The Duke of Edinburgh, who is celebrating his 72 years of marriage to Queen Elisabeth II, has had unique ties with Countess Mountbatten since 1994...
When the bells of Westminter Abbey rang on November 20, 1947 to celebrate the marriage of Elizabeth II, Philip was already losing his lustre, his virility. He became 'the husband of.' The man in the shadows. He still dreamt of a military career, thought he had twenty years ahead of him to achieve it...
Alas, George VI died quickly in 1952 and Elisabeth ascended the throne of England. In front of cameras around the world, he knelt before her, swore to her to serve her until death. He now walked in her shadows could not give his children his name, merely had a ceremonial role. He took it badly. Very badly, even. Unsurprisingly, he felt castrated, thought he wasn't as well considered as the queen. In all of London, rumours ran about the Duke of Edinburgh's boozy lunches at the Thursday Club, of which he had been a member since 1946, in the presence of pretty young women, and of the vulgar joke contests which were given there every Thursday. Fables or reality? The prince was a charmer and loved the company of women.
He was thought to keep around thirty mistresses
Tall, handsome, funny, cultured… he was very popular. He was credited with many mistresses, thirty names even appeared in what was called the 'royal collection' including actresses Zsa Zsa Gabor and Shirley Maclaine. He was also surrounded by very tender friends including the very lithe and elegant Penelope Romsey known as Penny, Lady Brabourne, Countess of Mountbatten.
Since 1994, he had been teaching her his passion for harness racing. Thirty years his junior, she became his partner in equestrian competitions. Together, they laughed at the same jokes, had the same tastes, the same culture, the same passion for the great outdoors and nature. Thanks to her, from now on the duke continued to practice driving which allowed him to keep an astonishing physical shape even now at 99! They are said to be inseparable to such an extent that when one evokes within the palace, one evokes the 'Penny Romsey situation.'
Some seethed to see her join the royal family, not the duke...
For a long time, she was invited to the parties organized on weekends at Wood Farm on the royal estate of Sandringham in Norfolk and disappeared when the queen appears... However, the two women have known each other since 1975 and appreciate each other. One often sees in official ceremonies the silhouette of Penny behind the sovereign. Smiling. Elegant. She is described as 'a natural, cheerful, outgoing woman.' Commoner, graduate of London she is the daughter of Reginal Wray Eastwood, a butcher who made a fortune by founding the chain 'Angus Steakhouse,' her beauty and charm seduced Northon Knatchbull, son of Countess Patricia Mountbatten, cousin of the Duke of Edinburgh. Northon is also Prince Philip's godson and studied with Prince Charles.
For her wedding, Penelope even wore the Mountbatten family tiara. Some cringed to see her integrate the royal family, but not the duke... Penny now belongs to the inner circle of the Windsor. But always remains in the shadows. She devoted herself to her three children, Nicholas whose godfather is the prince of Wales, Alexandra whose godmother is the princess of Wales, and finally Leonora.
The Duke offered a sympathetic shoulder when her daughter died
Seemingly trouble-free, Lady Romsey's life turned into tragedy when the youngest of the clan was discovered to have leukemia. Despite the treatments, she disappeared in 1991, at just five years old. Penny crashed, her couple began pitching… The Duke of Edinburgh was very present during this ordeal and was trying to help this young woman smile again.
Her return to life would happen thanks to horses and driving competitions. She finds in this sport and alongside the prince a form of serenity. Their bonds are sincere and deep... As for the rest? The alleged infidelity of the prince, whose health is getting worse by the day, has caused much noise in the press, but no extra-marital relationship has been proven to date. As Dickie Arbiter, the Queen's former spokesperson and now royal columnist, points out:
Prince Philip has always liked to browse the shop, but he doesn't buy.'
A pleasant pastime that gives free rein to all fantasies. The secret of the prince's eternal youth, no doubt...