The Duke of Edinburgh actively attempted to save Diana and Charles’ marriage in the early 1990s, private letters revealed. In an unprecedented show of support, Prince Philip wrote to Princess Diana on July 7 1992: “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 went as far as putting part of the blame for the troubled marriage on his son, speaking candidly of Charles’s affair with Camilla. But he let the Princess of Wales know that both the Queen and he were aware Diana was also having an affair and were not pleased. He wrote: “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.” According to royal experts, Prince Philip’s decision to take sides with Diana while openly shaming the then-married Camilla was groundbreaking. Appearing on Channel 4’s The Royal House of Windsor, royal commentator Sarah Gristwood said: “Never mind how Camilla might feel about that, he was being supportive towards Diana, and no one knew better than Prince Philip just how hard it was for an outsider to come into the Royal Family.”
The Duke of Edinburgh entered the House of Windsor as an outsider, being part of the Greek and Danish Royal Family. And just like Diana, he has been regarded by some commentators as an innovator, who actively worked to modernise the royals. The prince’s support made an impact on Diana, according to her private secretary at the time. Patrick Jephson said: “Here at last was written proof that this was acknowledged, recognised, and there was sympathy for her.” But despite showing sympathy to Diana, the prince didn’t refrain from putting some of the blame also on her. He wrote: “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?”. The written correspondence took place in 1992, described by the Queen in a speech marking the 40th anniversary of her accession “annus horribilis”, Latin for a horrible year. During 1992, a string of scandals swept over the Royals. Ms Gristwood said: “It was a blow after blow after blow.”
Among the events that put the family on the front page of newspapers, the Crown had to deal with the separation of Prince Andrews and Sarah Ferguson, known as Fergie, and the “toe-sucking” scandal that followed. In April, Princess Anne announced her divorce from Captain Mark Phillips, and less than a month later the first tell-all book focusing on Princess Diana took Britain by storm. In the book, Andrew Morton revealed for the first time how unhappy was the marriage between Princess Diana and Prince Charles.