WITH his piercing blue eyes, lazer-sharp wit and a demeanor oozing confidence, Prince Philip had a presence like no other royal.
Here, royal biographer Lady Colin Campbell describes the Duke of Edinburgh as one of the most masculine men she has ever met . . . only matched by James Bond actor Sean Connery.
? Read our live blog for the very latest news on Prince Philip's death…
She told how the Queen’s husband was “gloriously good looking” in his younger years and had the charisma and chiselled features of 007.
Lady Colin, who wrote The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh’s 2018 biography The Queen’s Marriage, said: “Philip and 007 actor Sean Connery are the two most masculine men I’ve ever met. Every time I came across Prince Philip, he was lovely. He liked pretty girls and made no secret of that — he was a great flirt.
“However, he wasn’t the lothario some have suggested he was. He was all show and very little go, and although his eyes would light up when he saw an attractive woman, there wasn’t much more to it than that.
“He was the closest member of the Royal Family to James Bond.”
As a younger man the Duke was extraordinarily good-looking, and on her comparison of him to Sean Connery, who died last year aged 90, she said: “Both were family orientated, intensely sexual, fundamentally spiritual and both had good senses of humour.”
'Prince Philip was the head of the family'
Lady Colin, 71, first encountered the Duke when she was in her twenties, and met him a further 15 to 20 times at society functions and while mixing in the same royal circles.
In an exclusive interview, Lady Colin also reveals how his role in the family was much more than just being the charming companion to the Queen, who he called Lilibet, saying he was “the glue that held the Palace together”.
She added: “Without doubt, Prince Philip was the head of the family. When you walked into the room it was obvious he held the power, not the Queen. He had a presence and commanded respect.
“When he met people who were overwhelmed to meet royalty he would always put them at ease, usually by telling a joke. Although sometimes his comments were taken out of context, in context they were very funny.”
For the Queen, he has always been her go-to person. Her confidante.
Lady Colin said: “He was a good listener, he had empathy, probably because he’d had a tough childhood and early life. At difficult periods, like the death of Princess Diana, he was her rock.
“Although she is used to functioning on her own, the Duke of Edinburgh was her sounding board and her strength.
“He had a tremendous influence. He helped to make her the extraordinary person she has grown into.
“He was fiercely intelligent and it’s incredible how he took a back seat for her.
“She has become an extraordinary Head of State, largely down to him. He was the bright, outgoing and forward- thinking one. When it comes down to it, he was the extra-ordinary one in the beginning of their relationship.”
He was often central to “crisis talks” within the family, too. Lady Colin claimed the Duke offered help in trying to rescue the marriages of sons Charles — to Princess Diana — and Andrew — to Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York.
She said: “He tried his level best to encourage both Andrew and Charles to preserve their marriages, if only in name, and expressed sympathy and under-standing for Diana’s predicament.
“He always joked he was no marriage counsellor, but was always on hand to help.”
Indeed, he even gave assistance to Princess Diana. Lady Colin told how Di always spoke glowingly to her about her “wonderful” father-in-law.
She said: “He took great pride in having heart-to-hearts with his loved ones.
“Diana told me herself that she had nothing but praise for her father-in-law and called him wonderful many times.”
Their marriage was stronger than ever
Prior to Prince Charles and Diana’s divorce in 1996, after 15 years of marriage, she had told how Philip was often a great friend to Diana.
Lady Colin said: “He frequently said to her, ‘I don’t understand why my son doesn’t see you the same way we do’.
“Only when Diana tried to dislodge Charles from the line of succession did they lose patience with her, though, even then, they always treated her with kindness and encouraged her to bring any concerns she had to them. The fact that she chose not to was her choice, not theirs.”
The Queen wed Prince Philip in November 1947 and seven decades later their marriage was stronger than ever.
The Duke’s support was even extended to Her Majesty’s troubled sister Margaret in the early days, according to Lady Colin.
She said: “When Prince Philip was courting Elizabeth, her younger sister Margaret was always around and Philip accepted that and was unfailingly kind to her.
“Their relationship became more difficult in later years, but he always tried his best with her before her death in 2002.”
Lady Colin added: “He was a very straight-down-the-line man and you always knew where you stood with him.”
She said he had no tolerance for ‘bulls**t’ and was very honest with his opinions.
Musing on how the family will be feeling, she says: “All of his children will be devastated. He was a very affectionate and fun father when they were growing up.
“Although he had a more complicated relationship with Charles, because they were very different, they became closer as they got older.
“The Duke of Edinburgh thoroughly enjoyed his time at Gordonstoun School in Scotland and wanted his sons to have the same experience he had. Charles went there and found it challenging, but Philip sent him because he thought it was for the best.”
Lady Colin said: “Everyone who knew Philip and Lilibet well always commented on how utterly authentic they both are. Although radically different in some ways, in others they are very similar.
“As newlyweds, the couple declared themselves to be ecstatic with their choice of each other.
“He was highly domes- ticated and, according to Prince Philip’s valet John Dean, an avid homemaker.
“He enjoyed hanging pictures, moving furniture about, buying household gadgets to make life easier for the staff of six.
“He would remain ardently home-loving all his life, and was fortunate in having a wife who was also, if not equally, home-loving.
“With Lilibet and Philip, there was a palpable bond of affection between them, which everyone who is in their company for any length of time picks up on.
“Ultimately, Philip was a great guy with a wonderful sense of humour, unsnobbish, unpretentious.”
- The Queen’s Marriage by Lady Colin Campbell is out now with Dynasty Press, £25.
Source: Read Full Article