- Prince Philip’s cousin says he “was a Greek god” in his youth who “showed off like mad.”
- Lady Pamela Hicks said every girl in England was in love with Philip in his youth.
- But she said British courtiers were “horrified” he married the Queen as he was seen as penniless.
Prince Philip’s cousin said she wasn’t surprised the Queen was taken by him when they first met as teenagers because he looked like a “Greek god” and had girls across the nation falling in love with him, The Independent reported.
Lady Pamela Hicks, the late Duke of Edinburgh’s cousin who went on to become a lady-in-waiting and bridesmaid to the Queen, discussed the relationship between the pair during a virtual event hosted in honor of the Queen’s 70th anniversary on the throne alongside her daughter India Hicks on Friday. The occasion was titled “70 Years of Duty and Friendship.”
Introducing the topic, India, who is second cousin to Prince Charles and also his goddaughter, said to Pamela: “Your father, my grandfather, had already thought it might be quite a good thing. They met when she went to visit Dartmouth College at 13 and already then she was rather struck by Prince Philip.”
“Well, he was a Greek god,” Lady Pamela said, according to The Independent. “Of course, showing off like mad because he was told to look after the two princesses, and so he showed off like mad. Later, every girl in England was in love with him. He really was stunning.”
The pair initially met when they were children — the Queen was aged 8 and Philip was 13 — but reconnected a few years later during a royal visit to the Royal Naval College where he was training as a cadet, according to the BBC. From there, their relationship deepened over an exchange of letters back and forth.
An announcement about their engagement later came in 1947, shortly before the Queen’s 21st birthday, Insider previously reported. And although the pair’s relationship later proved solid, lasting 73 years until Philip’s death in April 2021, there were some skeptics within the British courts and high society at the beginning, Pamela said, especially from those concerned about Philip’s background and financial situation.
“They were horrified! Where was the upright Scottish or English nobleman or duke she should be marrying? Not carrying on with a penniless Greek prince,” Pamela said.
The Queen’s mentor, former prime minister Winston Churchill, was also against Philip taking on further duties later in the marriage, according to Pamela.
“Churchill really was very constructive and felt the penniless Greek prince should be kept in the background and the Queen was too young and inexperienced to have the strength to argue with him,” she said. “So it was a few years before she felt competent enough to say she wanted Philip to have a job and be employed.”
Philip wasn’t welcomed by courtiers for some years, Pamela said, but added that the Queen fought a “hard battle” for him.
Representatives for Buckingham Palace did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.