When Princess Elizabeth married Philip Mountbatten in 1947, the Daily Mail asked people who knew the dashing groom to send in their memories of him.
Among the replies was one from Sandra Jacques. ‘As a young lieutenant stationed in Australia before his marriage, Philip often escorted me,’ wrote the then 25-year-old from Sydney.
‘On a date with Philip you could be sure of a man who noticed that different hairstyle or new dress.
Among the replies was one from Sandra Jacques. ‘As a young lieutenant stationed in Australia before his marriage, Philip often escorted me,’ wrote the then 25-year-old from Sydney (pictured)
When Princess Elizabeth married Philip Mountbatten (pictured) in 1947, the Daily Mail asked people who knew the dashing groom to send in their memories of him
‘He enjoyed mixing his own cocktails and pretty diabolical they were. Rum, gin, vodka – they all went into the mixture. I found him a good dancer, but he refused to take it seriously. He ignored waltzes and wouldn’t jitterbug. He was fun to be with.’
The Mail on Sunday can reveal that Ms Jacques was being rather coy. In fact, she and Philip enjoyed what one Australian socialite described as a ‘terrific love affair’ that ended only when the handsome naval officer was posted back to Britain, where his love for the future Queen blossomed.
Indeed, had fate – and officials at the Admiralty – not had other plans, the couple might even have married.
‘It always makes me chuckle that Mum could have been Mrs Mountbatten had Philip not gone on to marry the Queen,’ said Ms Jacques’ son, Dorset Campbell-Ross, when we tracked him down in Australia last week.
In London in 1950, she married Lieutenant Commander David Teare, who had also been stationed in Sydney during the early 1940s (pictured together)
‘Mum always had a thing for military men so it didn’t surprise me at all that she had been charmed by Philip.’
After serving with distinction in the Second World War, latterly as a First Lieutenant on the destroyer HMS Whelp, Philip arrived in Sydney in November 1945.
He was soon enjoying the local social scene, including the nightclubs Romano’s and Prince’s.
The eligible bachelor was linked at the time with both a socialite called Sue Other-Gee and his friend Georgina Kennard, who was claimed to have spent evenings with him at a Sydney boat shed.
But it was Ms Jacques with whom he was said to be most smitten.
A singer and model often given top billing in the city’s most fashionable nightspots, she was by then divorced from Peter Gibbes, a decorated Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) pilot and a close friend of Philip who, in 1954, would fly him and the Queen around Australia during their Royal tour.
Ms Jacques had also appeared in the 1939 film Seven Little Australians, about seven children living with their tyrannical father.
The brief but intense relationship between Philip and Ms Jacques ended in 1946 when he returned to the UK to become an instructor at HMS Royal Arthur, the Petty Officers’ School in Wiltshire, and began courting Elizabeth.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s coffin, covered with his Personal Standard, is carried on the purpose built Land Rover Defender followed by the Princess Royal, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of York, the Earl of Wessex, the Duke of Cambridge, Peter Phillips, the Duke of Sussex, the Earl of Snowdon and Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence
Prince Philip’s coffin is loaded onto the Land Rover during his funeral service at Windsor Castle this afternoon
Today saw a spectacular display of pageantry inside the Windsor Castle bailey – with the ceremony undimmed by Covid restrictions
Philip had met the then 13-year-old Princess at Dartmouth’s Britannia Royal Naval College in Devon in 1939 and they had corresponded during the war.
Ms Jacques, who died in 2004, aged 82, never discussed her romance with Philip and, according to Mr Campbell-Ross, intriguingly agreed to a request to sign the Official Secrets Act so she was unable to do so.
Like Philip, she too came to Britain. In London in 1950, she married Lieutenant Commander David Teare, who had also been stationed in Sydney during the early 1940s.
Lieut-Cmdr Teare then returned to duty in Malta while his wife – her singing and modelling career now over – opened a shop in London selling Scottish tartans and woollens sourced from Inverness.
Reporting on the party to mark its opening, the Sydney Morning Herald described how whisky and Scottish salmon was served with ‘peat fires burning in the grate’.
Massed military bands stood still as the Duke of Edinburgh’s coffin past by in a Land Rover that he had built himself
The couple settled in Weymouth where they had their son, named after the county in which they lived. After three years of marriage, however, the couple divorced.
‘Mum never felt comfortable in English high society and at military events. She didn’t want to be seen as a potato from the colonies,’ said Mr Campbell-Ross, 69, a musician based in Byron Bay, New South Wales.
She later married another RAAF man, Gordon Campbell-Ross, who died in the 1980s, at which point she returned to Australia where she married again, to another former RAAF man called Russell King.
‘Mum had four husbands over her life and they were all men in uniform,’ chuckled Mr Campbell-Ross. ‘She never spoke about Philip, but she always said that she felt that the men who pursued her when she was a model and singer in Sydney were more in love with the idea of her.
‘My friends and I often joke about what might have been had she stayed with Philip. It’s an amazing story but one that she never told anyone – not even her son.’