PRINCE PHILIP, 97, has been married to Queen Elizabeth, 93, for tens of years but the Duke of Edinburgh was once a young man whose good looks drew the admiring glances of other women – on one occasion leading to a rather awkward interaction in Mexico.
Prince Philip, married to Queen Elizabeth II, is now a man of advancing years but was once well known his handsome looks in his youth. His attractive appearance and position in the Royal Family appealed to a number of women. On one occasion, when the Duke of Edinburgh was in Mexico, a flirtation led to an invitation which left the Prince red-faced. Philip was in Mexico City in 1968 at a dinner party thrown by glamorous actress Merle Oberon in the Duke’s honour.
The event was also attended by Jody Jacobs, formerly a reporter for Women’s Wear Daily and society editor of the Los Angeles Times, wrote Kitty Kelley in her 1997 book the Royals.
Jacobs observed Prince Philip throughout the event and spotted an interesting integration with Cristina Ford, who was married to Henry Ford (the grandson of the founder of the Ford Motor Company) at the time.
Kelly quotes Jacobs: “After dinner, when most of the other guests had left, I was part of a little group standing with the Prince near some French doors leading to the terrace and pool.
“There were other women, including Cristina Ford who was tan and tawny.
“This was the same Cristina Ford whose mad dancing at a White House dinner for Princess Margaret had made international news: Cristina, who was doing the twist, twisted herself right out of her white strapless gown. The top of her dress literally fell down.
“Now she was flirting madly with Prince Philip. They had danced a few times that evening.
“Suddenly she looked at him and said, ‘Why don’t we go to the pool and go swimming?
‘We [meaning the women]could leave our bras and little panties on.’
“Prince Philip blanched. ‘Uh, uh,’ he said. ‘I think it’s time for me to leave.’
“He smiled at Cristina and the rest of us. He was quickly surrounded by his group, which appeared from nowhere; he said good-bye to Merle and took off.”
According to Kelley: “The Duke of Edinburgh was far too discreet to indulge in anything beyond harmless flirting in public.”
Jacobs added: “I think in that setting, with a reporter listening in, he was being very discreet. Or maybe he just wasn’t attracted to Cristina.”
When Prince Philip first married the Queen the pair undertook a six-month tour of the commonwealth from November 1953 to May 1954, following the monarch’s coronation.
It was during this trip that his good looks attracted so much attention the Prince was shocked. Australians were so excited to spot the dashing Duke of Edinburgh in Sydney, some of them could hardly contain themselves,
“Some of the crowd of 1,200,000 burst through pic barriers, halting the royal car on eight separate occasions,” said Sarah Bradford said in her book Queen Elizabeth II: Her Life in our Times.
The attention towards the Duke of Edinburgh came from both men and woman who were all keen to touch the royal.
Ben Pimlott said in his book The Queen: “Men and women clutched Philip’s arm, tried to shake his hand, patted the royal shoulder and tossed confetti and flags int the car.”
Bradford added: “Later even Prince Philip was flustered by a crowd of teenagers wolf-whistling and screaming: ‘Isn’t he nice?… He’s beautiful.’”
According to reporter Gwen Robyns, who was part of the small press contingent accompanying the monarch on the 1953 tour, Philip “was truly marvellous” for his wife.
“She was so young and unsure of herself as Queen. Very, very self-conscious as a monarch. Painfully insecure. She did not know how to act or behave among so many people,” Kelley quotes Robyns.
“But [Philip] was smooth and easy, more sophisticated. He’d jolly her into good humour, and warm her up for the crowds. She’d put on a grumpy face most of the time because she was overwhelmed, but he’d coax a smile out of her.”
Prince Philip: Duke of Edinburgh’s shocking moment in Mexico with woman who WASN’T Queen