The Queen was ‘madly in love with Prince Philip’ and believed ‘tolerance was key’ to a happy marriage, a royal expert has claimed.
Historian Dr Tessa Dunlop said that the late monarch’s marriage was so successful because The Queen provided Prince Philip the ‘stability’ that the Duke of Edinburgh sadly never had growing up.
The late royal was born just as the Greek royal family fell to a military dictatorship and the remainder of his childhood was spent on the run in Europe before he was eventually enrolled at Gordonstoun school in Scotland.
Speaking to Ok! magazine, the royal expert – who has penned the biography Elizabeth and Philip: A Story of Young Love, Marriage and Monarchy – said The Queen remained ‘madly in love’ with Prince Philip throughout their 73-year marriage.
Dr Dunlop said: ‘I think Philip loved Elizabeth. I’ve never been in any doubt about that. She changed his life.
‘She gave him stability that he never had, she gave him wealth he never had. She gave him a platform he couldn’t have dreamed of. She gave him everything he didn’t have.’
That said, the expert claimed that both ‘independence’ and ‘tolerance’ were key to the success of couple’s enduring marriage and that The Queen was ‘very good at giving Prince Philip’ space when he needed.
Dr Dunlop then referenced a speech Prince Philip delivered on the couple’s silver wedding anniversary in 1972, in which he described his wife as having ‘tolerance in abundance’.
Last week, the expert described how the Queen ‘cut Prince Philip some slack over his friendships with women’ as the late monarch was aware her husband was made to ‘walk a tightrope’ as her consort.
Appearing on the Mail Plus’ Palace Confidential series, the royal expert commented on a storyline in the new series of the The Crown which sees Prince Philip pursuing an extra-marital relationship with Penny Knatchbull.
Countess Mountbatten of Burma became the Duke’s ‘closest confidante’ and was one of the 30 mourners who attended his funeral in April 2021.
The Netflix hit series is reported to have filmed ‘intimate scenes’ between Prince Philip and Penny Knatchbull – who had a 32-year age difference – which landed on screens last week, just over two months after the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
Speaking to host Jo Elvin, Dr Dunlop said: ‘The inference is that he wasn’t sexually faithful – that’s what people have inferred.
‘But whether he was or not, the Queen and him clearly had a loving and enduring marriage and a partnership that she leant on and he leant on. They both depended on each other.’
In 1947, Prince Philip renounced his claim to the Greek and Danish thrones so he could step into the role of the Queen’s Consort.
Exiled, orphaned, homeless, alone: Prince Philip’s troubled childhood
Prince Philip was born on June 10, 1921, on the kitchen table at his family home Mon Repos on the Greek island of Corfu.
He was the fifth child, and only boy, of parents Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg.
His ancestry was a mix of Greece, Denmark, Russia and Prussia on his father’s side, and his maternal grandmother, Princess Victoria of Hesse, was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, making him Elizabeth II’s third cousin.
The family were happily living in the royal household of Philip’s uncle King Constantine I.
However, Greece was gripped by political instability and just a year and a half later the family were forced to flee after the King was exiled from his own country following a military revolt.
In the political recriminations that followed, Philip’s father, a Lieutenant-General in the Greek army, was accused of high treason after allegedly disobeying an order and abandoning his post with his cavalry regiment in the face of attack during the Greco-Turkish War of 1919-1922.
The family managed to escape on British naval vessel HMS Calypso, with the newborn prince carried to safety in a cot famously crafted from an unused fruit box.
They were taken to France where they settled in a leafy suburb in Paris in a house loaned to them by his wealthy aunt, Princess George of Greece and Denmark.
From then on, the Duke’s childhood was incredibly unsettled as he was without a permanent home.
At the age of eight, Philip was sent to Cheam school in Surrey for three years – but moved to Germany where all four of his sisters had married.
His stint in Germany proved brief when he moved back to Britain and was sent to Gordonstoun, a boarding school in Scotland.
The school near Elgin, Scotland, was started by Dr Hahn, who had a profound influence on the Prince.
He very rarely saw his parents and was left isolated, but he was a happy, lively child. He later said of his family’s break-up: ‘I just had to get on with it. You do. One does.
When The Queen inherited the throne in 1952, it was confirmed that the Royal Household would be known as ‘Windsor’ – before the couple decided eight years later that their descendants without HRH status would have the surname Mountbatten-Windsor.
Despite hoping that they could remain in Clarence House, Prime Minister Winston Churchill – who was in office when King VI passed away – was adamant the young couple take up residence in Buckingham Palace.
Commenting on the impact this had on their marriage, Dr Dunlop continued: ‘I think the Queen understood Philip’s need for freedom. She was asking a lot of an alpha male to step in behind her and support her. To relinquish his name. To relinquish his home.’
Addressing the Duke of Edinburgh’s alleged infidelity, the expert said: ‘I think the Queen absolutely understood the tightrope Prince Philip was asked to walk and she cut him some slack.
‘Whatever that means about 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 seemingly at peace with whatever happened.’
Netflix uses the death of Penny’s daughter from cancer at the age of five in 1991 as a jumping off point for the relationship between her and Philip.
In the show, the Duke – played by Jonathan Pryce – is portrayed telling Lady Mountbatten -played by Natasha McElhone – that he and the Queen have ‘grown in separate directions’.
And in another episode, the Duke explains he is looking for ‘companionship’, before the Queen summons Lady Mountbatten to Windsor.
Dickie Arbiter, who was Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s spokesman from 1988 to 2000, previously told how it was distasteful that scenes involving Penny and Philip would be played out only weeks after her funeral.
‘Coming just weeks after the nation laid Her Majesty to rest next to Prince Philip, this is very distasteful and, quite frankly, cruel rubbish,’ he said.
‘The truth is that Penny was a long-time friend of the whole family. Netflix are not interested in people’s feelings.’