“But probably the longest and most meaningful was with Countess Mountbatten…
“The Queen accepted the friendship between the Duke and Penny, and … it just shows you how mature the Queen was that she invited her to the funeral.
“There were very small numbers and there she was. I think that shows a degree of respect.”
The Countess Mountbatten, previously Penny Knatchbull, is the wife to the Earl of Mountbatten, the grandson of Prince Philip’s uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten.
The Duke of Edinburgh was especially close to his uncle’s family due to the pivotal role the man played in his upbringing.
Following the Greek Revolution of 1922, an infant Prince Philip had to flee Greece with his whole family and experienced a rather nomadic life throughout his early years.
When the then-Prince Philip of Denmark and Greece arrived in the UK to attend school, his uncle took him under his wing.
The relationship resulted in a long-lasting bond between the Duke and Lord Mountbatten’s family, including with his granddaughter-in-law Penny.
The pair grew close during the 1990s, when the Duke of Edinburgh began teaching Penny how to carriage-ride.
The duo could often be spotted together on the grounds of Sandringham or attending the Royal Windsor Horse Show.
A royal insider recounted Penny had been “one of the most natural young women I have ever met, outgoing but not brash or flirty”.
Her Majesty and the Duke were also very supportive of the Earl and Countess when the couple’s five-year-old daughter Leonora died after a liver cancer diagnosis.
In honour of their daughter, the couple created the Leonora’s Children Cancer Fund in 1994 which later became The Edwina Mountbatten and Leonora Children’s Foundation following a merger with The Edwina Mountbatten Trust.
Source: EXPRESS CO UK