Soviet spy ‘copied risque pictures of a young Prince Philip partying with elite drinking club’

  • Images from the Thursday Club, of which  Duke of Edinburgh was a member
  • Regulars at the Soho haunt included  actors David Niven and Peter Ustinov
  • A programme on Russia’s REN TV describes  the photos as ‘scandalous’

By  Will Stewart

PUBLISHED: 17:50 EST, 12  October 2013 |  UPDATED: 18:02 EST, 12 October 2013

Private photographs of a young Prince Philip  were obtained by a Russian spy during the Cold War as part of a bid to discredit  the Royal family, a television documentary will claim this week.

The pictures, which remain potentially  embarrassing, allegedly show the antics of the Thursday Club, a drinking and  social set of which the Duke of Edinburgh was a member.

The club, whose regulars included actors  David Niven and Peter Ustinov, met weekly in Soho and was described in BBC  presenter Andrew Marr’s book The Diamond Queen as ‘a cheerfully louche group of  men, artists and actors, photographers and aristocrats’ which took the Prince  ‘to the edge of a gamey, and indeed seamy, set’.

'Antics': A young Prince Philip is supposedly captured in 'scandalous' images in Soho's Thursday Club 

‘Antics’: A young Prince Philip is supposedly captured  in ‘scandalous’ images in Soho’s Thursday Club

 

There were plans to reveal the photos in a Russian documentary on Wednesday but this has been retracted 

There were plans to reveal the photos in a Russian  documentary on Wednesday but this has been retracted

 

The programme on Russia’s REN TV says the  images are ‘scandalous’.

They were taken in the 1950s by the Duke’s  close friend and fellow club member, photographer Baron Nahum.

According to the programme, the legendary  Soviet spy Yevgeny Ivanov used a special camera to take copies of the photos  from an album in the possession of Stephen Ward, the high-society osteopath  central to the Profumo scandal, who was also associated with the club.

The Duke of Edinburgh, shown here in 1936, joined actors David Niven and Peter Ustinov in the exclusive club 

The Duke of Edinburgh, shown here in 1936, joined actors  David Niven and Peter Ustinov in the exclusive club

 

Author Gennady Sokolov, involved in the show on REN TV, said some of the images are 'certainly embarrassing' 

Author Gennady Sokolov, involved in the show on REN TV,  said some of the images are ‘certainly embarrassing’

 

Ivanov is believed to have sent them to his  spymasters in Moscow.

Despite a plan to reveal the pictures in  Wednesday’s documentary, called Operation Royal House, a source at REN TV  indicated yesterday that the photos would not now be shown.

Author Gennady Sokolov, who wrote a book used  in the making of the programme, said some of the pictures were ‘certainly  embarrassing’ and that Ivanov called them his ‘royal porno collection’.

Prince Philip is understood to be fully  dressed in the pictures which might be deemed risque rather than pornographic by  today’s standards.

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