Prince Philip’s absence sparked trouble for monarchy: ‘You can see the disintegration’

Prince Philip: Royals' focus on Duke 'not trailer clips' says expert

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The Duke of Edinburgh, 99, has just had successful heart surgery to treat a pre-existing condition at cardiac specialist hospital St Bartholomew’s. Buckingham Palace said in a statement that he would remain in hospital for treatment, rest and recuperation for a number of days. Philip was transferred from King Edward VIII hospital on Monday and has spent a total of 16 nights in hospital now, his longest ever stay.

The Duke, who will be turning 100 in June, retired from royal duties in 2017 aged 96.

Since then, he has lived a quiet life at Wood Farm on the Sandringham estate until coronavirus hit last year, when he moved to Windsor Castle with the Queen.

Since his retirement, he has generally tried to stay out of any family drama and his absence has been identified as a key reason behind the rift that was growing.

Pod Save the Queen is hosted by Ann Gripper and features Daily Mirror royal editor Russell Myers.

Mr Myers explained that Philip’s absence has led to a “lack of discipline”, citing Meghan and Harry’s difficulties as well as the scandal around Prince Andrew and his disastrous BBC Newsnight interview.

He said: “Prince Philip is a fairly divisive character for some people.

“But, I think the overwhelming view of people in the know, and people in the household as well, is that there has been a lack of discipline, almost.

“Harry and Meghan seem to have lost their way a little bit.

“The fact that Andrew’s gone off on his own and ignored senior courtiers’ advice.

“I just don’t think this would have happened if Philip was around.”

These comments came in December 2019, around the last time Philip was in hospital, when he went in for a few days to treat a pre-existing condition.

He was discharged on Christmas Eve and driven up to Sandringham to spend the festivities with the family as usual.

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Other royal commentators have also claimed Philip’s retirement was a turning point in the Royal Family, paving the way for the turmoil that was to come.

Victoria Ward, writing for The Telegraph in November 2019 wrote: “Many royal watchers have noted that it was his father, as head of the family, who kept a firm grip on Palace business, ruling over the younger generations with an iron fist until he stepped back from public life.”

Royal biographer Christopher Wilson told the author that Philip had long been “the guiding hand, the disciplinarian” and that since his retirement there was no central command at Buckingham Palace.

He said: “You can see the disintegration.”

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Philip, while he always has an opinion on Palace business, has been taking more of a back seat and just passing his feedback onto the Queen, according to royal biographer Ingrid Seward.

He was not present for the Sandringham Summit last year, when Prince Harry hashed out his future plans with the Queen, Charles and William.

While Philip was reportedly “furious” with the Sussexes, he left the responsibility of the crunch talks to his wife, and was driven away just before everyone else arrived.

His retirement came at the same time the Queen lost another key adviser.

Her private secretary Sir Christopher Geidt was reportedly pushed out of the Palace in 2017, something which the editor of Royal Central, Charlie Proctor, called the Queen’s “biggest mistake of the last decade”.

He wrote: “When looking back at the Queen’s mistake however, there is one moment that stands above all else – the ousting of Lord Geidt from The Royal Household.

“He was known to be straight talking, often telling members of the Royal Family things they wouldn’t like to hear, but should listen to.

“One can’t help but wonder how much regret the Queen feels for not doing more to prevent the loss of Lord Geidt from her office.”

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