Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, Prince Philip, broke a long silence about his family link to the Nazis, Britain’s Daily Mail reported on Monday.
In a rare interview, the prince said his family found Hitler’s plans to bring Germany at the helm of European power were “attractive” and admitted they had “inhibitions about the Jews.”
The comments were published in a book called “Royals and the Reich,” which describes the German royalty’s acquiescence to the Nazis.
The book, written by American historian Jonathan Petropoulos, includes pictures never published before. One picture from 1937 shows Prince Philip aged 16 with relatives at his sister Cecile’s funeral in dressed in SS and Brownshirt uniforms. Lord Mountbatten, his uncle, is seen wearing a German Navy hat.
Another photograph shows his sister Sophia sitting opposite Hitler at the wedding of Hermann and Emmy Groening, the Daily Mail said.
'Trains ran on time'
The 84-year-old Philip told Petropoulos about his family’s sympathy to the Nazis: “There was a great improvement in things like trains running on time and building. There was a sense of hope after the depressing chaos of the Weimar Republic.
“I can understand people latching on to be something or somebody who appeared to be appealing to their patriotism and trying to get things going. You can understand how attractive it was.”
He added that there was ‘a lot of enthusiasm for the Nazis at the time, the economy was good, we were anti-Communist and who knew what was going to happen to the regime?’
Philip said that he was never ‘conscious of anybody in the family actually expressing anti-Semitic views,’ but acknowledged that that there were ‘inhibitions about the Jews’ and ‘jealousy of their success.’
Philip was born Prince of Greece and Denmark on Corfu in 1921, the youngest of five children and the only son of Prince Andrew of Greece and Princess Alice of Battenberg.
Three of his sisters – Sophie, Cecile, and Margarita – became members of the Nazi party. All his sisters married German princes. Sophie’s husband, Prince Christoph of Hesse, became the head of the secret intelligence service in Germany under Goering.
Philip fought for the Allies in WWII and married the young princess Elizabeth in 1947. She was crowned Queen of England in 1953.
Although his sisters and brothers-in-law are now dead, he keeps in touch with his German relatives.