Prince Philip ‘did more trying to save his son’s marriage to Diana than Charles’


Prince Philip was a father figure and a marriage counsellor to Diana who may have done more than Prince Charles to save their marriage, says former royal butler Paul Burrell.

The Queen was the head of state but Philip in many ways was the head of the family and played a key role in sorting out arguments and differences.

He was quick to welcome in daughter-in-laws like Diana and Sarah Ferguson into the family and in particular acted like a father figure to Diana.

“Prince Philip probably did more to save the marriage than Prince Charles, even if he wore steelworkers gloves for a situation that required kid mittens,” said Mr Burrell, Diana’s former butler.

Charles and Diana on their wedding day in 1981
Philip was impressed by Diana when she visited Balmoral and felt she would be a good fit in the Royal Family

The Duke of Edinburgh encouraged Charles to marry Diana as he felt that she would fit in well following her first trip to Balmoral. He saw in Diana someone like himself who had been an outsider.

Diana would even call Philip “pa” affectionately in the early years of her marriage but their relationship became colder as her marriage hit the rocks.

Philip felt that Diana’s behaviour was damaging the monarchy.

He wrote letters in 1992, following the publication of Andrew Morton’s book Diana: Her True Story, that Charles was wrong to have returned to Camilla while criticising Diana for her affairs.

Charles and Camilla
Philip was critical of Charles for returning to Camilla and also Diana for her affairs

Philip was seen as acting like a marriage counsellor by royal observers for Diana and Charles before finally deciding with the Queen in December, 1992, that they must divorce.

Philip was also supportive of Sarah Ferguson, in a similar way, in her marriage to Prince Andrew, until they fell out when pictures emerged of her having her toes sucked by Texan billionaire John Bryan in 1992.

The pair are said to have not met for 26 years, with Fergie banished from ­Balmoral each summer before her former father-in-law arrived.

Prince Philip at a garden party in 2017
Philip also fell out with Sarah Ferguson over her affair with John Bryan

They did reunite at the wedding of Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank in 2018.

Philip was also credited with taking youngsters Harry and William under his wing after the death of Diana in 1997.

When William was undecided about walking behind his mother’s coffin at the funeral, Philip said to him: “If I walk, will you walk with me?”

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