Prince William and Prince Harry will not meet in person until their grandfather Prince Philip’s funeral on Saturday with Kate Middleton helping them put on a ‘unified’ front for the Queen, it was revealed today.
The brothers are believed to have already spoken on the phone since Harry landed at Heathrow ahead of seeing each other face-to-face for the first time in a year at Windsor Castle this weekend.
The Duchess of Cambridge is said to be willing to act as ‘peacemaker’ between the brothers, who have vowed to set aside their rift and try to reset their strained relationship to honour the memory of the Duke of Edinburgh.
Harry described Kate as the ‘big sister I never had’ when she became engaged to William 11 years ago – but the siblings’ relationship became fractured following his decision to emigrate to the US and appear on Oprah with his wife Meghan. The Sussexes accused the Royal Family of racism, with Harry claiming William is ‘trapped’ and saying Prince Charles cut him off financially.
The Duchess of Cambridge was also accused by Meghan of making her cry in a row over bridesmaids dresses in the bombshell TV interview last month, but Kate is said to be pushing for the brothers to make up.
A royal source told the
The brothers will meet face-to-face for the first time in more than a year on Saturday. The brothers also plan to unveil a sculpture in memory of their mother in the gardens at Kensington Palace, together this summer.
In two statements with very different tones released 30 minutes apart on Monday, Prince William praised his grandfather’s lifetime of service to ‘Queen, country and Commonwealth’ before Harry declared: ‘He was my grandpa: master of the barbecue, legend of banter, and cheeky right ’til the end’.
William’s words focused on duty, continuing Philip’s work and the need to support the Queen, with some royal watchers pondering if this was, in part, a criticism of his brother who quit as a frontline royal and emigrated to the United States with his wife.
Harry is understood to have chosen to self-isolate at Frogmore Cottage at Windsor Castle where the Queen is based, rather than at Kensington Palace where his brother lives with his wife and three children.
Prince William and Prince Harry are expected to see eachother for the first time in a year just hours before Saturday’s funeral – with the Duchess of Cambridge helping them be ‘united’ (pictured together in 2016)
Harry and William have fallen out in the past year but have spoken this week and plan to spend time together this weekend to repair their relationship, with Kate Middleton said to be acting as peacemaker ahead of the funeral of Prince Philip (pictured together at the Trooping The Colour parade in 2014
It came as the Queen stoically returned to royal duties yesterday, four days after the death of her husband the
The monarch, 94, hosted a retirement ceremony for the former Lord Chamberlain Earl Peel on Tuesday.
It comes after her husband of 73-years, Prince Philip, passed away aged 99 on Friday at Windsor Castle.
As touching tributes flooded in from across the nation for the duke, including flowers left at residences such as Windsor and Buckingham Palace, the family announced a two-week period of royal mourning.
But, in a move that typifies the Queen’s deep sense of duty, she returned early to bid farewell to Earl Peel – a key royal aide who is retiring after 14 years of service.
Earl Peel was the Lord Chamberlain, which is the most senior officer role in the royal household. He had been overseeing arrangements for the duke’s funeral – known as Operation Forth Bridge.
The news of the Queen’s return to work came as:
- It was revealed that the Queen may have to wear a mask at Prince Philip’s funeral due to the current Covid restrictions;
- The Queen may also have to sit on her own at the funeral due to rules which mean those attending services must remain seperated from other households;
- Prince Philip’s private secretary, Brigadier Archie Miller-Bakewell, who is part of HMS Bubble, may accompany her, according to reports;
- The Queen also faced the issue of how Prince Andrew should dress at the funeral after he demanded to be allowed to go as an Admiral;
- As tributes mounted up outside royal residences, the Queen’s Twitter account paid a touching tribute to Prince Philip which celebrated his interactions with people ‘from all walks of life’;
- Reports also suggest that the Queen is now likely to spend much of her time in Windsor following the Duke’s death and will instead use Buckingham Palace as ‘more of an office’
The Queen (pictured left in March) stoically returned to royal duties yesterday, four days after the death of her husband the Duke of Edinburgh. The Monarch hosted a retirement ceremony for former Lord Chamberlain Earl Peel (pictured with the Queen in 2013) on Tuesday
It comes after her husband Prince Philip (pictured with the Queen in June last year) passed away, aged 99, on Friday, at Windsor Castle
As touching tributes flooded in from across the nation for the Duke, including flowers left at residences such as Windsor and Buckingham Palace (pictured), the family announced a two-week period of royal mourning
While floral tributes stacked-up at the gates of Buckingham Palace, Britons also attended the gates of Sandringham House in Norfolk to pay tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh
William Peel, great-great-grandson of founder of the modern Tory party
William Peel, 3rd Earl Peel, is a great-great-grandson of Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel, one of the founders of the modern Conservative party.
The businessman served as a hereditary Tory peer from 1973 to 2006 when, on appointment to Lord Chamberlain, he became a crossbench member of the Lords.
He attended Ampleforth College in Yorkshire before the University of Tours in France and the Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester.
He was a member of the Prince’s Council, which advises the Duchy of Cornwall, from 1993 to 2006.
Lord Peel was also a member of the Nature Conservancy Council, a since dissolved Government conservation agency, from 1991 to 1996.
He married Veronica Thompson in 1973 and they had two children together before they divorced in 1987.
Two years later, Lord Peel married Charlotte Soames, daughter of Lord Soames and his wife, Mary Churchill, daughter of Sir Winston Churchill.
They have one child, Lady Antonia Peel, born in 1991.
Prince Andrew, The Duke of York, recently said his mother is bearing up stoically and the family have been rallying round to support her.
And Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, has pledged to uphold his grandfather’s wishes and continue to support the Queen and ‘get on with the job’.
It was announced at the weekend the monarchy and their households would observe two weeks of royal mourning, with members of the family ‘continuing to undertake engagements appropriate to the circumstances,’ a royal official said.
The Princess Royal, Prince Anne, took part in her first official event since the death of her father.
She joined, via video-link, the Royal College of Emergency Medicine’s Spring Conference in her role as the organisation’s patron.
The Earl Peel, who has now left his role as the royal family’s top aide, had overseen arrangements for the duke’s funeral before handing responsibility to his successor, former MI5 spy chief Baron Parker, just over a week before Philip died peacefully at Windsor Castle.
The Lord Chamberlain’s Office, led by the Queen’s Comptroller Lieutenant Colonel Michael Vernon, is tasked with the practical side of the day.
But in overall charge is Andrew Parker, Baron Parker of Minsmere, who took up his new role on April 1, following the Earl Peel’s retirement after more than 14 years in the post.
The Lord Chamberlain oversees all senior appointments in the household and is the channel of communication between the sovereign and the House of Lords.
The position also ensures co-ordination between Buckingham Palace and Clarence House.
During a ceremony held at Windsor Castle, the Queen accepted her former royal aide’s wand and insignia of office.
The official engagement was recorded in the Court Circular – a daily list of the events attended by the Queen and her family.
The Lord Chamberlain’s Office, led by the Queen’s Comptroller Lieutenant Colonel Michael Vernon, is tasked with the practical side of the day. But in overall charge is Andrew Parker (pictured), Baron Parker of Minsmere, who took up his new role on April 1, following the Earl Peel’s (pictured left) retirement after more than 14 years in the post
It said: ‘The Earl Peel had an audience of The Queen today, delivered up his Wand and Insignia of Office as Lord Chamberlain and the Badge of Chancellor of the Royal Victorian Order and took leave upon relinquishing his appointment as Lord Chamberlain, when Her Majesty invested him with the Royal Victorian Chain.’
The Queen recently conferred a prestigious honour on the Earl Peel, making him a Permanent Lord in Waiting.
The Armed Forces are stepping up preparations for the duke’s funeral which will feature servicemen and women from the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army and RAF – alongside top military brass.
The Queen ‘understands’ why pregnant Meghan Markle hasn’t flown from US for Prince Philip’s funeral
Her husband Harry is staying at Frogmore Cottage, the couple’s former home in the grounds of Windsor Castle, to quarantine for five days before attending the funeral at St George’s Chapel.
Amid claims in the US that the duchess skipped it to avoid being ‘centre of attention’, a source in California has insisted that the 94-year-old monarch told Meghan she ‘understands’ why she did not come.
Revealing she and Harry were ‘in contact with the Queen’ after Philip’s death on Friday, the source also told People magazine that it was ‘always a given that Harry would return to England for his grandfather’s passing’ and that Meghan had ‘expressed condolences’ when speaking with the grieving monarch.
Harry landed at London Heathrow Airport via a BA flight from LA at the weekend, making this journey his first back to Britain since his and Meghan’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Meghan, who accused the royal family of racism in the explosive TV interview, is pregnant with Harry’s second child – a daughter. She is remaining in the US with their one-year-old son Archie.
Soldiers from the Corps of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) are reportedly working to prepare the special Land Rover – that the duke helped design – which will carry his coffin on Saturday.
Lieutenant General Paul Jaques, who served with REME, said about the duke, his unit’s former colonel-in-chief: ‘He was engaged with us and used to visit us probably once or twice every single year since 1969.
‘And he had an enormous passion for all things engineering. In his own words ‘If it wasn’t invented by God, it was invented by an engineer’.
It comes amid reports that the Queen may have to sit apart from family members at her husband’s funeral – due to strict Covid rules.
Current guidelines mean anyone attending a funeral must stay at least two meters apart from those outside their household, except when in a support bubble.
However the Queen is not eligible to be in a support bubble, because she technically does not live on her own – and is supported by a team of royal aides dubbed ‘HMS Bubble’.
As other members of the Royal Family are living in other royal residences, it means the Queen will likely have to sit at least two metres away from relatives at the funeral, according to
Royal sources confirmed to the paper that the Queen would be alone at the funeral service, unless a member of the Windsor bubble joins her.
Meanwhile, the Queen will likely have to wear a mask at the funeral, while royals could be banned from singing hymns due to Covid restrictions, reports
Updated national guidance, issued by the Government, said communal singing should not go ahead at funerals to prevent the spread of Covid.
Choirs are still allowed, but members must be kept to as few as possible and should remain socially distanced.
A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said tonight: ‘We have made it very clear that the service will be Covid compliant.’
More details of the funeral, set to take place at George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle on Saturday, are to be announced on Thursday.
Meanwhile, reports in the
The Queen has reportedly told royal sources that she now feels ‘most comfortable’ living within the walls of the Berkshire fortress – known to be her favourite royal residence.
Even prior to Prince Philip’s death the Queen had been spending more and more time at Windsor – and has been sheltering there for much of the pandemic.
It is believed Buckingham Palace will be used in more of an office role going forward, the Express adds.
Ahead of Saturday’s funeral, Prince Harry flew into London’s Heathrow Airport without his heavily-pregnant wife Meghan Markle ahead of Prince Philip’s funeral on his first visit to Britain since quitting royal duties and the couple’s bombshell Oprah interview.
Prince Harry and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh attend the 2015 Rugby World Cup Final match between New Zealand and Australia at Twickenham Stadium on October 31, 2015 in London. Harry is back in London ahead of his grandfather’s funeral this Saturday
Queen carries on: Grieving monarch ‘will still conduct state opening of Parliament on May 11’
The Queen will not delay returning to work after her husband’s funeral and plans to attend the state opening of Parliament next month, MailOnline can reveal today.
Her Majesty will attend the ceremonial event in the House of Lords without her husband Prince Philip and will be supported by her son Prince Charles at Westminster on May 11 instead.
She has entered an eight-day period of mourning following the death of her husband at the age of 99 – and there a further official period of 30 days for the Royal Family, after which the Queen will make a full return to public life and duties.
The monarch has overseen every one of the constitutional set pieces since taking the throne in 1952, apart from in 1959 and 1963 when she was pregnant with Prince Andrew and Prince Edward respectively.
While the Duke of Edinburgh only missed the event once, 12 months before he retired in 2018, when he was hospitalised.
Today a well-placed Westminster source has said the Queen is still planning to conduct the state opening of Parliament on May 11. There had been speculation that she might not attend in person amid the pandemic and after the loss of Prince Philip. But one source said: ‘She is still coming, with Charles.’
It came as the Royal Family released more tributes to the Duke of Edinburgh, from officers at Britannia Royal Naval College at Dartmouth, where the Queen’s husband was awarded the King’s Dirk for the best all-round cadet of the term, as well as a prize for the best cadet in college.
The Duke of Sussex was reportedly seen leaving his £11million California mansion on Saturday night in a black Cadillac Escalade to board an early-hours flight from LA, and disembarking a BA plane in chinos, a jacket and black face mask at the west London airport around 10 hours later at 1.15pm GMT on Sunday.
Harry was met by security off the plane and put into a black Range Rover, before he was reportedly driven to Kensington Palace.
The Sun has claimed he is quarantining at the Christopher Wren-designed Nottingham Cottage, where Harry proposed to Meghan Markle in 2017. It is just a few yards from the apartment where his brother William lives with his family.
The Sunday Times has claimed that he will stay at Frogmore Cottage in the grounds of Windsor Castle, so he can be close to his grandmother.
After Megxit, Frogmore was handed to Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank, who had their first child in February, but they are understood to split their time between the cottage and Kensington Palace.
Harry can leave quarantine after five days rather than 10 if he provides a negative test under the Government’s Test to Release scheme.
However, he will be allowed to attend Philip’s funeral regardless, as official guidelines state those coming in from abroad can leave isolation ‘on compassionate grounds’.
It comes as family members paid touching tributes to the duke.
The Royal Family’s Twitter page shared a picture with the Queen and Prince Philip along with a moving quote from the monarch about her husband from a speech she made celebrating their golden wedding anniversary in 1997.
In the speech, looking back at their then 50 year marriage, she said: ‘He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know.’
Grandchildren, Prince Harry and Prince William also paid tribute in statements released thirty minutes apart.
Prince William praised his grandfather’s lifetime of service to ‘Queen, country and Commonwealth’ before Harry declared: ‘He was my grandpa: master of the barbecue, legend of banter, and cheeky right ’til the end’.
If you were William, could you forgive Harry? In the circumstances of their grandfather’s funeral, it’s the noble thing to do… but AMANDA PLATELL fears the brothers’ rift is beyond repair
If we could turn back time – by even a year – the sight of Princes William and Harry walking side by side behind their beloved Grandpa’s coffin at his funeral on Saturday would have been both heart-rending and heart-warming.
A nation would remember the day nearly a quarter of a century ago that these once inseparable boys followed in the wake of their mother Diana’s coffin – united forever, we thought, in grief and loss and love. An unbreakable bond.
Yet break that bond has. It has been shattered by Harry’s swift and unexpected departure from his royal duties to live in the US, and by the incendiary interview he and his wife gave to
There is hope now of reconciliation between William and Harry, with many believing that the duke’s death will grant them the common ground to rebuild their once rock-solid relationship; that this funeral will bring Diana’s once inseparable sons together again, just as she would have wished.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during their CBS interview with Oprah Winfrey last month
That as the elder, William should be the bigger man, extend the olive branch and excuse Harry and Meghan for all the pain they have caused the Royal Family by publicly branding at least one of them as racist in the interview with Oprah.
There are those who feel William should even find it in himself to forgive Harry, to move on, to forget all the wild, unfounded accusations levelled at him, his wife and the rest of the Royal Family.
As a Christian who believes in the sanctity of forgiveness as the cornerstone of our faith, I would dearly love that to happen.
Yet if I were William – who, let’s not forget will one day become the Supreme Governor of the Church of England – I would have to ask myself: Can I really find it in myself to forgive Harry’s betrayal? Are some wounds just too deep?
Harry knew exactly what he was doing when he and Meghan secretly plotted to leave the UK just months after their wedding, demanding a new deal from the Queen to reduce their royal duties yet keep the privileges and titles and personal protection.
All while pursuing a multi-millionaire celebrity lifestyle in California and living in the pocket of Netflix.
Yes, the same company which produced the hit TV series The Crown – a fantastic and often cruel representation of the royals, portraying the Queen as cold and out-of-touch and Prince Philip as a blundering buffoon.
Harry knew he would be badly letting down his brother William – also father to a young family – increasing not just his burden of duty but also the sheer amount of public engagements he would have to carry out in Harry’s absence.
He knew he was breaking that bond with his brother, yet he did it anyway. For, as Harry said in that interview, it was his new family – not the Royal Family – that now came first.
Yet, like his grandfather and grandmother, William never complained, never explained.
Only once has he publicly defended his family from Meghan’s accusations, in an uncharacteristic and clearly furious response to a journalist who asked if her claims were true.
Prince William and Prince Harry attending the European premiere of Star Wars: The Last Jedi at the Royal Albert Hall in 2017
Through gritted teeth he replied: The Royal Family is ‘very much not racist’.
Harry must have known that what his wife was to tell the world in that interview would make the Royal Family look cold, remote and unwelcoming.
As we saw, Harry was utterly complicit in his walk-on role – especially when it came to the as yet unspecified claims of racism.
Perhaps even more unforgivable is that Harry allowed his wife to traduce his sister-in-law, the Duchess of Cambridge, on more than one occasion.
Those of us who have come to love and admire our future queen were furious. Imagine how betrayed her husband must have felt! Harry had committed an unpardonable sin allowing Kate to be attacked.
For, make no mistake, there is seldom any forgiveness between brothers when the sisters-in-law fall out.
Naturally, both men are utterly protective of their wives.
One can only imagine how upset Kate would have been when Meghan claimed in front of around 50million viewers worldwide that she had not made her cry at a fitting for her bridesmaid dress in 2018 – that it was Kate who had made her cry.
Meghan also claimed that she was suicidal when she was five months pregnant with son Archie and that the royals refused to make Archie a prince.
She claimed to have repeatedly asked the palace for advice, only to be ignored.
Prince Philip, Prince William, Charles Spencer, Prince Harry and Prince Charles, walk during the funeral service for Princess Diana
The Queen was characteriscally chilly in her response, stating famously that ‘some recollections may vary’.
But the House of Windsor has been left reeling and there is no doubt that the interview created deep anger and anxiety at a time when the family were preparing to say their final goodbyes to Prince Philip.
What sorrow Harry and Meghan’s words must have brought the Queen as her lifelong partner, her rock, was seriously ill in hospital.
And what brother could forgive another who justified his actions by saying that if Grandpa died they would postpone the interview? Not cancel. Simply delay! As it happened, the Duke did return home from hospital for a few weeks to die beside his beloved Lilibet.
Had Diana lived, perhaps she would have knocked some sense into Harry’s head, befriended Meghan, smoothed the path of conciliation between her two once inseparable sons.
Would she have seen the early warning signs, as women often do, and brokered peace before this modern day War of the Waleses had even began?
I feel great sadness for William and Kate now as they plan for Prince Philip’s funeral. To them he was a man they revered and loved, and they have pledged their life to serve in his honourable footsteps.
On top of all that, they will have to greet and smile at the brother who, with his wife, turned his back on that path and caused them so much pain.
Funerals are supposed to bring families together but, as many of us know, they can often rip them apart. Such sadness exacerbates pains inflicted, imagined or real.
Emotions are heightened; we cling to those we know we can trust. And for William and Kate, they are most unlikely to trust the man who allowed the contents of one of their recent conversations to be shared with America via TV anchor Gayle King.
Yet, still, I feel sorry for Harry, walking alone on that final march, knowing what damage he has inflicted – not just on his brother, but on the Queen and grandfather he adored and grieves for.
The boys may walk side by side on Saturday – just as they did with the Duke of Edinburgh, their father and uncle, all those years ago at their mother’s funeral. But I fear now that their hearts might as well be a million miles apart.
Meghan’s friends revealed this week that she and her husband were ‘ready to forgive’ the Royal Family for their treatment of her.
Sadly, I fear it will be many, many years – if ever – before William or Kate can forgive them.
Let me dress as Admiral: Prince Andrew wants to wear full military attire for Prince Philip’s funeral… and Prince Harry could be the only senior male royal NOT wearing uniform
By Rebecca English for the Daily Mail
The Queen is being forced to decide which rank of military uniform the Duke of York can wear to his father’s funeral after he demanded to go as an Admiral.
He was due to be promoted to Admiral on his 60th birthday last year, but offered to defer it until he cleared his name and returned to public duties.
Now the 61-year-old prince has sparked ructions at Buckingham Palace after he told his mother and senior officials that he wished to attend the funeral as an Admiral. The widowed Queen will have to make a decision in the next 24 hours.
Sophie Countess of Wessex, Prince Edward and Prince Andrew Service of Commemoration to Mark the End of Combat Operations in Afghanistan, St Paul’s Cathedral, London, March 2015
It comes as it was reported last night that William had spoken on the phone to Harry.
The estranged brothers have barely spoken for a year and any attempts to break the ice after Harry and Meghan’s Oprah interview have not been productive. Kensington Palace declined to comment but royal sources said the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge wished the focus of the week to be on honouring the Duke of Edinburgh’s memory.
Royal officials are also wrestling with the dilemma of Prince Harry possibly being the only senior male royal not in uniform at the funeral.
The Prince of Wales, Duke of Cambridge and Earl of Wessex, as well as Princess Anne, will be in military dress as each hold honorary roles.
The Duke and Duchess of York leave the Windsor Castle estate today
But Harry lost his military titles after quitting royal duties. As a former Captain with the Household Cavalry (Blues and Royals), Harry is only permitted to wear a morning suit with medals, unless officials can find a way round the issue.
Buckingham Palace declined to comment last night, saying only: ‘Funeral arrangements are being finalised and we will announce them accordingly.’
A source said any final decision on what uniforms are worn would rest with the Queen. Andrew stepped down from public duties in November 2019 ‘for the foreseeable future’ over his friendship with Epstein in the wake of the disastrous Newsnight interview he had hoped would clear his name.
The prince joined the Royal Navy in 1979 as a Seaman Officer and finished his active naval career in 2001. The Navy established a policy in 2009 that means the prince is promoted in line with his still-serving peers to mark his continued contribution to the service. He became a Rear Admiral on his 50th birthday, a Vice-Admiral on his 55th, and had been due to become an Admiral on his 60th last year before forgoing the promotion.
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess Of Sussex lay a wreath at Los Angeles National Cemetery on Remembrance Sunday on November 8, 2020 in Los Angeles, California
An Admiral’s ceremonial day coat has three rows of lace on the sleeve, but a Vice-Admiral’s two rows. The Admiral’s shoulder rank board features a crossed baton and sword with four stars, but for a Vice-Admiral there are just three stars.
Andrew’s stance is likely to add to what must be an extremely distressing and stressful week for the Queen and the rest of the Royal Family.
‘People have opinions and there are ongoing discussions about the right course of action,’ a source said.
The rank of Admiral is the highest rank to which a serving officer in the Royal Navy can be promoted, although members of the Royal Family can be made Admiral of the Fleet.
Significantly, while many of Andrew’s charitable patronages have deserted him, he has not been stripped of his military positions and titles yet.
He has been accused by one of Epstein’s victims, Virginia Guiffre, of having sex with her twice when she was just 17. Andrew has strongly denied all accusations. He has kept a generally low profile since being forced out of public life, but in recent days talked of the ‘huge void’ his father’s passing had left in the Queen’s life.
There have been reports he hopes to rehabilitate his image and make a return to public life.
Am I being very brave – or very foolish? That’s the question Prince Philip asked a confidante on the day of his wedding as the enormity of his new role sank in. But, as GYLES BRANDRETH’s sublime series reveals, rarely has nagging doubt been so misplaced
Indeed, many were not at all convinced that he was marrying for the right reasons. His close friends from the post-war era, however, had a totally different recollection.
‘He may have had his doubts about what he was getting himself into — the whole business of marrying the King of England’s daughter,’ his first cousin Patricia Mountbatten told me. ‘I think that did concern him.
‘But he had no doubts at all about Lilibet as a future wife. He adored her. He loved her deeply — you could tell. It was definitely a love match.’
Mike Parker, Philip’s closest male friend at the time, said to me: ‘He loved her — absolutely. And he fancied her, too. No question about that.’
They weren’t the only ones to assure me that he’d married for love. But, having known Philip for many years myself, I think there was also another element at play: part of the attraction was the chance to belong to a family.
After all, though he never ceased to remind me that he had ‘a perfectly good family’ of his own, he’d seen very little of them from adolescence onwards. His father had been part of the Greek royal family but fled to France after the king was deposed in 1921.
In 1929, when Philip was eight, he was packed off to boarding school in England. After that, his mother — who was almost certainly a manic depressive — virtually disappeared from his life for the rest of his childhood, failing to send so much as a birthday card.
His father, meanwhile, moved to the French Riviera, where he kept a mistress and drank a little more than was good for him. Which meant that when Philip wasn’t at school, he was constantly travelling between the homes of various grand British relatives.
It’s generally accepted that he met Princess Elizabeth for the first time when she was 13 and he was an 18-year-old Navy cadet at Dartmouth.
N ot so, he told me. ‘It’s one of those myths that’s just too good to let go. We’d certainly met before — we were cousins, after all.’
Indeed, the royal couple shared the same great-great-grandparents — Queen Victoria and Prince Albert — not to mention many other relatives. And Philip actually recalled having met Lilibet (as he called her) when she was just eight, at the wedding of his cousin, Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark, to Elizabeth’s uncle George, Duke of Kent.
At Dartmouth Naval College in 1939 (from left) Prince Philip of Greece, Princess Margaret, Queen Elizabeth, King George VI and Princess Elizabeth, then aged 13
Yet when he grew up to marry Elizabeth, Philip’s undoubtedly royal pedigree (as the grandson and nephew of kings) counted for surprisingly little.
Privately, the Queen (later the Queen Mother) had reservations — fuelled by her younger brother, David Bowes Lyon, some of her closest aristocratic friends and various senior courtiers. Was Philip good enough for Lilibet, she fretted? Was he, in truth, a suitable consort for a future Queen?
Several people have told me that Queen Elizabeth made slighting comments about Philip within their hearing, and referred to him — not entirely humorously — as ‘the Hun’. Certainly, to the senior courtiers in her immediate circle, Philip did not feel like ‘one of us’.
He spoke perfect English and had impeccable manners, but he was by no stretch of the imagination a classic English gentleman (though he never considered himself Greek).
Good gracious, he was neither an Etonian, nor a Guards officer, nor a huntsman. And what little was known of his parents was not encouraging.
Patricia Mountbatten’s husband, John Brabourne, recalled that the royal establishment was: ‘Absolutely bloody to him. They didn’t like him, they didn’t trust him, and it showed. Not at all nice . . . They patronised him. They treated him as an outsider.
Andrew… a happy surprise
When Andrew was conceived, ‘the Queen and Prince Philip had been trying for another baby for quite a while’.
This titbit came from the Queen’s private secretary of that period, Martin Charteris.
‘How on earth do you know?’ I asked him. He chuckled. ‘Because Her Majesty told me so. She wanted me to pass it on to President Nkrumah, you see.’
I didn’t see, so Lord Charteris, beaming broadly, obligingly explained.
‘In late 1959, the Queen was due to visit Ghana. It was going to be a big thing. In May, she discovered she was pregnant and realised that the Ghana trip would have to be put off.
‘She knew that Dr Nkrumah was a sensitive chap and might take offence unless he knew the whole story, so I was dispatched to Accra to put him in the picture — which I did. At first, he was appalled, then he decided that if the Queen couldn’t come to him, he’d go to her — at Balmoral — which he did.
‘I have to say, she has a way with these Commonwealth leaders.’
‘I’m not sure that Princess Elizabeth noticed it. In a way, marriage hardly changed her life at all. His life changed completely.’ His initial reception certainly rankled with Philip — and continued to do so, even into old age. Once, when he’d visited Windsor Castle after getting engaged, he told me, a courtier had patronisingly begun to tell him the history of the place.
Philip interrupted, saying: ‘Yes, I know. My mother was born here.’
Little wonder, perhaps, that on the morning of his wedding, just after breakfast, Philip asked Patricia Mountbatten: ‘Am I being very brave or very foolish?’
I asked Lady Mountbatten once what she thought he meant by that. ‘He was apprehensive,’ she said. ‘He was uncertain — not about marrying Princess Elizabeth, but about what the marriage would mean for him. He was giving up a great deal.’
For a start, that very morning Philip had stopped smoking cigarettes. The King was a heavy smoker — it was a family habit: Queen Mary was a smoker, too. And having seen the effect cigarettes had on her father, Princess Elizabeth had asked Philip to give up.
He was happy enough to oblige his bride-to-be — and disciplined enough to be able to do so overnight. Then, at 11am, fortified by a gin and tonic, and dressed in naval uniform, he set off for Westminster Abbey, never to look back.
Philip and Elizabeth certainly enjoyed young married life. And when the Princess was often a little shy, Philip always encouraged her to have fun.
In May 1948, six months after their wedding, Chips Channon observed the Edinburghs dancing the night away at a fancy-dress party — until 5am. According to Channon, Philip was the success of the ball, ‘wildly gay with his policeman’s hat and handcuffs.
‘He leapt about and jumped into the air as he greeted everybody. His charm is colossal, and he and Princess Elizabeth seemed supremely happy.’
Not everything was blissful, however. Philip was used to fending for himself, while Lilibet had been brought up as a princess, and was wholly accustomed to being fed, bathed, dressed and watched over by others.
One bone of contention was the constant presence of her old nanny Margaret MacDonald, known as Bobo. As Mike Parker said: ‘Let’s face it, [Philip] had a hell of a time with her. Miss MacDonald was always there. And in charge. Princess Elizabeth was Bobo’s baby, and that was that.’
Typically, Bobo would prepare Lilibet’s bath and then potter in and out while she was having it, effectively keeping Philip at bay.
‘He couldn’t share the bathroom with his wife,’ said Patricia Mountbatten, ‘because Bobo saw it as her territory — and I don’t think Princess Elizabeth had the heart to say: ‘Bobo, please go away.’ ‘
Everlasting love: The couple in 1950 and at their Platinum Wedding Anniversary celebrations in 2017
In many ways, Prince Philip was remarkably good-humoured and long-suffering. He endured Bobo, and put up with thousands of hours of royal flummery and mind-numbing small talk with strangers and civic dignitaries.
But he was, as he admitted himself, ‘a shade querulous’ — even at the start of his marriage. This took the form of grumbles, flashes of impatience and a tendency to be contradictory.
The Queen’s cousin, Margaret Rhodes, told me that he was even like that with his wife. ‘He’d say, ‘Why the bloody hell? What the bloody hell?’ I think she did sometimes find it very disconcerting.’
But according to Mike Parker, it meant nothing: ‘Philip is an outspoken kind of a guy. He might use colourful language talking privately with the Queen — but he is devoted to Her Majesty, absolutely devoted.’
Patricia Mountbatten said that, in her experience, the Queen never responded to her husband’s intemperate outbursts in kind. However, she clearly enjoyed it when others did.
‘I remember a big party at Balmoral,’ said Countess Mountbatten, ‘a shooting party, when, at dinner, Philip and I had a right old ding-dong about South Africa. It was a terrific argument and the Queen kept encouraging me.
‘That’s right, Patricia,’ she said, ‘You go at him — nobody ever goes at him.’ ‘
The Queen’s childhood friend Sonia Berry observed of her: ‘She’s always calm. She might get annoyed about something but, as a rule, she stays on an even keel. I’ve never seen her lose her temper.’
Separate rooms? It was nonsense
Among the upper classes, especially three or four generations ago, men and women had separate bedrooms. That’s just the way it was.
When Elizabeth and Philip moved into Clarence House in 1949, they had separate but communicating bedrooms. It was what they — and their staff — would have expected.
The Duke’s valet, John Dean, described the arrangement as though it was the most natural thing in the world.
Of an evening, he’d be assisting Philip in his bedroom, while [former nursemaid] Bobo would be tending to Elizabeth in hers, and the royal couple ‘would joke happily through the left-open door’.
In July 1982, an intruder — a 31-year-old schizophrenic named Michael Fagan — found his way into Buckingham Palace and disturbed the Queen, alone, asleep in bed.
The ‘revelation’ that the Queen and her husband did not appear to share a bedroom caused more comment in certain quarters than the fact that a lunatic could wander off the street into the sovereign’s bedroom.
In fact, when sleeping under the same roof, the Queen and Prince Philip usually did share the same bed.
It just happened that on the morning of Fagan’s intrusion Philip had a crack-of-dawn start for an out-of-town official engagement and so spent the night in his own quarters.
The Queen handled Fagan with commendable calm, but was nevertheless shaken. He’d wandered in with a broken ashtray in his hand, drawn the curtains and sat down on her bed. Eventually, when he asked for a cigarette, she managed to manoeuvre him out of the bedroom and the alarm was raised.
Philip’s long-standing friend Gina Kennard told me: ‘At Balmoral that year — after that man got into her bedroom — the Queen began snapping at Philip. She was really quite snappy with him. Which was unusual for her.
‘Not for him, of course. He’s always been a bit snappy. But the man getting into her room was horrid.’
O thers recalled that, in the early days, Elizabeth would do her best to tease Philip out of his ill-humour by taking his pulse and quietly counting: ‘Tick, tick, tick, one, two, three.’
Not that she was afraid to give her husband the occasional set-down. When the Duke was berating her for paying more attention to the dogs than himself, or complaining about her spending so much time on the telephone, she was quite capable of saying: ‘Oh, do shut up, Philip.’
Her private secretary Martin Charteris recalled an unhappy half-hour on the royal yacht Britannia. ‘I’m not going to come out of my cabin until he’s in a better temper,’ said the Queen. ‘I’m going to sit here on my bed until he’s better.’
Indeed, she’s known to have complained of Philip’s ‘pigheadedness’ to friends — while Philip himself once described her to me as ‘immensely tolerant’. According to family and friends, the Queen became bolder with him over the years — while he grew gentler with her. But not with everyone.
His friend Gina Kennard told me: ‘Let’s face it — he can be really bad-tempered.’ I even witnessed this for myself once, after a footman had moved a folder of papers from their usual place on the Duke’s desk.
P hilip gave him short shrift, and it wasn’t a pretty sight. The poor footman, of course, couldn’t answer back.
Why, then, was Prince Philip so cantankerous? Patricia Mountbatten explained: ‘He’s a dynamo. He wants action — he wants to get things done. He likes getting his own way and it’s frustrating for him when he doesn’t.’
Most frustrating of all, of course, was the fact that he had to give up his promising naval career four years after marrying. He’d just spent a year in command of his own ship when the King fell ill and Philip was required to join the family business.
‘It was bloody for him,’ Mike Parker said to me, ‘absolutely bloody.’ Philip played down the loss of his career. ‘In 1947, I thought I was going to have a career in the Navy, but it became obvious there was no hope,’ he explained.
‘The Royal Family then was just the King and the Queen and the two princesses. The only other male member was the Duke of Gloucester. There was no choice.
‘It’s what happened — that’s all. It happened sooner than might have been expected, but it was inevitable. I accepted it. That’s life.’
Otherwise, the 1950s were a golden time. Gina Kennard told me: ‘I remember lots of laughter, lots of old-fashioned gaiety. Country weekends. Shooting — we used to pot at rabbits. Shoot suppers. Hunt balls. Proper house parties, with tennis and croquet and dancing.
‘They are both wonderful dancers. You should have seen Philip’s samba! And games. Sardines. Hunt the Thimble. So much fun.’
And more fancy dress parties, too. At the American ambassador’s ball, for instance, Philip went as a waiter and Elizabeth as a maid.
One of the witnesses to their early married life was John Gibson, a ‘nursery footman’ who regarded them as a ‘quite normal’ couple.
‘When they were on their own, it was a very simple life,’ he told me. ‘They were waited on hand and foot obviously, but they sat at the table and they had a natter about what was going on in the day.’ Much of the domestic conversation related to home-making, as they were then still living at Buckingham Palace with the King and Queen during the week.
‘They couldn’t wait to get into their new home at Clarence House — they talked about it all the time. ‘I think Grandma is giving me a nice sideboard. I’m sure she is.’ Grandma was Queen Mary, of course.’
When they were up at Birkhall in Scotland, the couple would drive over to Balmoral with the staff piled into the back of the shooting-brake. ‘He’d drive like mad over the country roads,’ according to John Gibson. ‘ ‘Philip, Philip, slow down for God’s sake, slow down, you’re killing all the rabbits,’ she said. ‘What’s the matter with you?’ ‘
As the King’s condition worsened in 1951, Elizabeth and Philip began undertaking more public duties, including a tour of Canada. It wasn’t all plain sailing.
Philip, hoping to be humorous, produced the first in a long line of so-called gaffes by referring to Canada as ‘a good investment’. Worse still, perhaps, there were rumours that, at breakfast one morning on the Governor-General’s train, the Duke had called the Princess ‘a bloody fool’.
I asked Martin Charteris if this was true. ‘He might have done,’ said Charteris, smiling, ‘He had a naval turn of phrase.
‘He was impatient. He was frustrated. You must remember he’d just turned 30 and he was obliged to give up a promising career in the Navy to do — what?
‘He hadn’t yet defined his role, found his feet as consort. He was certainly very impatient with the old-style courtiers and sometimes, I think, felt that the Princess paid more attention to them than to him.
‘He didn’t like that. If he called her ‘a bloody fool’ now and again, it was just his way. I think others would have found it more shocking than she did.
‘Although she was very young, she had a wise head on her shoulders. She has always understood him — and his ways. I think the Queen [appreciated] his sense of humour, and [valued] it.’
Indeed, on that long train ride across Canada, Philip did his best to entertain his wife with a range of practical jokes.
These included surprising her with a booby-trapped can of nuts and chasing her down the corridor, wearing a set of joke false teeth.
T hen, at some time in the early hours of Wednesday, February 6, 1952, King George died in his sleep of a coronary thrombosis, and the fun and games stopped.
I asked Philip if he’d known what to expect.
‘No,’ he said, laughing a little bleakly. ‘There were plenty of people telling me what not to do. ‘You mustn’t interfere with this.’ ‘Keep out.’
‘I had to try to support the Queen as best I could without getting in the way. The difficulty was to find things that might be useful. I had to avoid getting at cross-purposes, usurping others’ authority.’
He did his best, and the Queen felt properly supported. But in one particularly sensitive matter, she ignored his wishes and instead took the advice of her private secretary and the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill.
Henceforward, she decided, her children would bear her family name (Windsor) rather than Philip’s (Mountbatten). He was incandescent. ‘I am nothing but a bloody amoeba,’ he protested. ‘I am the only man in the country not allowed to give his name to his own children.’
Patricia Mountbatten told me: ‘It hurt him, it really hurt him. He’d given up everything — and now this — the final insult. It was a terrible blow.
‘It upset him very deeply and left him feeling unsettled and unhappy for a long while.’
Mike Parker agreed: ‘Philip was spitting,’ he said.
On top of that Philip was deeply unhappy at having to move from Clarence House to Buckingham Palace — where he was treated as something of an extraneous nuisance by the Court.
It’s hard not to feel sympathy for him. After all, in most households in Britain in the early 1950s, the husband and father was the head of the household, the breadwinner who ruled the roost.
‘It was bloody difficult for him,’ said Mike Parker. ‘In the Navy, he was in command of his own ship – literally. At Clarence House, it was very much his show. When we got to Buckingham Palace, all that changed.’
Parker told me that Philip ‘understood, sort of’ that Elizabeth was required to exclude her husband from affairs of state; in return, he was left ‘in charge of the home-front’. Elizabeth wore the crown, but Philip wore the trousers.
The Queen, it seems, was anxious to allow her husband the man’s traditional authority in their domestic and private life. This meant bowing to his wishes when it came to choosing schools for their children, and positively encouraging him to take on the management of the royal estates.
‘She was head of state,’ said Mike Parker, ‘but he was head honcho.’
Even in private, though, Philip never complained about being excluded from much of the Queen’s work — such as meeting the Prime Minister once a week.
‘When the Queen became Queen, I tried to find useful things to do,’ he told me. ‘I did my best. I introduced a Footman Training Programme.
‘The old boys here [at Buckingham Palace] hadn’t had anything quite like it before. They expected the footmen just to keep on coming. I tried to make improvements, without unhinging things . . . I did my own thing.’
But when I suggested that Philip was an instinctive moderniser, he interrupted me: ‘No, no, not for the sake of modernising, not for the sake of buggering about with things in some sort of Blairite way. Far from it.’
Doing his own thing, it turned out, included writing books, fund-raising, giving speeches and launching many new organisations, including the massively successful Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme — which has now spread to more than 100 other countries.
Inevitably, since the accession, Elizabeth and Philip had — to an extent — led separate, parallel lives. Frequently, they overlapped: often, they did not.
In the end, their marriage turned out not to be a fairy-tale, but an outstanding partnership.
True, they had different attributes and different interests. Philip was more adventurous, more assertive, and more intellectual than his wife. She was more placid, more cautious, more conventional, less changeable in mood.
Yet they understood one another — and they got on so well. They were good companions: the chattering never stopped — listening to one another, laughing repeatedly — and nor did the love. Both Lord Buxton and Lord Brabourne had stories to tell of Philip holding his wife’s hand or gently stroking her hair.
He’d often join the Queen at the end of a day and say: ‘Lovely to see you.’ Then he’d watch her face light up with happiness.
- PHILIP: THE FINAL PORTRAIT by Gyles Brandreth will be published by Coronet at £25 on April 27.
© 2021 Gyles Brandreth. To order a copy for £22 go to mailshop.co.uk/books or call 020 3308 9193. Delivery charges may apply. Free UK delivery on orders over £20. Promotional price valid until 24/04/2021.
Prince Philip’s commitment to the Commonwealth: Queen shares heartwarming pictures as she celebrates Duke’s connection with people ‘from every walk of life’ as he travelled to 70% of the world’s countries
By Mark Duell for MailOnline
Philip, who completed a total of 22,219 solo engagements and thousands more at the side of his wife, became the Queen’s consort when she acceded to the throne in 1952 and completed his last public event in August 2017.
Today, the @RoyalFamily
‘Since 1949, HRH visited 70 per cent of the world’s countries; visited 50 Commonwealth countries; made 229 solo visits, often to the most remote parts of the Commonwealth.’
February 1977: The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, both wearing Maori Kahu-Kiwi (Kiwi feather cloaks) at Rugby Park in Gisborne, on the North Island of New Zealand when they attended the opening of the Royal New Zealand Polynesian Festival
December 2003: The Duke of Edinburgh tours the Commonwealth People’s Forum in Abuja, Nigeria, on the opening day of the Commonwealth Heads of Governments Meeting
October 1997: The Duke of Edinburgh tries his hand at teaching English to Chitrali children at the Aga Khan School in Bilphok, North West Frontier Province, Pakistan
Undated: Prince Philip was a keen supporter of young people and is pictured here meeting Scouts in an unknown country
This post was accompanied by a photo from February 1977 of Philip with the Queen both wearing Kiwi feather cloaks at Rugby Park in Gisborne, when they attended the opening of the Royal New Zealand Polynesian Festival.
Another image showed the Duke of Edinburgh smiling as he toured the Commonwealth People’s Forum in Abuja, Nigeria, in December 2003; while a third showed him meeting Scouts in an undisclosed country.
The fourth image, taken in October 1997, showed the Duke trying his hand at teaching English to Chitrali children at the Aga Khan School at Bilphok in Pakistan in what was then known as the North West Frontier Province.
A second post on the @RoyalFamily account stated: ‘The Duke had a number of Commonwealth appointments over the course of his life, including with @thecgf (Commonwealth Sport), @THE_RASC (The Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth) and the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League.
‘HRH also had military affiliations in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Trinidad and Tobago.’
This was accompanied by a further four photographs, including one of the Queen with Philip at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games Baton relay launch ceremony at Buckingham Palace in October 2013.
Another showed Prince Philip meeting medal-winning athletes at the Brisbane Commonwealth Games in September 1982, while a third showed him at the International Fleet Review in Halifax, Canada, in 2010.
The final Twitter post today from @RoyalFamily stated: ‘In 1956, HRH founded The Duke of Edinburgh’s Commonwealth Study Conferences, bringing together emerging Commonwealth leaders.
October 2013: Queen Elizabeth II accompanied by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh attend the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games Baton relay launch ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London
September 1982: Prince Philip meets medal-winning athletes at what is thought to be the Brisbane Commonwealth Games
Undated: The Queen and Prince Philip meet servicemen at an unknown event also highlighted in the series of pictures
June 2010: Prince Philip in front of HMCS St John’s after the International Fleet Review in Halifax, Canada
‘The @CommonPurpose conferences have continued to this day, and over 10,000 people having participated in The Duke of Edinburgh’s leadership programs.’
Three pictures accompanying this post showed him at Australian National University in Canberra in May 1968, in Canada in May 1980 and at a Buckingham Palace reception for Commonwealth leaders in April 2014.
A fourth Twitter post added: ‘The Duke of Edinburgh held Patronage appointments in 12 different Commonwealth countries, including: @BNTBahamas, @Ngr_Brit_Asso, @SLSAustralia and @OutwardBoundCan.’
A similar Instagram post was also published by @theroyalfamily account today, which featured all the pictures on Twitter plus two more – including one of Philip during a walkabout in Melbourne in October 2011.
It comes as hundreds of politicians and peers shared personal tributes to the Duke of Edinburgh as his grandsons hailed him as an ‘extraordinary man’ and a ‘legend of banter’.
The Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex recalled their grandfather as an individual ‘authentically himself’ filled with warmth and wit and devoted to the monarch, as they joined the nation in honouring his memory.
May 1968: Prince Philip at Australian National University in Canberra opening the Sixth Commonwealth Study Conference
May 1980: The Duke of Edinburgh stands with Commonwealth Study Conference participants in Canada
April 2014: The CSCLeaders conference, a programme for Commonwealth leaders, has a reception at Buckingham Palace
On a day of eulogies for Philip yesterday, hours of tributes were also heard in the Parliaments of London, Edinburgh and Cardiff – including by more than 100 MPs in the House of Commons.
William and Harry released separate statements to pay tribute to Philip, with the older brother pledging to uphold his grandfather’s wishes and continue, along with wife Kate, to support the Queen and ‘get on with the job’.
Reflecting on how his grandfather’s ‘century of life was defined by service’, William added: ‘I feel lucky to have not just had his example to guide me, but his enduring presence well into my own adult life – both through good times and the hardest days.’
He added: ‘My grandfather was an extraordinary man and part of an extraordinary generation. Catherine and I will continue to do what he would have wanted and will support the Queen in the years ahead. I will miss my Grandpa, but I know he would want us to get on with the job.’
Harry, who is quarantining ahead of Saturday’s funeral at his former home of Frogmore Cottage in the grounds of Windsor Castle, released a more informal statement, describing the duke as ‘my grandpa: master of the barbecue, legend of banter, and cheeky right till the end’.
He said: ‘My grandfather was a man of service, honour and great humour. He was authentically himself, with a seriously sharp wit, and could hold the attention of any room due to his charm – and also because you never knew what he might say next.’
October 2011: The Duke of Edinburgh is given flowers for Queen Elizabeth II during a walkabout in Melbourne, Australia
A second further image released on Instagram showcasing how Prince Philip was ‘committed’ to the Commonwealth
Prime Minister Boris Johnson led the tributes in the Commons, saying Philip ‘touched the lives of millions’.
‘It is fitting that on Saturday his Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh will be conveyed to his final resting place in a Land Rover which Prince Philip designed himself, with a long wheel base and capacious rear cabin,’ he said.
‘Because that vehicle’s unique and idiosyncratic silhouette reminds the world that he was above all a practical man, who could take something very traditional – whether a machine or, indeed, a great national institution – and find a way by his own ingenuity to improve it, to adapt it for the 20th and 21st century.’
Other politicians described Philip as a ‘role model’, and said his ‘greatest memorial’ was his 73-year marriage to the Queen.
Over the weekend, Philip’s four children spoke movingly about the loss of their father and how the Queen was being very ‘stoic’ after losing her husband of 73 years who died peacefully on Friday.
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