Thanks to Netflix's The Crown, everyone is a bonafide expert when it comes to the British Royal Family. Whether it's their genealogy, their favorite drinks, the type of vacations they like to take, or all of their potential romantic partners, the drama has pretty much become fact.
Although the series was heavily researched, TV shows take great liberties when it comes to the construction of interesting narratives. So, a big question fans of the show have is: Did Prince Philip really cheat on Queen Elizabeth II?
This is just one point of curiosity folks will be delving into in the wake of his April 9, 2021 passing. At 99 years old, Philip had a storied life.
Did Prince Philip cheat on the Queen? It hasn't been confirmed.
It might seem sordid to pry into this question following his recent death, but many are curious.
Prince Philip is depicted in Season 2 of The Crown as a known Lothario, despite being married. While Queen Elizabeth II is off taking care of her royal duties, he's macking on other women. Whether it's while he's on a naval cruise with his buddies, or with the dancer Galina Ulanova, the showrunners wanted people to think that Philip was more than just friends with some of these women.
In reality, Philip did develop a reputation for being a "ladies man," which showrunners have alluded to on several occasions. Remember how he went absolutely bonkers at the chance to meet Jackie Onassis, the late John F. Kennedy's wife, when she visited Buckingham Palace?
Here's the thing, though: There's never been any documented proof of Prince Philip's reported infidelity. There were rumors that he had been romantically linked to a dancer by the name of Pat Kirkwood, a stage actress who had her legs described by drama critic Kenneth Tynan as "the eighth wonder of the world."
Sadly enough, the rumors about their affair were disastrous to Pat's reputation, as the Palace did not "quell" them, according to The Daily Beast. For years, the actress's work was defined by the gossip, but letters between the two that were discovered decades later, reportedly contained no language to suggest that they were anything more than friends.
"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," Philip reportedly said of the matter.
However, Pat apparently didn't find Philip's reticence so endearing, saying, "A lady is not normally expected to defend her honor. It is 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."
Writer Sarah Bradford, who penned Elizabeth II: Her Life in Our Times, has no doubt that Philip is a cheater. "The Duke of Edinburgh has had affairs ... full-blown affairs and more than one. He has affairs and the queen accepts it. I think she thinks that’s how men are. He's never been one for chasing actresses. His interest is quite different. The women he goes for are always younger than him, usually beautiful, and highly aristocratic," she once said of his rumored infidelity.
The Inside Buckingham Palace documentary that was released in 2016 pointed to the circumstances surrounding the basis of The Crown's second season: "Royal aids panicked as rumors grew about Philip having affairs. The affairs were denied and there was no evidence. But rumors persisted. Action was needed. In 1956 the queen was advised to let Philip go away on a long overseas tour which should keep him out of trouble."
Marie Claire also highlighted how many depicted situations pertaining to Philip's involvement with public sex scandals were actually entirely wrong. Like the Profumo Affair, a 1960's controversy that involved several prominent and wealthy men who would engage in intercourse with recruited prostitutes. There's no evidence to suggest Philip has ever been linked to the scandal or attended one of these notorious parties.
Then, there was his supposed involvement with the Parker divorce scandal, in which both he and his private secretary and close friend, Michael Parker, were implicated in adulterous activities. The basis of this implication was a series of letters that hinted at their sexual conquests outside of marriage in a group called the Thursday Club. However, there's nothing to suggest that the letters were real. Michael and his wife Eileen did divorce in 1958, but not because Philip was philandering in the Pacific.
There just doesn't seem to be any definitive evidence that Prince Philip ever cheated on Queen Elizabeth II.
Mike Parker, Philip's longtime private secretary stated, "Philip has been one hundred percent faithful to the queen. No ifs, no buts."
Philip himself once had a response to a female journalist who once asked him about the rumors, however.
"Good God, woman. Have you ever stopped to think that for years, I have never moved anywhere without a policeman accompanying me? So how the hell could I get away with anything like that?" he said, per The Independent.