Prince Philip: An insight into the 'complicated' relationship between the Duke of Edinburgh and his son Prince Charles

As the country reflects on Prince Philip's life and his family mourns the loss of a husband, father and grandfather, many of the Duke of Edinburgh's passions continue through the remaining Royals.

In particular, through his eldest son, as the two men have a lot in common.

But like so many family relationships, this one, between Prince Charles and the Duke of Edinburgh, was complicated.

Prince Charles and his father, the Duke of Edinburgh.

Prince Charles' birth 72 years ago was a rare bright spot for a country suffering the aftermath of World War II. But from the start the new parents were having to deal with juggling Royal duties and raising a family.

Former Press Secretary to the Queen, Dickie Arbiter, said Elizabeth II and Prince Philip "were always good parents" but that Royal duties often had to come first.

He told ITV News: "They were always good parents, as much as they were allowed to be, but duty was expected of them.

"They were expected to be away representing the Queen, representing the UK so they did't lead the sort of lives that we lead when it comes to families - the work comes first," Mr Arbiter added.

The Duke of Edinburgh played games with their children as others relaxed.

When time allowed, the family would often get together during the summer months in Balmoral, Aberdeenshire, away from the public gaze where they could achieve a degree of normality.

The Queen often filmed videos of her family including when the Duke of Edinburgh played games with their children as others relaxed.

Prince Philip's cousin, Lady Butter, told ITV News in 2018: "They were wonderful with the children, I mean they played every game like every parent does. What I saw, he was always there.

"Their cousins came and the barbecues, it was such a normal, happy childhood there."

The Queen and the Duke watching their children Margaret and Charles playing outdoors.

Prince Philip wanted his son to follow in his footsteps so he enrolled Charles in the same boarding school where he had thrived as a teenager.

But Gordonstoun’s tough environment wasn’t so easy for Charles: his character was very different from the Duke’s.

Royal Biographer Penny Junor told ITV News: "Charles desperately, desperately wanted to please his father, desperately wanted to do the right thing and to get his admiration and his praise.

"And the Duke was a particular sort of man, he was an alpha-male, he wanted a son in his own image."

Royal biographer Penny Junor talks to ITV News about the Prince Charles and his father, the Duke of Edinburgh. Credit: ITV News

She added: "And Charles was just never that child, and there were many occasions, I am told, that his father did reduce Charles to tears.

"Their interests were very similar, they were both artists, they were both fascinated by wildlife, the Navy and young people.

"The Prince of Wales had his Prince’s Trust and the Duke of Edinburgh has his Duke of Edinburgh award scheme, they were so similar in some ways."

But Charles accepted the tough love at home and at school, suggesting both were character building.

In 1969, when Charles was asked how much influence his father had had on him, he said: "He lets one get on with what you want to do.

"He hasn’t said: ‘You will do this and that and that, necessarily’, he said now: ‘We think it might be an idea, what do you think?’ and in that sense it has been an influence, a sort of moderating influence, an influence of great wisdom."

And Philip’s influence went further as both men shared a love for the great outdoors and became accomplished at polo.

Like his father, Prince Charles qualified as a pilot and to the Duke’s delight, Charles joined the Navy, reaching the same rank as his father when he was made Commander of a Minesweeper in 1976.

But the pair were to fall out over Charles’ first marriage - where the signs were worrying from the start.

The Prince had been dating Diana for around six months and shortly before their engagement, the Duke wrote to Charles to urging him to either propose or end the relationship.

Ms Junor said: "He received it either as an ultimatum. He wanted to please his father and he wanted to do what he was told.

"He thought his father was telling him to marry Diana. His father was actually saying ‘make your mind up by having Diana on your arm or you are in danger of damaging her reputation, either let her go or ask her to marry you’."

The couple became committed parents to William and Harry but their relationship began to fray. As signs of strains start to show, the Duke tried to help.

He wrote to both Charles and Diana in an attempt to keep the family together but it did little good.

Mr Arbiter said: "When there are problems in a marriage, you tend to blame everybody else and you probably kick the traces of your parents because you’re in something you don’t want to be in anymore and it’s your parents fault and it’s a bit of a falling out."

At their low point the two men communicated through their private secretaries and it took the encouragement of his second wife to help draw Charles back towards his father.

"Camilla has helped him and has helped to bridge a gap," Ms Junor said, before adding: "Because she really knows how to get on with people, she knows about family."

As time passed, Charles’ emotional wounds began to heal and his relationship with Philip also showed signs of improvement.

Mr Arbiter continued: "He does adore his parents; he always has adored his parents and it was only in the latter years that they started getting closer.

“If you look at Charles in later life with the Duchess of Cornwall, he’s a completely different person."

Like so many family relationships, this one was complicated but as Charles begins a life without his father and he will remember a man who always wanted the best for his children.