Extraordinary claims about Prince Philip's extra-marital dalliances have surfaced yet again from royal insider Ingrid Seward.
The editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine – and one of the most prominent and respected writers on the British royal family – delves into the Duke of Edinburgh's affairs and the Queen's acceptance of them in an eye-opening piece for the Daily Mail.
While she doesn't directly accuse Philip, who is now 96 and retired from royal engagements, she alludes to the well-known fact that he "enjoyed the company of pretty women, preferably years younger than he is".
She claims that he happily glided around the dance floor with Penny Romsey, the wife of Lord Brabourne, and digs up past rumours of alleged affairs with actress Pat Kirkwood and Sarah Ferguson's mother Susan Barrantes among others.
Seward also highlights how royal author Sarah Bradford is adamant that the Duke strayed, quoting her saying: "The Duke of Edinburgh has had affairs — yes, full-blown affairs and more than one.
"Not with Pat Kirkwood or Merle Oberon or any of those people . . . All that was nonsense, complete nonsense. I don't think there was ever anything in any of that. But he has affairs. And the Queen accepts it. I think she thinks that's how men are.
"He's never been one for chasing actresses. His interest is quite different. The women he goes for are always younger than him, usually beautiful and highly aristocratic," she added.
Seward's article came just four days before the Queen and Prince Philip's 70<sup>th wedding anniversary, and has undoubtedly stirred the pot among other royal commentators.
Offering his insights about Philip's alleged affairs, royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams believes there is no proof that the Duke has been unfaithful to the Queen, but acknowledges the idea that he has been "attracted to beautiful and interesting younger women."
He told IBTimes UK: "One of the most persistent rumours about Prince Philip is that he has had affairs whilst being married to the Queen and these go back to the late 1940s. The list of candidates includes the actress Pat Kirkwood and the singer and night-club owner Hélène Cordet.
"They were given credence by the historian Sarah Bradford who stated this as a fact in her biography of the Queen though she named no names. When interviewed by Gyles Brandreth for his excellent biography, Philip and Elizabeth, she named the Duchess of Abercorn, known as Sacha.
"However, the Duchess told Brandreth that though her friendship with Philip was indeed close, it was based on a mutual fascination with ideas and it was not physical.
"Philip's carriage-driving companion Penny Romsey, the wife of Lord Brabourne, is another attractive woman whose company he enjoys with the approval of the Queen, who has attended competitions in which they have participated together. Brandreth writes of 'passionate friendships' with younger women which are unconsummated but which help keep him young.
"Here surely is the key to the avalanche of speculation, much of which has centred round Philip's membership of the all-male Thursday Club in Soho run by the photographer Baron Nahum who died in 1956 and there was an official denial of a rift in the royal marriage in 1957 after his four-month tour round the Commonwealth."
Fitzwilliams concluded: "He has obviously always been attracted to beautiful and interesting younger women but decades of debate on this subject have not revealed a single fact which proves he has been unfaithful to the Queen. However, it sells newspapers and the Duke knows he will never banish the gossip which surrounds him even though he points out that he is invariably accompanied by a detective which would make such activities extremely difficult."
Seward also notes in her article that Philip denied any rumours of illicit affairs due to having a policeman nearby at all times. He told a reporter in 1992: "Have you ever stopped to think that, for the past 40 years, I have never moved anywhere without a policeman accompanying me? So how the hell could I get away with anything like that?"
Another royal write, Phil Dampier, isn't convinced by Philip's response. He said: "There have always been rumours about Philip and affairs but very little hard evidence. I've never bought his reasoning that he couldn't be unfaithful because he always had a policeman nearby - that didn't stop Charles!
"A lot will probably be alleged after he's gone. Whatever the truth the Queen, as ever has probably been pragmatic about it," he added.