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Philip's hope for end to IRA violence after the murder of Mountbatten

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Letter: Prince Philip

Letter: Prince Philip

Letter: Prince Philip

Prince Philip hoped the reaction to the murder of his uncle Lord Mountbatten would lead the IRA to turn away from violence, a letter set to be auctioned has revealed.

Also set to be auctioned is a letter from former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the wake of the Brighton Bombing. She told a journalist that "evil must not prevail" after the bombing that killed five people and seriously injured 31 others.

In his letter the Duke of Edinburgh wrote that he hoped the reaction to the death of Lord Mountbatten would lead the IRA to renounce violence.

"Let us hope that the great wave of revulsion against this senseless act of terrorism may yet help to bring a change of heart in those who believe that violence and brutality are the only solutions to their problems," he wrote.

Lord Mountbatten was holidaying at his castle in Sligo on August 27, 1979 when he was murdered by the IRA.

A bomb exploded on a Shadow V boat he was fishing on. While he was pulled alive from the water by nearby fishermen, he died from his injuries before being brought to shore.

Also killed was his 14-year-old grandson Nicholas Knatchbull and Fermanagh schoolboy Paul Maxwell, who was working as a boat boy while on holiday with his parents.

The letter came to light as part of the collection of late actor Lionel Jeffries, who wrote to a number of senior royals following the murder of Lord Mountbatten to express his sympathy.

He received replies on behalf of the Queen, Queen Mother and Princess Margaret, which are also being auctioned.

Jeffries was best known for performing in films including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Railway Children. He passed away in 2010 and the letter is being auctioned by a relative.

All of the letters will be auctioned by Dominic Winter, of Cirencester, Gloucestershire, on May 28 and are expected to fetch a combined £650.

Belfast Telegraph