Prince Philip had an emotional conversation with Prince Charles in the days leading up to his death, but remained impatient with his eldest son for most of his life. The father-son duo had contrasting personalities and had numerous differences over the years.
Royal expert Gyles Brandreth explains the complex relationship in a Mail Online article, and reveals what Prince Philip used to think about Charles. Brandreth says one such example of Philip's sentiments about the heir apparent was seen when he received a birthday present of three pairs of carriage-driving gloves.
"The first pair of gloves were a light tan colour. The duke sniffed approvingly. The second pair were dark tan. 'Thank you very much, he said. The third pair were a pale lilac colour. He held them up disdainfully between his thumb and forefinger and said: 'I think we'll give these to the Prince of Wales,'" Brandreth recalled.
The author writes that Philip's words did not come as a surprise back then, and by the late 80s he often gave an impression that he wished a sensitive Charles to be more robust.
There were also times when Philip regarded Charles as self-indulgent, self-regarding, and naïve, but what seemed more shocking was that he made little or no attempt to hide his disdain for his son from the public. Brandreth, however, also noticed similarities between the duo and told the Duke, who explained the one difference that keeps them apart.
"I mentioned their gait, their body language, the joshing humour, their moments of pigheadedness, their shared enthusiasms (nature conservancy, painting, poetry, comparative religion). You're clearly peas from the same pod, you're so similar," Brandreth told Philip, who interrupted him to say: "With one great difference."
"He's a romantic — and I'm a pragmatist. That means we do see things differently," Philip said, sarcastingly adding that he is "unfeeling" as he doesn't see "things as a romantic would."
Lady Kennard, who knew Prince Philip well, also told Brandreth that Philip is "at his worst with Charles," but noted that he could be "quite sarcastic" with his only daughter Princess Anne as well.
Charles himself hinted upon his differences with his father when he co-operated with the broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby on a television film and biography in the early 1990s. According to the biography, the Prince of Wales had been a profoundly unhappy child who felt "emotionally estranged" from both of his parents, and craved for their "affection and appreciation" which they were "unable or unwilling" to offer.
Prince Philip confessed to Brandreth about his son's complaints: "I tried to be a good father. We did our best."