ROYALS births have always been shrouded in secrecy.
At one stage witnesses had to be present at the birth of every Royal baby to verify its legitimacy.
This stemmed from the pregnancy of Queen Mary Beatrice (Mary of Modena), wife of King James II, and the birth of James Francis Edward in 1688 which was dubbed the ‘warming pan scandal’ and attended by no fewer than 42 witnesses.
Nowadays things have changed with only a select few, including The Queen’s gynaecologist Alan Farthing, the former fiancée of murdered Jill Dando, allowed at the birth.
Yet the secrecy continues, not least about the true parentage of more than one current Royal.
Don’t worry this isn’t yet another speculative Did he Didn’t he? piece about James Hewitt – there’s more than enough speculation about the origin of The Queen’s children to be going on with.
For, whilst the majority of the country probably still believes the fairy tale that Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip have enjoyed 71 years of unbridled wedded bliss, there is good reason to suggest the exact opposite.
Without doubt, both The Queen and Philip have been loyal to their position and status, carrying out numerous duties until Philip finally called it a day in August 2017. No criticism implied there for the less-than-grand old man is now 97 years old.
Yet their romantic life is much less clear after the birth of their first two children, Prince Charles and Princess Anne in 1948 and 1950 respectively.
The birth of Prince Andrew in February 1960 was the cause of much speculation in the swinging sixties with official explanations from the Palace being in predictably short supply.
There was concern in high places in the 1950s about the relationship between The Queen and Henry George Reginald Molyneux Herbert, Earl of Carnavon, known as Lord Porchester
Naturaly it’s not established fact they were lovers, but I’d ask you to use your imagination. Throughout the 50s and 60s Elizabeth and Porchester spent many, many hours together discussing racing.
They would frequently meet at Broadlands where Louis Mountbatten, no less, would be their host.
Here they would ride together, walk with the dogs and chat long into the night.
Mountbatten, who had an interesting sexual history himself, was so concerned how close Elizabeth was getting to this handsome young man he took the unprecedented step of sending a letter of warning: ‘I urge you to be more discreet with your relationship with Porchy’ or translated ‘what the public don’t know won’t hurt them, but be careful’.
She was able to spend more time with Porchester around 1959 because Prince Phillip had been ‘sent away’ for a while after Elizabeth suspected his own indiscretions.
Phillip’s new ‘cup of tea’ was a gentleman’s club down in old Soho attended by other ‘dignitaries’ including the lovely Kray brothers and a number of very attractive young ladies.
His backers contended that Phillip spent his long afternoons having a cup of PG Tips and discussing common interests but a whole series of women, including Zsa Zsa Gabor and Katie Boyle were moved to officially deny they had become sexually involved with him.
Cabinet papers released in 1990 referring to 1959 – the year Prince Andrew was conceived – report that the Royals were discussed on three occasions but the information concerned was deemed more than averagely sensitive.
Usually such matters are kept quiet for 30 years – but, on this occasion, one was embargoed for a further 20 and the other two tucked away until 2059, a cool 100 years!
The friendship or relationship between The Queen and her racing trainer continued until his death on a day when the focus of the world was elsewhere – September 11 2001.
In a remembrance day service for 9/11 victims, The Queen was uncharacteristically emotional stating: “Grief is the price we pay for love”. This was interpreted as referring to Lord Porchester.
And the parentage of Prince Edward, born in March 1964, is also doubtful.
It’s long been rumoured that Edward is not Philip’s either. Instead he may be the son of Patrick Plunket, 7th Baron Plunket.
The sociable bachelor was said to be one of the few non-royals who could speak to The Queen on equal terms.
The Queen’s biographer, Robert Lacey, reported that Plunket acted as Elizabeth’s personal shopper, visiting Mayfair and Piccadilly before Christmases and birthdays.
Lacey also writes that Plunket would arrange secret cinema trips and discreet lunches for the Queen and was her default dance partner at parties.
Plunket, the trustee of two major art collections, was credited for reviving The Queen’s interest in the arts.
And, as with Lord Porchester, it was The Queen’s reaction to Plunket’s death from cancer at the age of 51 in 1975 that revealed the depth of their relationship.
She unusually attended both his funeral at the Chapel Royal and his memorial service at the Guards’ Chapel. She even helped to write his Times obituary.
The Queen then had him buried in the Royal Burial Ground in Frogmore, the Royal Family’s private burial ground usually reserved for members of the family.
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