driving, and extra just lately he is discovered one more reason for them to spend time collectively – portray in watercolours.
How the Queen feels about all of it, we are going to by no means know.
Philip has all the time favored to flirt and make suggestive remarks, and he or she is the primary to make jokes about his lascivious nature.
Equally, she’d by no means let on if she’d been damage by rumours of her husband’s supposed dalliances.
Quite probably, she could even have resorted to her typical trick of burying her head within the sand and pretending nothing was occurring.
It’s fortunate for Philip that the Queen has what many would take into account an old school view of marriage. In her early 30s, she remarked: “There’s nothing worse than to fence a man in and stop him from doing what he wants.”
‘You could not invite the Hun to a Royal wedding ceremony so quickly after the struggle’
There was by no means any query of Prince Philip’s 4 sisters being invited to his wedding ceremony to Princess Elizabeth. King George determined their connection to Nazi Germany was nonetheless too shaming.
All 4 had married German aristocrats within the Thirties. Worse, two of Philip’s brothers-in-law had been energetic within the Nazi social gathering, and had ended up becoming a member of the elite ranks of Hitler’s SS and SA (the paramilitary wing of the Nazi social gathering.).
“So soon after the war, you couldn’t have ‘the Hun’,” recalled Philip’s cousin Lady Pamela Hicks.
“I think Philip understood, but the sisters certainly didn’t. For years afterwards, they’d say: ‘Why weren’t we allowed to come to your wedding?’ They weren’t exactly Stormtroopers.”
It wasn’t till 2006 that Prince Philip broke a 60-year public silence about his household’s Nazi ties. Like many Germans, he defined, his household had discovered a lot to admire in Hitler’s early makes an attempt to revive Germany’s energy and status.
“There was a great improvement in things like trains running on time and building,” Philip defined. “There was a way of hope after the miserable chaos of the Weimar Republic.
“I can perceive individuals latching onto one thing or any individual who gave the impression to be interesting to their patriotism and making an attempt to get issues going. You can perceive how engaging it was.”
He confused, nonetheless, that he was by no means ‘aware’ of anybody within the household expressing anti-Semitic views.
Whether they did or not, Philip’s mom, Princess Alice – whose father Prince Louis of Battenberg (later anglicised to Mountbatten) was German – really risked her life to save lots of persecuted Jews in Athens throughout the struggle.
For her actions, she was awarded Israel’s highest award for a foreigner.
In 1994, Philip and his sister, Sophie, went to Jerusalem to obtain the award post-humously on behalf of their late mom.
The prince himself by no means had any Nazi sympathies. One of the best influences in his life was Dr Kurt Hahn, a German Jew who helped discovered Germany’s Salem faculty – then one of many most interesting in Europe.
Philip was despatched there at 12 on the behest of his sister, Theodora, however he lasted lower than a yr.
First, he bought into hbadle for mocking the Nazi salute, after which – when the Hitler Youth started to infiltrate the varsity – Theodora agreed that he ought to return to England.
Meanwhile, Dr Hahn was operating foul of the Nazis, who could not enable a Jew to coach the youth of Germany. He was arrested and imprisoned, however influential individuals from throughout Europe, together with British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald, petitioned Hitler to set him free.
As a outcome, Hahn was allowed to to migrate to Britain, the place he established a brand new faculty in Scotland – known as Gordonstoun – which Philip joined within the autumn time period of 1934.
Apart from his temporary German education and visits to his sisters, Philip spent hardly any of his childhood in Germany.
And whereas he could have German blood in his veins, so, too, do the Windsors – who modified their title from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in 1917, throughout World War I.
Indeed, the Royal Family nonetheless retain the German customized – launched by Prince Albert – of opening their presents on Christmas Eve fairly than Christmas morning.
• Adapted by Corinna Honan from My Husband And I: The Inside Story Of 70 Years Of Royal Marriage, by Ingrid Seward.