British historian Dr. Andrew Lownie accused the UK government of covering up details of an alleged affair involving the late Prince Philip.

He has reportedly spent three years and £460,000 in legal fees in his attempt to gain access to the complete archive left by the Duke of Edinburgh's uncle Lord Mountbatten and his wife, Edwina. He believes that concealed within the 30,000-page diary are details pertaining to the alleged affair.

However, he was left frustrated when the Mountbatten family sold the papers to Southampton University in 2011 for £2.8million. Then "99.8% of the archive, which consists of some 4,500 boxes," were eventually made available to the public as an "invaluable historic resource."

The university said that the unreleased pages "include personal data relating to living individuals." Lownie believes that the family and the government are hiding something because there were 100 key excerpts redacted in letters between Lord Mountbatten and Edwina. Southampton University has reportedly also mysteriously never requested for the letters, which remain locked away.

As to why this is, the historian and author, who wrote "The Mountbattens: The Lives and Loves of Dickie and Edwina Mountbatten" told the Mirror, "The only reason I can think of is that there is a reference to a lover of Prince Philip. The relationship between Lady Mountbatten and Nehru is well known."

Lord Mountbatten and his wife were known to have an open marriage. Edwina allegedly had many lovers including India's first prime minister Pandit Nehru.

Lownie is using freedom of information laws to gain legal access to the letters. He also has the backing of MPs and ex-Labour Foreign Secretary Lord Owen, who has written to demand that the historian be repaid for the money he spent.

However, the Cabinet Office and Southampton University have also appealed and Lownie believes the amount used to stop him has now reached four times the money he has spent. He believes that ministers and the government are trying their best to hide "sensitive" information that the government argued could damage relations between India and Pakistan (Lord Mountbatten oversaw India's independence in 1947.)

Lownie admitted that he finds it "hard to believe that references in a private diary 75 years ago would damage relations with other countries." The historian said that "members of the royal household have been in on meetings and copied in on correspondence about the case." But Buckingham Palace refused to meddle with a spokesperson saying that "this is a matter for the Cabinet Office." Prince Philip died on April 9, 2021 at the age of 99.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip
The then Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip were engaged in July 1947 Photo: AFP / -