Letters from Prince Philip to Princess Diana Show That He Took Her Side in Her Divorce

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  • Diana, Princess of Wales
    Diana, Princess of Wales
    First wife of Charles, Prince of Wales (1961-1997)
  • Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
    Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
    Prince consort
  • Charles, Prince of Wales
    Charles, Prince of Wales
    Eldest son and heir-apparent of Queen Elizabeth II (born 1948)
  • Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
    Second wife of Charles, Prince of Wales
Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

In 1996, the royal-watching world was shocked by Princess Diana and Prince Charles' divorce.

A royal divorce is scandalous enough, but the details surrounding Charles and Diana's split were especially salacious, given Charles' years-long affair with his current wife, Camilla Parker Bowles, during his marriage to Diana. Diana confronted Camilla about the affair in 1989, the couple officially separated in 1992, and Charles publicly admitted to his infidelity in a 1994 interview.

Photo credit: Tim Graham - Getty Images
Photo credit: Tim Graham - Getty Images

The whole situation was messy and no doubt uncomfortable for everyone in the royal family. At least one member of the royal family reportedly took Diana's side in the split, however. While Princess Diana and Prince Philip were not reported to have gotten along well (during her marriage to Philip, there were reports that he was "unkind" to her, according to CNN), behind closed doors, it appears he was there for Diana during the difficult divorce — to a degree at least.

In 2003, former royal butler Paul Burrell leaked letters reported to have been exchanged between Prince Philip and Diana that show he supported her over Charles in the divorce. At the time, The Sunday Times reported that Philip was attempting to block publication of the letters, suggesting they're authentic.

Photo credit: Eric BOUVET - Getty Images
Photo credit: Eric BOUVET - Getty Images

Highlights from Philip's alleged letters to Diana (signed "fondest love, Pa"), released originally to the Daily Mail, include:

"I cannot imagine anyone in their right mind leaving you for Camilla."

And:

"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."

Of course, not everything revealed in the supposed letters was positive. At one point, Philip allegedly wrote Diana asking, "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?” In other words: "Isn't it kind of your fault he cheated on you?" Ugh.

The letters are enjoying a renewed bout of interest thanks to a piece published by RSVP Live. In its recent report on the Philip letters, The Mirror included scans of multiple letters from Diana to her father-in-law, in which she asks for his guidance and thanks him for his replies.

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