Prince Philip's cousin was `trouble-maker'

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The Independent Online
A COUSIN of Prince Philip and heir to the Greek throne was banished to India during the Second World War for being a trouble-maker. The Foreign Office feared that meddling by Prince Peter of Greece would wreck the resistance efforts of the Special Operations Executive.

A file on the issue was revealed for the first time yesterday at the Public Record Office in Kew, south-west London. Parts of the four-page report, written in 1943, remain blacked out because they are still considered sensitive.

The Prince, second in line to the Greek throne, had fled to Cairo with King George II and his brother, Crown Prince Paul, when Greece fell to the Germans in 1941. By 1943 Prince Peter was acting as a liaison officer with the British minister of state appointed to run occupied territory in the Middle East.

But there was concern over his activities. At the request of the War Cabinet a Foreign Office official in Cairo wrote the report. He said: "It is my considered opinion that Prince Peter is a disturbing element in the Middle East and that his transfer elsewhere would be in the interests of the Greek war effort. I have the general impression that he is a focus for intrigue by displaced or discomforted rightwingers who obviously know that he has direct access to the king.

"Apart from the trouble-making aspect of his character, Prince Peter lacks the solid qualities of the king and crown prince. He made an essentially foolish marriage."

It was a delicate issue forWinston Churchill, who had publicly pledged to restore the king - a relative of George VI - to his throne. Privately, SOE warned that most Greeks did not want him back and despised him for his pre-war appointment of a pro-fascist dictator. In 1943 the Greek resistance sent a delegation to Cairo to tell the British that they would not take orders from the king's government in exile.

At first, the British government hoped Prince Peter would move to the United States but eventually a place was found for him on an army training course in India.