Prince Philip – Duke of Edinburgh – with the stars

On occasions the Duke of Edinburgh rubbed shoulders with the Film Stars of the day – or maybe that should be the Film Stars rubbed shoulders with him

Here he is Above with American actress Rhonda Fleming

ABOVE – Not sure of the occasion but this photograph is taken at Pinewood Film Studios with a young lady suitable dressed serving a drink to Prince Philip – is that Lord Louis Mountbatten on the far left of the picture ?

ABOVE – Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh having a jolly time at a function – Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner to the Left of the picture – and I think that is Ginger Rogers on the right. No real idea who the lady in the centre is.

Anyway the Duke seems to be making them laugh.

A later photograph shows a very relaxed Roger Moore sharing one of his anecdotes with The Duke of Edinburgh – Cubby Broccoli seems amused by whatever has been said.

This is an occasion that Roger Moore would rake in his stride

In 1948, the Duke of Edinburgh, 27, was introduced to actress Pat Kirkwood in her dressing room at the Hippodrome Theatre in London.

That evening Philip drove Pat also 27, erratically to a Mayfair restaurant in his sports car — nearly causing an accident in the process – where the pair enjoyed dinner together at Les Ambassadeurs.

Afterwards they headed to a nightclub, where they stayed up until dawn dancing cheek-to-cheek.

Pat Kirkwood was later quoted as saying: “He was so full of life and energy. I suspect he felt trapped and rarely got a chance to be himself. I think I got off on the right foot because I made him laugh”

Philip and Pat are said to have enjoyed each other’s company a further six times – sparking alleged romance rumours.

But the time spent together soon turned sour when their friendship resulted in headlines worldwide such as “The Prince and the Showgirl”.

Pat Kirkwood always denied there was any affair, and even went as far to say their friendship “ruined her life” as the Palace refused to deny the rumours.

Her friends believe that her association with Philip is the reason she never received any official honours, despite 60 years of stardom.

Letters between her and Philip that came to light after her death in 2007, aged 86, referred to the gossip as a “ridiculous rumour” spread by “evil-minded” people, indicating an affair never happened.

  • Pat’s first husband was theatrical manager Jack Lister in 1940. The marriage broke down when Pat suffered a nervous breakdown and spent eight months in a New York sanatorium.
  • In 1952, she married Greek shipowner, Spiro “Sparky” de Spero Gabriele. He died two years later from a heart attack.
  • Actor, playwright and composer Hubert Gregg became her third husband in 1956. He wrote hit songs such as Maybe It’s Because I’m A Londoner. Their marriage ended 23 years later.
  • Pat met husband number four just two years later. Peter Knight, a retired lawyer and president of the Bradford & Bingley Building Society.

ABOVE – As I remember the very young Pat Kirkwood with George Formby in ‘Come On George’ one of his very best films

Another of the Duke of Edinburgh’s friends for a time was James Robertson Justice – I thought that he was a part of the ‘Thursday Club’ that met in London’s West End in the early fifties.

It has been claimed Philip was first introduced to the club by his good friend Baron Nahum, a society photographer, with the help of the actor James Robertson Justice and several others.

The Duke of Edinburgh at the ceremony where James Robertson Justice became Rector of Edinburgh University

The Duke of Edinburgh and James Robertson Justice on occasions went wildfowling together in the Wash close to Sandringham

Jack Mills a Holbeach Lincolnshire resident, had been told an amusing story concerning Prince Philip’s stay at The Bull Hotel in Long Sutton, from actor James Robertson Justice, who was a regular wildfowler in the area.

Prince Philip joined the actor during a morning shoot on the outmarsh in 1954.

Prince Philip had been ordered out The Bull Hotel in Long Sutton in the 1950s
Prince Philip had been ordered out The Bull Hotel in Long Sutton in the 1950s

Mr Mills, of Holbeach, said: “Arriving secretly the two of them laid out all their gear in the scullery before loading into the car.”

This created some problems for a staff member who had arrived early to clean.

Mr Mills said: “To her horror, she saw the clobber on the scullery floor and was unable to start work.

“She knew Justice well but had no idea who the other fellow was, and ordered them both to get out in no uncertain terms.”

She put them both in their place on this occasion

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