The Queen and Philip are today celebrating their 73rd wedding anniversary. To mark the occasion, they have released an official photograph of the royal couple sitting on a sofa in Windsor Castle’s Oak Room opening a card from their great-grandchildren Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. As well as the adorable hand-made card from the three children, there are a pile of anniversary cards and letters on a nearby table.
The Queen and Philip, who married on November 20, 1947, are shielding together at Windsor Castle amid the coronavirus crisis.
While the Duke of Edinburgh has been a strong support to the Queen over the years, their marriage has unfortunately been plagued with rumours of alleged affairs.
The Queen mostly ignored them but her patience must have been tested by one notorious incident in October 1948.
She was eight months pregnant with Charles when headlines such as ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’ went around the world.
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Prince Philip and the Queen on their 73rd anniversary; Pat Kirkwood in 1946
Philip and the Queen on their honeymoon in 1947
The “showgirl” in question was actress Pat Kirkwood, 27, the West End’s biggest star at the time, whose legs were coined “the eighth wonder of the world”.
She reportedly met the prince, also 27, when he came drunkenly into her dressing room in the London Hippodrome with his friend ‒ her then-boyfriend ‒ Baron Nahum, the court photographer, in 1948.
Philip allegedly drove Pat to a Mayfair restaurant in his sports car, then on to a nightclub, where they allegedly stayed up until dawn dancing.
She later said: “I suspect he felt trapped and rarely got a chance to be himself.
Pat Kirkwood doing her exercises prior to her show Black Velvet
“I think I got off on the right foot because I made him laugh.”
Pat always denied rumours of an affair, but they refused to go away.
However, letters that came out after she died in 2007, aged 86, appear to vindicate Philip.
The letters between her and Philip referred to the “ridiculous rumours” spread by “evil-minded” people, indicating that the affair never happened.
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Pat Kirkwood always denied the affair
In 2012, the Telegraph reported that royal biographer and historian Michael Thornton had custody of the letters between Philip and Pat.
Mr Thornton claimed he wasn’t allowed, by the terms of Pat’s will, to show the letters to anyone “except the person who will be chosen as Philip’s official biographer after his death”.
He added that Pat was reportedly upset that Philip never released an official denial of the affair to protect her reputation.
She reportedly wrote to Philip: “If there had been some support from your direction, the matter would have been quashed years ago, instead of [my] having to battle a sea of sharks single-handed.”
Philip replied: “Short of starting libel proceedings, there is absolutely nothing to be done.
“Invasion of privacy, invention and false quotations are the bane of our existence.”
Pat reportedly went on to tell one journalist: “A lady is not normally expected to defend her honour. It is normally the gentleman who should do that.
“I would have had a happier and easier life if Prince Philip, instead of coming uninvited to my dressing room, had gone home to his pregnant wife on the night in question.”
Editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine Ingrid Seward investigated allegations of Philip’s affairs for her book ‘My Husband and I: The Inside Story of 70 years of Royal Marriage’.
She told Fox News: “In my research, I never got a conclusive answer.
“There’s so much gossip about Philip and his affairs, but all the women that deny it, that have been picked out of possibilities of having affairs ‒ well, most of them are dead now.
“And Philip himself obviously denies it.”