Saturday, August 21, 2010

I am so very tired of the innuendo

Let's get to the chase. It is very, very unlikely that Lady Brabourne has had an affair with the Duke of Edinburgh. He's going to be 90 next June. If anything untoward were going on, the Queen would have shut the barn door years ago. Lord and Lady Brabourne have been close friends of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh for some years now. Lord Brabourne's mother, the Countess Mountbatten of Burma, is the Duke of Edinburgh's first cousin. Lord Brabourne and the Prince of Wales have been close friends since childhood. The Duke of Edinburgh is one of Lord Brabourne's godparents, along with Sir Thomas Dugdale, MP, the Crown Princess of Sweden (Queen Louise), and Lady Pamela Mountbatten.

It was the then Lord and Lady Romsey who tried to caution Charles against marrying Diana because they had little in common. Charles did not agree, and Lord Romsey acknowledged that Charles was besotted with Diana at the time, and would not listen to what they had to say. Diana was not fond of the Romseys, although she was named as a godparent to the Romseys' second child, the Hon. Alexandra Knatchbull. (The Prince of Wales is godfather to the couple's son, Nicholas.)

This is not the first time that the British tabloids have aimed their innuendo-pens toward the Brabournes. In 1990, the Sun published on its front page a photo of the Prince of Wales comforting Lady Romsey. The photo implied that Charles and Penelope were, perhaps, having an affair. The Sun published a cropped version of the photograph, as Lord Romsey was right next to Charles and Penelope when the photograph was taken. The headline read "Charles hugs his old flame." Charles and the former Penelope Eastwood were never a couple.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph in May 1992, Lord and Lady Romsey talked about the loss of their younger daughter.

"We had our ups and downs separately," Lord Romsey said. Lady Romsey described her husband as the "pragmatic one." She added that "My faith was tried at one stage -- sorely --but it is stronger now. I accepted her death intellectually, but my heart didn't."

In the late 1990s, Lord Romsey was beset with financial concerns. In 1996, the Sun published the transcript of a taped conversation between a woman and the Duke of Edinburgh. The woman was Lady Romsey. The article claimed that Lady Romsey and the Duke of Edinburgh had "formed a close friendship." A courtier was quoted as saying: "The Duke is like a big cuddly father-figure to Penny. And they are in touch with each other, just as you would expect family members to be. They formed a particularly close relationship born out the tragedy of losing a loving daughter."

In fact, Penny has been friends with the Duke of Edinburgh since the Prince of Wales first brought her to Smith's Lawn to watch polo. At the time, Penelope Eastwood was dating Norton Knatchbull.

Why does the gutter press always have to look to the .. well, the gutter? The Brabournes are having marital problems. This is not a surprise, but it is wrong to suggest that Lady Brabourne is having an affair with the Queen's husband. In February 2004, Lord and Lady Brabourne accompanied the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, where they saw the Cole Porter musical, Anything Goes. The British sovereign, her husband, and the then Romseys sat in the second row of the Dress Circle. Last May, Lady Brabourne, and her daughter joined the Queen and Prince Philip, and other members of the Royal family at Windsor.

Lady Brabourne and Prince Philip share an interest in carriage driving. He arranged for Penny to receive lessons at Windsor Castle. Penny was also instrumental in mediating the difficult relationship between Charles and his father. Penny is family, plain and simple. The Brabournes have often spent weekends at Windsor or at Highgrove. Their two children, Nicholas and Alexandra, were playmates of William and Harry. Nicholas and William were at Eton together. Tragically, Nicholas got into drugs only six weeks after arriving at Edinburgh University. Several attempts at rehabilitation have not brought Nicholas back to reality.

Lady Brabourne has also acted as a confidante to the Prince of Wales.

In 1941, Chips Channon noted that Prince Philip of Greece was likely to become the then Princess Elizabeth's husband. In hindsight, the comment should not have shocked anyone. Young Prince Philip's guardian was his maternal uncle, the Marquess of Milford Haven, not his younger brother Lord Louis. Philip's grandmother, Victoria, lived at Kensington Palace. Lord Louis' daughters, Patricia and Pamela, were childhood playmates of Queen Elizabeth. Princess Elizabeth's intimate circle also included Georgina and Marilyn Werhner, the two daughters of Sir Harold and Lady Zia Wernher, whose sister, Nada, was married to the Marquess of Milford Haven. Their son, Alex, was Prince Philip's best friend. Alex, the heir to the Wernher baronetcy, was killed in the second world war. Philip was never an interloper in Elizabeth's circle. He became a member of it because they share friends and relatives.

Some years ago, a British writer tried to infer that the Duke of Edinburgh was having an affair with Princess Alexandra, whose mother, Marina, Duchess of Kent, was the Duke's first cousin. The Queen has always been fond of her cousin, Alexandra, who, along with her husband, were often included in private family weekends.

Family. I stress the word FAMILY!! The Duke of Edinburgh feels comfortable with Lady Brabourne because they are confidants, they have common interests, and they are family.

The photo was taken by me in June 1991 - part of the balcony scene after the Trooping the Colour. The little girl in the red hat is Leonora Knatchbull, who died at the age of 5 on October 22, 1991. It may not be copied or reproduced without my permission.


Kalnel said...

I happen to be reading Tim Knatchbull's book, "From a Clear Blue Sky," right now, and I have to say that your observation about the royals being "family" is absolutely consistent with everything he reports. He describes a caring, extended family, not a hotbed of intrigue where a beloved older relative is likely to carry on with his much younger cousin's wife.

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

Tim makes it clear that the Queen and Prince Philip were very caring and very supportive of the family after the assassination - and the family continues to be close.

Marco said...

I know nothing about the inter family relationships. What I do know is that The Mountbatten family have assisted hundreds, if not thousand of abandoned and abused children and without them I would not be here to write this.