Princess Anne is ‘boss at home’ says Mark Phillips in 1973
Meghan and her husband Prince Harry have just announced they are expecting their second child later this year, to the delight of royal fans. But, ongoing travel restrictions mean it’s not clear when Charles might be able to meet his youngest grandchild. Still, Meghan is thought to have got along famously with the Prince of Wales, especially after he volunteered to walk her down the aisle for her wedding when her own father Thomas Markle was unable to attend.
The Prince of Wales, like many royals, often coined nicknames for those in his close circles — and he extended the honour to his daughter-in-law, Meghan.
However, from an outside perspective, the nickname he gave Meghan might have indicated that they were not on the best of terms.
A source revealed that Charles calls Meghan “Tungsten” upon her marriage to Harry, the name of a metal known for its immense strength.
She, like the metal, is “tough and unbending”, according to the Prince of Wales.
The insider said: “Prince Charles admires Meghan for her strength and the backbone she gives Harry, who needs a tungsten-type figure in his life as he can be a bit of a softy.
Prince Charles had peculiar nicknames for both Meghan Markle and Mark Phillips
Charles reportedly calls his daughter-in-law Meghan ‘Tungsten’
“It’s become a term of endearment.”
Charles allegedly encouraged the Queen to allow the couple to have a church wedding even though the Duchess of Sussex is a divorcee, demonstrating how much he wanted to include Meghan in the royal fold.
He was then reportedly “floored” by the rebellious couple’s decision to leave the royal frontline last year, although their relationship is still thought to be on good terms.
It’s a sharp contrast to Charles’ relationship with Mark Phillips, Princess Anne’s first husband, who left life as a working royal behind when he got a divorce from the Queen’s daughter.
According to reports, relations between them were rocky from the start leading the Prince of Wales to start calling his brother-in-law “Fog” — a remarkably different name to his metallic nod to Meghan.
READ MORE: Prince Harry on same ‘forced path’ as Princess Anne’s ex Mark Phillips
Mark Phillips, Princess Anne’s first husband, was nicknamed ‘Fog’ by Charles
Royal correspondent Richard Kay explained: “The Royal Family itself were not terribly kind to Mark Phillips.
“It was said to me that Prince Charles christened his brother-in-law ‘Fog’ because he was dense and thick — not much going on.”
Speaking during Channel 5’s ‘The Royal Family: Affairs and Infidelities’, former royal butler Paul Burrell noted: “Andrew and Edward were young then and they used to have a joke.
“Let’s see how long it is before Foggy talks about a horse — and they would time him to the second.
“Royal life brings stresses and strains on those who marry into it.
“Mark Phillips was generally an ordinary boy [and] he couldn’t survive it.”
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Mark Phillips was reportedly called ‘Fog’ by the Royal Family
Charles is thought to have been particularly harsh towards his brother-in-law because he was away with the Royal Navy in the Caribbean when he heard his beloved younger sister was engaged.
Anne was a close confidante, and according to Charles’ biographer Howard Hodgson if she married, Charles feared he would no longer have “first call on her affection”.
However, biographer Nicholas Courtney claimed that the nickname Charles bestowed on Mark was unfair.
He explained: “Those who call him ‘Fog’ (wet and thick) and see him blundering on a television chat show should listen to him instructing his riding pupils before forming an opinion of him.
“At home, his former nickname of ‘Chief’ is more appropriate.”
Mr Courtney is referring to Mark’s background in the Armed Forces, where he served as a Captain until 1978.
Phillips and Anne remain on good terms decades after their divorce
He has been compared to Meghan’s husband Harry, as both men had to give up their military careers to focus on royal life — before renouncing it altogether some years later, and choosing new paths for themselves.
Like Meghan, Mark was also from an ordinary background and appeared to struggle with royal life after a few years behind Palace walls.
Anne and Mark divorced in 1992, signally the end of his life as a royal, and both remarried.
Royal divorce was relatively rare at the time, with only Princess Margaret being the only royal to have divorced since King Henry VIII, meaning the news of their split astonishing the public.
The former couple are still on good terms today and are often seen attending family events with their two adult children, Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips.
‘Princess Anne: A biography’ by Nicholas Courtney was published in 1986 by Weidenfeld and Nicolson and is available here.