Prince Philip’s letter discussing ‘nightmare’ after Diana’s death unveiled

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The Duke of Edinburgh, the longest-serving consort to a monarch in British history, passed away at the age of 99 on Friday morning. The Queen reportedly said that the death of her beloved husband “left a huge void in her life”. Her Majesty’s words were relayed by Prince Andrew, as he left a church service in Windsor on Sunday.

The monarch is understood to have taken huge comfort in the warm tributes that have flooded in from across the globe.

The Duke of York described the depth of his mother’s grief as he spoke of how she had been coping in recent days.

He said: “The Queen, as you would expect, is an incredibly stoic person.

“And she described his passing as a miracle.

“She’s contemplating, I think is the way that I would put it. She described it as having left a huge void in her life, but we, the family, the ones that are closer, are rallying around to make sure that we’re there to support her.

“And I know that there is a huge amount of support, not just for her but for everybody as we go through this enormous change.”

It is not the first time the Royal Family has had to deal with loss.

When Princess Diana’s death was announced over 20 years ago, a tidal wave of emotion also swept over Britain.

Mourners arrived in London in their thousands, leaving a mountain of floral tributes at the gates of the royal palaces and openly weeping in a rare collective moment of national grieving.

But as crowds thronged the Mall, threatening to storm the palace if the Queen failed to fly the flag at half-mast, little has ever really been known about what was going on behind the closed castle doors of Balmoral.

A letter written by the Duke of Edinburgh does, however, offer a little insight into the frustration the Royal Family felt at the way they were portrayed in the “nightmare” days following Diana’s death.

The short note to his niece, Princess Margarita of Baden, was written five days after the fatal car crash on August 31, 1997.

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Hand-signed “With much love, Philip”, the letter was typed up at Balmoral and was reportedly written on behalf of both himself and the Queen.

They helped Prince Charles to comfort sons William and Harry at the castle after breaking the news that their mother had died.

In the letter Philip says the week was a “nightmare” for the Royal Family.

He reveals his sadness at perceptions the royals were not publicly mourning, saying Diana’s death was already distressing enough.

Part of Philip’s letter, written on September 5, reads: “We have even been criticised for ‘forcing’ the boys to go to church on Sunday, the day of the accident.”

Criticism of the Queen centred on her failure to speak publicly or fly the flag at half-mast over Buckingham Palace.

The letter, from a private royal memorabilia collection, went for £2,300 at Colchester, Essex, in 2016.

A dealer who bought it for a client felt it was “historically significant”.

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2008 book “Tony’s Ten Years: Memoirs of the Blair Administration” by Sky’s political editor Adam Boulton also offers insight into the aftermath of Diana’s death.

The Duke of Edinburgh was vehemently against the idea of Princes William and Harry walking behind Diana’s coffin.

Mr Bolton recalled how an anguished Duke of Edinburgh, backed by the Queen, said “f*** off” to Government spin doctors when told about the plan.

He wrote: “The events of that week in September 1997 were very sad, but as the spinners from Downing Street came to Buckingham Palace and started to kick around what roles Harry and William should play in the funeral, the Queen had relished the moment when Philip had bellowed over the speakerphone from Balmoral: ‘F*** off’.

“‘We are talking about two boys who have lost their mother’.

“Once the arrangements had been sorted out Blair read the lesson very melodramatically that day in the Abbey.

“Blair had been helpful reading the public mood when Diana had died but he was also presumptuous.”

The call was reportedly witnessed by Anji Hunter, who worked for Mr Blair.

In 2017 Channel 5 documentary on Diana’s funeral, “7 Days”, Ms Hunter said how surprised she was to hear Prince Philip’s emotion.

She said: “I can remember – it sends a tingle up my back.

“We were all talking about how William and Harry should be involved and suddenly came Prince Philip’s voice.

“We hadn’t heard from him before, but he was really anguished.”

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