The Crown season four features a happily married Queen and Prince Philip, but its earlier seasons touched on the unsubstantiated rumours that the Duke of Edinburgh was unfaithful in his marriage. Indeed, their relationship has been plagued with numerous claims Philip’s various female friends were romantically involved with him. Sacha, Duchess of Abercorn is a close female friend of the Duke of Edinburgh and has been a source of much speculation over the years.
Lady Abercorn, who died aged 72 two years ago, once said: “The Queen gives Philip a lot of leeway.
“Her father told her, ‘Remember he’s a sailor. They come in on the tide’.”
However, while Lady Abercorn admitted there was chemistry between them, she insisted she had never been intimate with him.
Lady Abercorn said: “I did not go to bed with him. He isn’t like that.”
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Sacha, Duchess of Abercorn, with her husband and children in 1980
This friend is not the only one with whom Philip was rumoured to have been overly close to.
Another friend with whom there were rumours about was Lady Penelope Brabourne, whose husband of 31 years, Lord Brabourne, left her for a Bahamian fashion designer in 2010.
Lady Brabourne, 67, has been Philip’s partner in carriage driving competitions since 1994.
She was also a regular guest at the weekend house parties he held at Wood Farm on the Sandringham Estate, but reportedly never stayed when the Queen was there.
Prince Philip in a car with his friend Lady Brabourne
Royal sources claimed she is the Prince’s confidante and shares his boisterous sense of humour.
The Queen has always been keen to show how relaxed she is about their friendship, making sure Lady Brabourne tops any palace party guest list.
Rumours of Philip having extramarital flings date back to the very early years of their marriage.
In October 1948, when the Queen was eight months pregnant with Prince Charles, Philips’s raucous night out with a friend resulted in headlines such as ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’.
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West End star Pat Kirkwood
Philip met West End star Pat Kirkwood, when he came into her dressing room with his friend, court photographer Baron Nahum, who was her boyfriend at the time.
The Duke reportedly drove Pat to a Mayfair restaurant in his sports car and then on to a nightclub where they danced all night.
Pat always denied rumours of an affair, but they refused to dissipate.
However, letters between her and Philip that came to light after her death in 2007 aged 86, appeared to vindicate the pair.
In the letters, they referred to the gossip as a “ridiculous rumour” spread by “evil-minded” people, indicating that the alleged affair never happened.
Rumours sprung up again in 1956 after Philip set sail on the royal yacht Brittanian with his friend Mike Parker and stayed away for several months.
American newspapers speculated that there was a rift between the royal couple and even claimed women were being smuggled aboard the royal yacht.
The Queen put out an official denial in a Palace statement that said: “It is quite untrue that there is a rift between the Queen and the Duke.”
She then flew to Portugal to meet him and, as a joke, wore a false moustache, because her husband had been photographed with a “full set” ‒ a moustache and beard ‒ during his trip.
The stunt was intended to show how relaxed she was about the circulating rumours.
Other women that has been feverish chatter about over the years include Hollywood actress Merle Oberon, who kept a signed photograph of Philip in a silver frame and entertained him at her estate in Mexico City.
Another alleged relationship was with belly dancer Patricia Kluge, as well as TV personality Katie Boyle.
However, none of these claims were ever substantiated.