According to a recent book, Princess Diana said that the only thing Prince Charles “learned about love from the Queen and Prince Philip was shaking hands”
Ingrid Seward, a veteran royal biographer, writes in Prince Philip Revealed, which has been published by the Mail on Sunday, that Charles “couldn’t be tactile with his own wife” because of his upbringing. Diana informed Seward about her ex-husband’s tumultous upbringing with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.
“Diana reckoned that if Charles had been brought up in the normal fashion, he would have been better able to handle his and her emotions,” Seward wrote. Charles’ odd upbringing, Diana said, showed itself in his reluctance to express physical love, and he “couldn’t be tactile with his own wife.”
Seward adds, “Instead, she said, his feelings seemed to have been suffocated at birth.” “According to her, he never had any hands-on love from his parents. Only his nannies showed him affection but that, as Diana explained, was not the same as being kissed and cuddled by your parents, which Charles never was. When he met his parents, they didn’t embrace: they shook hands.”
Eileen Parker, the former wife of Mike Parker, one of Philip’s closest friends, said: “Philip tolerated Charles but he wasn’t a loving father.
“I think Charles was frightened of him. He became very quiet when Philip was around.”
Although it wasn’t uncommon for parents to be absent, Elizabeth and Philip were abnormally aloof for their period, according to Seward.
“Even when judged by the standards of the time, Philip and Elizabeth saw remarkably little of their offspring,” she writes.
Prince Philip’s technique of teaching Charles to swim, according to the book’s author, was to drag, or occasionally toss, him into the Buckingham Palace pool.
Philip was frequently apart from his family due to his responsibilities as a naval commander, and according to Seward, he was only home for two of Charles’s first eight birthday celebrations. She also mentioned a Christmas when Elizabeth and Charles spent the holiday season in Malta rather than at Sandringham House, where she had left Charles and Princess Anne.
Charles’ nanny once protested, citing her three-year-old charge’s “chestiness”
According to reports, Philip replied: “It’s ridiculous to make such a fuss of him. There’s nothing wrong with him.”
The Queen and Philip adopted a new approach to parenting with the birth of their third and fourth children, Andrew and Edward. Philip was less demanding of Andrew and Edward than he had been of Charles because he was older and less motivated to seek recompense for his disappointments.
Seward also talks of Charles’ response to Prince Harry standing down from his responsibilities as a senior member of the royal family and moving away in the book. She claims Charles was having a hard time with it and mistook it with Harry abandoning his responsibilities.