Princess Diana and Prince Philip’s Relationship in Photos

Princess Diana’s time in the British royal family had plenty of ups and downs. Like her marriage to Prince Charles and her relationship with Queen Elizabeth II, most of Diana’s relationships with others in the royal family changed so much over the years. And that includes the one with her father-in-law, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Keep reading to learn more about how the dynamic between the two and what things had been like between them in the final years of Diana’s life. 

Prince Philip encouraged Prince Charles to marry Princess Diana

Prince Philip stands next to Prince Charles and Princess Diana wave from the balcony of Buckingham Palace following their royal wedding
Prince Charles and Princess Diana with Prince Philip at their royal wedding | Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

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Diana officially became a royal when she and Charles tied the knot in July 1981 when she’d been all of 20 years old. But before their storybook royal wedding, Philip reportedly pushed for Charles to propose to Diana or break things off with her. Charles supposedly perceived the comments from his father as more of an order than a suggestion. Not long after the couple went public with their engagement. 

Diana had seemed to the royal family to be a good match for Charles, suitable to stand by his side as the future leader of the monarchy. So, the prince who had a reputation as a bachelor married the young woman from an aristocratic family.

Prince Philip wasn’t always happy with Princess Diana 

Being a person with postpartum depression after giving birth to Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Diana retreated from royal life for months. Per E!, Sally Bedell Smith wrote in her book, Diana in Search of Herself, that Philip didn’t take kindly to how the new mother had been behaving. When she arrived late to a royal event, a person remembered Philip “looking daggers” at Diana in the royal box. 

Prince Philip and Princess Diana on the Royal Yacht Britannia
Princess Diana and Prince Philip on the Royal Yacht Britannia | Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images

Overall, Philip and Diana kept any tension there might have been between them largely under wraps in public. They mingled at events and put on happy faces, putting any differences aside to represent the royal family. 

Here they are at a polo match looking to be in good spirits.

Princess Diana and Prince Philip watch a polo match, 1987
Princess Diana and Prince Philip | Eric BOUVET/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

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And here they are in Scotland.

Prince Philip and Princess Diana are greeted by Princess Diana's grandmother in Scotland
Prince Philip and Princess Diana in Scotland | Jayne Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images

Prince Charles and Princess Diana had a marriage counselor in Prince Philip

When their relationship had gotten particularly rocky, Philip tried to help his son and daughter-in-law with their marriage. Philip sat down with Charles to talk to him about the problems he and Diana were having in their marriage and the toll it had taken on the royal family.

According to The Sun, he reached out to Diana by writing her letters. In one particular message Philip supposedly wrote to her saying he wanted “to 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!”

Princess Diana and Prince Philip on Derby Day
Princess Diana and Prince Philip on Derby Day | Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

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Only then did the queen tell Charles and Diana to get a divorce. The couple officially split in 1996 after separating in 1992.

Princess Diana got sympathy from Prince Philip over Prince Charles’ affair

Reportedly, Philip had initially encouraged Charles to have an affair but the duke felt bad for Diana when he learned his son wanted to leave her for Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. 

Prince Philip and Princess Diana talk at a banquet for Queen Elizabeth II
Prince Philip and Princess Diana | John Stillwell – PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images

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“I cannot imagine anyone in their right mind leaving you for Camilla,” Philip supposedly wrote in a letter to Diana. “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. Such a prospect never even entered our heads.” 

At the time of Diana’s death in 1997, her relationship with Philip had come very far. According to The Telegraph, friends of both say “They had largely patched up their differences in the final years of her life, to such an extent that he was a figure she turned to” for advice.

Had Diana’s life not been cut short, Philip probably would’ve remained a trusted advisor.