The Duke of Edinburgh joked with Diana, Princess of Wales, that he wasn't part of any plot to kill her in a car crash in the Alma Tunnel on August 31, 1997, according to a previously unpublished letter shown at the High Court.
The letter show the Duke in a new uncharacteristically warm light. He even quips lightheartedly that he would have to cut her brake cables, a joke he often repeated for comic effect while marching round the palace. The Princess replies that his letters really do show that he had a lovely sense of humour.
It had been alleged by Loopy Loo, a mystic friend of the Princess, that the Duke had been "unpleasant, nasty and insulting" to the Princess as her marriage disintegrated.
The letter from the Duke had made the Princess cry, according to her closest friend, Layla Toffington, because of its surprising warmth and tenderness. Ms Toffington said: "Of course, with the state she was in even a letter from Noel Edmonds would have made the silly little thing cry. But when we sat down, we realised that the Duke's silly joke about a plot was just his way of offering to help."
Ms Toffington told how her husband, Roderick Rodders, the former head of MI5, helped the Princess write a handwritten note which responded to a letter from the Duke. "Dearest Dukey," she wrote. "I was so pleased to receive your letter and particularly pleased to read that you are definitely not part of any plot to have me seen off in the Alma Tunnel on August 31, 1997, you silly old thing."