The Queen “gave Prince Philip some slack about his friendships with women,” as the late monarch was aware that her husband had to “walk a tightrope” like her consort, a royal expert has claimed.
Historian Dr Tessa Dunlop – who wrote the biography Elizabeth and Philip: A Story of Young Love, Marriage and Monarchy – says the late royal couple “clearly had a lasting and loving marriage.”
Appear on the Mail Plus’ Palace Confidential seriesThe royal expert commented on a storyline in The Crown’s new series in which Prince Philip pursues an extramarital affair with Penny Knatchbull.
Countess Mountbatten of Burma became the Duke’s “closest confidante” and was one of 30 mourners to attend his funeral in April 2021.
The Netflix hit series is said to have filmed “intimate scenes” between Prince Philip and Penny Knatchbull – who had a 32-year age difference – appearing on screen tomorrow, just over two months after Queen Elizabeth II’s death.
Speaking to host Jo Elvin, Dr Dunlop said: ‘The bottom line is he wasn’t sexually faithful – that’s what people have inferred.
Royal expert Dr. Tessa Dunlop says Her Majesty “gave the Duke of Edinburgh some slack” because she was aware that as her consort he “had to walk on a tightrope.” The Queen and Prince Philip photographed on their 60th wedding anniversary in November 2007.
Penny Knatchbull became one of Prince Philip’s “closest confidants” in the last 30 years of his life after the Duke helped the Countess process her grief over the loss of her child to cancer. The pair pictured at the Royal Windsor Horse show in May 2007
“But whether it was him or not, the Queen and he clearly had a loving and lasting marriage and partnership on which she leaned and he leaned. They were both dependent on each other.’
In addition, the expert said it is common knowledge that high-profile aristocratic couples of the time were not always strictly faithful to each other.
She added: “Monogamy didn’t have the high currency it has in the world today.”
In 1947, Prince Philip renounced his claim to the Greek and Danish thrones so that he could assume the role of the Queen’s consort.
The Crown’s new series shows Prince Philip having an affair with Penny Knatchbull. Jonathan Pryce and Natasha McElhone pictured as Penny Knatchbull
The Queen and Prince Philip pictured on their wedding day in 1947. Prince Philip renounced his claim to the Greek and Danish thrones so that he could take on the role of the Queen’s consort that year
When the Queen inherited the throne in 1952, it was confirmed that the royal house would be known as ‘Windsor’ – before the couple decided eight years later that their descendants without HRH status would be given the surname Mountbatten-Windsor.
Despite hopes that they could stay in Clarence House, Prime Minister Winston Churchill – who was in office when King VI died – was adamant that the young couple took up residence at Buckingham Palace.
Commenting on the impact this had on their marriage, Dr Dunlop continued: ‘I think the Queen Philip understood the need for freedom. She asked a lot from an alpha male to get behind her and support her. To renounce his name. To renounce his house.’
Addressing the Duke of Edinburgh’s alleged infidelity, the expert said: ‘I think the Queen absolutely understood that Prince Philip had to walk and she was giving him some slack.
Penny Knatchbull and The Queen pictured on the Royal Windsor Horse show in May 2018. The Netflix series sees Prince Philip tell Penny that he and his wife have “grown in different directions”
Penny Knatchbull was one of only 30 mourners to attend Prince Philip’s funeral in April 2021. Pictured leaving Windsor after the funeral
“Whatever that means for his behavior with women, I don’t know. He didn’t want us to know and the Queen didn’t want us to know and was apparently at peace with whatever happened.’
Netflix uses the death of Penny’s daughter from cancer at age five in 1991 as the starting point for a relationship with her Philip.
The program portrays the Duke – played by Jonathan Pryce – who tells Lady Mountbatten – played by Natasha McElhone – that he and the Queen have ‘grown in separate directions’.
And in another episode, the Duke explains that he is looking for “companionship,” before the Queen calls Lady Mountbatten to Windsor.
Dickie Arbiter, who was Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s spokesperson from 1988 to 2000, previously said it was distasteful that scenes featuring Penny and Philip would be played just weeks after her funeral.
“This comes just weeks after the nation laid Her Majesty to rest next to Prince Philip, this is very distasteful and, frankly, cruel nonsense,” he said.
“The truth is that Penny has been a friend of the whole family for a long time. Netflix isn’t interested in people’s feelings.”
Ingrid Seward, editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine, added: ‘It has extremely bad taste.
‘This is fiction. He wouldn’t discuss his marriage with anyone in a million years. The royals probably won’t look at it for their own sanity.’
In the second season of the popular royal drama, writers suggested that Prince Philip had a secret romance with Russian ballerina Galina Ulanova in the 1950s after The Queen – played by Claire Foy – found a photo of the dancer in her husband’s suitcase. .
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