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Entertainment: Philip's furious letter to Diana about Charles' 'silly' affair long before separation

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Private letters between Prince Philip and Diana, Princess of Wales have revealed how he truly felt about his son's affair. The Duke of Edinburgh wrote to the Princess months before her separation, which was announced on this day 30 years ago, offering his help and openly taking his daughter-in-law's side. He volunteered to be a "mediator" in the war between the Waleses, branding then-Prince Charles' behaviour with Camilla Parker-Bowles "silly".

Philip allegedly wrote to Diana on July 9, 1972, ensuring her that she had his support, saying: "I can only repeat what I've said before, if invited, I will always do my utmost to help you and Charles to the best of my ability. But I am quite ready to concede that I have no talent as a marriage counsellor."

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The Duke told the Princess of his and Queen Elizabeth II's disapproval of her and Charles' extramarital affairs, speaking candidly about the Prince's relationship with Camilla.

He wrote: "We do not approve of either of you having lovers. Charles was silly to risk everything with Camilla for a man in his position. We never dreamed he might feel like leaving you for her."

Philip continued: "I cannot imagine anyone in their right mind would leave you for Camilla. Such a prospect never even entered our heads."

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Charles and Camilla / Diana and Philip © Getty Images Charles and Camilla / Diana and Philip Charles And Diana In Seville © Getty Charles And Diana In Seville

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Signing the letter lovingly with "fondest love, Pa", the Prince expressed his sympathy and support for Diana, but also noted the Princess' part in the dissolution of the marriage.

He wrote: "Can you honestly look into your heart and say that Charles's relationship with Camilla had nothing to do with your behaviour towards him in your marriage?"

Patrick Jephson, the Princess of Wales' private secretary at the time, claimed Diana confided in him, saying the support of her in-laws meant a lot to her. He said: "Here at last was written proof that this was acknowledged, recognised, and there was sympathy for her."

The letters were written months before Charles and Diana announced their separation, and amid widespread speculation surrounding the state of the royal marriage.

Diana's letter to Philip © Palace Handout Diana's letter to Philip Diana's letter to Philip © Palace Handout Diana's letter to Philip

Moreover, 1992 saw a number of royal scandals, keeping the family in the public eye for the rest of the year - and the years that followed.

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In March, Prince Andrew and Sarah 'Fergie' Ferguson separated, and a couple of months later Fergie was the centre of what came to be known as the 'toe-sucking scandal'. Then, in April, Princess Anne announced that she would be divorcing Captain Mark Phillips.

And less than a month later, the first tell-all book focusing on Diana took Britain by storm; author Andrew Morton revealed the truth behind the Waleses' marriage, highlighting the Princess' unhappiness for the first time.

And later, intimate telephone conversations between Diana and close friend James Gilbey were leaked and published by The Sun. Nicknamed 'Squidgygate', the private phone calls saw Diana liken her situation to that of a character in EastEnders.

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Then, to mark the end of a year enveloped by scandal, Charles and Diana's separation was announced.

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On December 9, 1992, Prime Minister John Major announced the formal separation of the heir to the throne and his wife. He said the royal couple were separating "amicably," and had "no plans to divorce".

However, four years later, following years of further speculation, two bombshell interviews and a war of words between the Waleses, the couple divorced.

In August 1996, two months after the Queen urged the couple to divorce, the Prince and Princess reached a final agreement.

Diana Charles Trooping © Getty Diana Charles Trooping

In exchange for a generous settlement, and the right to retain her apartments at Kensington Palace and her title of Princess of Wales, Diana agreed to relinquish "Her Royal Highness" title and any future claims to the throne.

The following year, the People's Princess was finding her stride as a philanthropist, but on August 31, 1997, she was involved in a fatal car accident with her companion Dodi Fayed.

In 2005, Prince Charles married Camilla, making her the Duchess of Cornwall. This year, they became King Charles III and Queen Camilla, with the former Prince of Wales inheriting the throne following the death of his mother in September.

Next year, the pair will be crowned side-by-side in a coronation at Westminster Abbey.

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