PRINCE PHILIP REVEALED
par Ingrid Seward (S&S £ 20, 384pp)
On the one hand, he has always stood by the Queen’s side throughout her long reign. On the other hand, he seems to not care about anyone’s feelings and is prone to blunders which are downright nasty at times.
As a friend of Prince Philip commented: “He’s not a gentleman because he doesn’t put people at ease when he can’t be disturbed. “
Like the Queen, Prince Philip is a great-great-grandchild of Queen Victoria. His father, Prince Andrew of Greece, met his mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, during the coronation of Edward VII.
Prince Philip, like the Queen, is a great-great-grandchild of Queen Victoria. Pictured: Philip salutes the course officer at the Royal Navy establishment July 31, 1947
Even by aristocratic standards, Philip’s childhood was truly strange. The year after Philip was born, his soldier father was sentenced to death for disobeying orders. Although saved from the firing squad, he was banished from Greece.
From the time Philip was six, his mother suffered from a serious mental illness. At nine, he was sent back to school in England and barely saw his parents again.
His uncle, Lord Mountbatten, had big plans for his dazzling handsome nephew. In 1939, when Philip was a cadet at Royal Naval College, Mountbatten ably suggested that Philip entertain the young princesses while their parents surveyed the fleet. Elizabeth was 13, Philip 18.
According to her nanny, Crawfie, Princess Elizabeth knew almost immediately that Philip was “the right one.” Philip (pictured right), who had served with distinction in the war, proposed in 1946 and was cheerfully accepted.
According to the Queen’s nanny, Her Majesty knew Philip was “the right one” almost immediately. Pictured: Prince Philip at Naval College Greenwich
Despite marrying the world’s most eligible heiress, Seward says Philip was full of doubts about what he was getting into.
Shortly before the wedding, he went to stay in Cornwall with the beautiful novelist Daphné du Maurier. Their relationship was “emotionally intimate” but not sexual, but at the end of the weekend he told her, “I don’t want to go home, I want to stay with you. Du Maurier told him not to be an idiot: “Your country needs you.
There were a few happy and carefree years for the young couple, but after the death of King George VI in 1952, Philip gave up his naval career to become the new queen’s full-time husband. He was angry at the archaic way of handling things at Buckingham Palace: “Philip was constantly crushed, snubbed, ticked off,” according to his friend Mike Parker.
Most hurtful of all, his children must have taken the name Windsor rather than Mountbatten.
Prince Philip was allegedly unhappy with the way Buckingham Palace was run when he first married the Queen. Pictured: Prince Philip visiting the Mediterranean Fleet
When it comes to paternity, Philip’s record is decidedly irregular. The Queen’s cousin, Margaret Rhodes, told Seward that the Duke was wonderful with small children: “It was when they grew up and developed their own personalities that Philip seemed to lose interest. “
The Duke was determined to harden his sensitive son and insisted that he be sent to Gordonstoun, the hearty Scottish school which Philip had attended. Charles absolutely hated it. By the time Charles left Gordonstoun he had learned to have a brave face, but “the little boy who curled up when his father raised his voice was still hiding below the surface.”
Father and son are now much closer and Philip completely approves of Camilla.
He was a much better father to his favorite Princess Anne, who is as tough and fearless as he is. No one can fault Prince Philip’s commitment to his role.
Prince Philip revealed by Ingrid Seward (S&S £ 20, 384pp)
By the time he retired from royal duties in 2017, at the age of 96, he had undertaken more than 22,000 solo engagements and 637 overseas tours.
The Queen has called it “my strength and my stay” and Seward paints a picture of a largely happy marriage.
When her husband is angry about something, the Queen, like many wives, simply logs off.
In the public mind, Prince Philip is characterized by his notorious blunders. He seems to have a particular dislike for Welsh singer Tom Jones. “What are you gargling with, pebbles?” He asked, continuing to call him “a horrible singer”.
Seward trots briskly through all the women Prince Philip would have had an affair with, mostly actresses or aristocrats.
Although she admits he has a wandering eye, she says there isn’t “the slightest evidence of a physical relationship … but the stories will never go away.”
Seward tries to be scrupulously fair about the Duke of Edinburgh but concludes that he is ultimately “unknowable”.
When asked on the occasion of her 90th birthday, Fiona Bruce, if he had succeeded in his role, he replied, “I don’t care.” »