Questions are being asked after a group portrait which marked the late Queen’s golden wedding anniversary was taken down after 25 years.
Queen Elizabeth II commissioned the distinguished artist Andrew Festing to celebrate 50 years of her marriage to Prince Philip in 1997.
Festing painted the royal couple and their guests at their golden wedding anniversary party at Windsor Castle.
So pleased was Her Majesty with the group portrait that she put it on display in the saloon at Sandringham, where the Royal Family like to spend their evenings at the Norfolk retreat.
Now, however, King Charles has reportedly had the painting taken down.
The Golden Wedding Anniversary of Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, Windsor Castle, 20 Nov 1997 (by Andrew Festing)
King Charles reportedly dislikes the painting of the celebration, just a few months after his former wife Princess Diana’s death, in which he stands solemnly holding a glass
He didnt like it, a source said. It was an unwelcome reminder of one of the worst years of his life.
The portrait depicts the party held in 1997, less than three months after Princess Diana was killed in a car crash.
It shows a glum-faced Charles, standing alone with a drink in hand, at the gathering of senior royals and foreign monarchs.
Buckingham Palace declined to comment, but a royal source added: From time to time, displays on the visitor route at Sandringham are adapted.
Known for his no-nonsense approach, Prince Philip was the longest-serving consort in British history and also the oldest serving partner of a reigning monarch.
Marking an end to anextraordinary lifetime’s service, he carried out more than 22,000 solo engagements during his career and gave over 5,000 speeches.
Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, as he then was, pictured at the town hall in Clydebank to receive the town’s wedding present – an electric sewing machine – in 1947
Queen Elizabeth II, as Princess Elizabeth, and her husband the Duke of Edinburgh, styled Prince Philip in 1947, on their wedding day. She acceded to the throne less than five years later
Known for his no-nonsense approach, Philip was the longest-serving consort in British history
But there were also the many thousands of other duties he has carried out behind the scenes since 1947.
Even at the age of 95Philip put the younger generation of royals to shame and undertook 219 official engagements in the UK in 2016, which was more than Prince William, Kate Middleton and Prince Harry put together.
After actively serving in World War II, he ended a promising naval career in 1951, and began focusing on royal duties with Elizabeth’s accession in 1952.
Prince Philip thus became defined by his relationship to Elizabeth as the husband of one of the most influential women in the world and gave up his wishes to support his wife in her royal role.
With Elizabeth at centre stage, Philip admirably stood one step behind, offering a helping hand whenever he was needed.
In June 2011, when the Duke of Edinburgh turned 90, he insisted on no fuss, but theQueen bestowed on him a new title – Lord High Admiral, titular head of the Royal Navy.
For a man who had given up his career and devoted himself to the Monarchy, it was a touching and honourable tribute.
Philip’s first ever private secretary Michael Parker, a friend from the Navy, once revealed: ‘He told me the first day he offered me my job that his job, first, second and last was never to let her down.’
Philip stood one step behind his wife throughout his career
The Queen described him as her ‘strength and stay’ in a rare personal tributein 1997. Pictured:Queen Elizabeth II escorted by her husband from the House of Lords, after the State Opening of Parliament in November 2003
In private, he was head of the family. To the public, he was the irascible figure who occasionally drew controversial headlines for speaking his mind despite the consequences – famed for his outrageous gaffes.
But to his wife, Queen Elizabeth, he was her rock. The Queen described him as her ‘strength and stay’ in a heartwarming rare personal tribute during a speech to mark their 50th wedding anniversary in 1997.
Recalling the pair’s five decades serving the country together, she said:’I have done my best, with Prince Philip’s constant love and help.
‘He is someone who doesn’t take easily to compliments but he has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know.’
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip pictured re-visit Broadlands to mark their Diamond Wedding Anniversary on November 20 in 2007
A view of Prince Philip’s retirement cottage, Wood Farm, on the Sandringham estate
Prince Philip heading out on his horse-drawn carriage on a cold Spring Morning
Upon his retirement, Philip found relaxation at Wood Farm, a cottage in a corner of the Queen’s Sandringham Estate in the Norfolk countryside as he took a well-deserved break.
According to The Daily Mail, Philip ‘loved’ his time there, as he spent his time reading, painting watercolours, writing letters and having friends to stay.
Wood Farm was the perfect balance for the late Duke after he stepped away from formal royal duties, as at the cottage provided him solace, but he could still be near the Queen and be present with royal life.