Prince Philip’s Sincere Letters To Princess Diana Show He Was On Her Side During The Divorce

Sep 23, 2022 by apost team

The royal family affair gets tongues wagging at the slightest rumor. For instance, the news of the divorce between Princess Diana and then-Prince Charles in 1996 was the talk of the year.

In the royal family, marriages are held in high regard, and marital issues were not publicly talked about. A royal divorce was unheard of until Charles and Diana came out to the public with the news of their divorce. It wasn't all that shocking since there were constant rumors over the years of King Charles III having an affair with his now current wife, Camilla Parker Bowles, while he was still married to Diana.

Diana was open about the troubles in her marriage to Charles and even confronted Camilla about their affair in 1989. Diana and Charles separated in 1992, just a decade into their marriage. The issue could no longer stay hidden from the public once Charles confessed to the infidelity claims in 1994. However, even before that, close observers of the royal family had had an inkling as to what was happening.

Diana and Charles' marriage became so troubled that it affected the entire royal family. While everyone seemed to turn their backs on the princess, the late Prince Philip reportedly took Diana's side. Surprisingly, Philip and Diana didn't have that much of a close relationship when she was still married to Charles, and taking her side seemed a little weird. He had been reported to treat Diana unkindly previous to the couple's divorce. This reported unkindness was later turned around, however.

Queen Elizabeth, Princess Alexandra of Kent, Prince Philip, Princess Diana, Prince Charles (1982), (Terry Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)

While speaking to the UK's Evening Standard, Anji Hunter, a former government official, recalled a conference call with Prince Philip in the days before Diana’s funeral. "We were all talking about how William and Harry should be involved, and suddenly came Prince Philip’s voice," she said. "We hadn’t heard from him before, but he was really anguished. 'It’s about the boys,' he cried, 'They’ve lost their mother.'"

TODAY reported that at dinner the day before Prince Diana's funeral, Prince Philip told his grandsons, "I'll walk if you walk." This fact was fortified once more by Princess Anne's revelations during an interview with UK's ITV after her father's death. "I seem to remember them saying that, in fact, it was a question of, 'If you'll do it, I'll do it,'" Princess Anne said.

The next day, the funeral procession took place from Kensington Palace to Westminster Abbey in London, and Prince Philip joined 15-year-old William and 12-year-old Harry as they walked along with their father, King Charles III, and Diana's brother Earl Spencer. The photographs from that day show that the family had come together during the most difficult times in their lives.

It’s clear that Philip was of great help to his family during such a difficult time for them. But he had also been there for Diana when she needed someone the most following her very public divorce from Charles. To make matters even more troubling for Diana, the world had come to know that Charles had been having an affair with Camilla Parker Bowles.

And while it seemed like everyone was turning their backs on the princess, Philip showed he was there for her

Prince Philip, Princess Diana (1986), (Mirrorpix/Getty Images)

The divorce was not the only thing that rocked the royal boat during these times. In 2003, a former royal butler by the name of Paul Burrel leaked letters that he claimed had been exchanged between Diana and Prince Philip following the news of the divorce. As Prince Philip reportedly tried to stop the publication of the letters and Burrel's subsequent book, since more embarrassment might follow such a publication, many assume the letters are indeed authentic. The letters showed Prince Philip supporting Diana during the problematic divorce phase. 

Some of the published highlights suggest that Prince Philip had a soft spot for Princess Diana during the divorce stage. Philip signed the letters with notable mentions such as "fondest love, Pa." From CNN to the Mirror to smaller publications such as Marie Claire, many news outlets cited the letters' heartfelt content. Prince Philip wrote:

"I cannot imagine anyone in their right mind leaving you for Camilla. We do not approve of either of you having lovers. Charles was silly to risk everything with Camilla for a man in his position. We never dreamed he might feel like leaving you for her. Such a prospect never even entered our heads."

He even offered to help the couple in any way he could during this hard time in their lives. He wrote to Diana to explain that he was willing to be an intermediary between her and Charles. However, he also explained that there were some things he could not help with:

"I can only repeat what I've said before, if invited, I will always do my utmost to help you and Charles to the best of my ability. But I am quite ready to concede that I have no talent as a marriage counsellor."

Prince Philip, Princess Diana (1986), (Tim Graham/Tim Graham Photo Library/Getty Images)

As People reported, Diana was very happy to have Prince Philip's encouraging words during this time. The People's Princess reportedly felt worried that none of the royal family understood or sympathized with her side of things. She is cited as writing:

"Dearest Pa, I was particularly touched by your most recent letter, which proved to me, if I did not already know it, that you really do care. You are very modest about your marriage guidance skills, and I disagree with you!"

Besides all that support for Diana, Prince Philip unfortunately also geared some blame toward her. One of the more damning sentences he wrote was:

"Can you honestly look into your heart and say that Charles's relationship with Camilla had nothing to do with your behaviour towards him in your marriage?"

We might think this especially unkind and see it as blaming the victim in this dispute. However, to see a man's infidelity as his wife's inability to keep his attention was not an uncommon sentiment until a few decades ago — and sometimes still is today. Even though Diana was put off by Prince Philip's harsh words in later letters, the support he showed her in his early ones was a comfort to her. 

She said as much to Patrick Jephson, her private secretary at the time. The Mirror later asked Patrick to comment on this, and he answered: 

"Here at last was written proof that this was acknowledged, recognised, and there was sympathy for her."

So even though Prince Philip did not approve of the divorce or Diana taking other lovers after her split from Charles, the late princess still drew strength from this bit of support.

Princess Alexendra, Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, Princess Diana, Prince Charles (1982), (Princess Diana Archive/Hulton Royals Collection/Getty Images)

Would you have guessed that Prince Philip and Diana exchanged so many words following the divorce? Let us know what you think about this, and pass this story along to see what your friends and family think about it!

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