PRINCE PHILIP is now thought of as a “cantankerous old crust” but when he first joined the Royal family he was shockingly regarded as a “dangerous leftie”, a bombshell documentary reveals.
Philip and the Queen, who are distant cousins, first met when the young princess was just 13 years old. Elizabeth II was on a visit to Prince Philip’s naval college in Dartmouth in 1939 when, according to royal author Philip Dampier, it was love at first sight and they immediately started writing to each other The couple married on November 20, 1947 and Philip moved into Buckingham Palace.
However, the Duke of Edinburgh’s position of power in the Royal Navy meant he was used to being in charge and wanted some of the ways in which the Palace was run to change.
In the 2016 documentary “Prince Philip – A King Among Princes”, royal correspondent Robert Jobson claimed that when the Duke joined the Royal family in the 1950s, he was seen as “dangerous leftie”.
Mr Jobson said: “You have got just wonderful romance, this dashing naval officer marrying the girl next door who was everybody’s sweetheart and who was going to be our queen.
“It’s strange that now he’s cast as a cantankerous old crust and a right wing, et cetera, et cetera.
Author Gyles Brandreth added: “There were a lot of people in English society, and courtiers in particular, who weren’t sure who this man was.”
In 1951, former Prime Minister Harold Macmillan revealed how he thought the duke was going to be “a great deal of trouble”.
When King George VI died in February 1952, Mr Macmillan also referred to the “left-wing views” of the Duke of Edinburgh and his uncle.
He wrote: “Lord and Lady Mountbatten have done enough harm by their conduct in India to last a long time.
“I also feel sure they hope to exercise great power in Britain through the Duke.”
As Duke of Edinburgh stood for “radical change” in a very conservative household, he met opposition not only from the Government but his determination set him on a collision course with the older Windsor generation as well, led by his mother in law.
The Queen Mother had been a power behind the throne during King George VI’s reign and was reluctant to leave the Palace.
According to historian Christoper Wilson, she wanted “to be on the spot” and be able “to walk into her daughter’s room and just say ‘I think you should do it that way’”.
Mr Wilson added: “Queen mother knew how the monarchy should be run.
“Philip thought it was time for a change.”