Though they are the heads of the British royal family , they are also doting parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. Despite Prince Philip’s 2017 retirement, the pair have remained very close. In fact, they are currently isolating together at Windsor Castle amid the U.K.’s second national coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown.
However, things haven’t always been so easy for the duo. In the early years of their marriage, Prince Philip was accused of infidelity. One royal expert claims, it made him defensive when he met new women in public.
Having only been married for five years when the queen took the throne in 1952, the royal couple were very young with a ton of responsibility. Queen Elizabeth’s new role meant that Prince Philip had to step away from the Royal Navy and assume a new role by her side. It was a role that he initially resented a great deal.
The Duke of Edinburgh allegedly rebelled with a wild partying streak. In his book, Prince Philip: The Turbulent Early Life of the Man Who Married Queen Elizabeth II, Philip Eade writes that the duke was known as “The Naked Waiter.” It was rumored that he enjoyed “rip-roaring stag parties.”
There were also rumors of the prince with other women, including an affair with stage performer Patricia Kirkwood. Though the affair has never been confirmed, it allegedly began after the duke entered the dancer’s dressing room, and they were seen having dinner and dancing into the early morning hours. The rumors ruined Kirkwood’s career. Prince Philip was also very close with his friend, Sacha Hamilton, Duchess of Abercorn. The duchess did little to calm the rumors.
Prince Philip has always denied any accusations of infidelity. However, at his 50th-anniversary dinner with the queen in 1997, he did praise her for her tolerance. He said, “I think the main lesson we have learned is that tolerance is the one essential ingredient in any happy marriage… You can take it from me; the Queen has the quality of tolerance in abundance.”
Other than that, the prince has always been discussed with the cheating rumors. “Privately, he will say, ‘How could I?’” Mike Parker, the duke’s first Private Secretary told The Telegraph in 2004. “‘I’ve had a detective in my company, night and day, since 1947.’”
Still, his ladies-man persona has obviously bothered the duke over the years. One royal expert claims he’s defensive with women in public because of it.
Ingrid Seward, editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine and royal biographer, reflected on the first time she met and was photographed with the prince. In an interview with Mirror viaExpress, the Prince Philip Revealed: A Man of His Century author explained why the duke looked so standoffish in the photo.
“But there is a great photo of me talking to him and he’s got his arms folded right in front of his chest. I suppose he does look quite defensive because of course, he was always being defensive when being photographed with women because people might make remarks about his attraction to pretty women.”