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Queen and Duke of Edinburgh discuss Europe over lunch with German relatives

By Tony Jones

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh sat down to lunch with their German relatives yesterday - and one declared his country did not want Britain to leave the European Union.

Prince Donatus of Hesse, a distant family member of both Philip and the Queen, said his nation had taken "Die Queen", as she is known by ordinary people, to heart after thousands lined the streets of Frankfurt to welcome the royal couple.

Philip met three branches of his family - Battenberg, von Baden and Hesse - when he and the Queen enjoyed a lunch in the heart of the city.

Prince Donatus (48) shared a table with the Queen and Germany's President Joachim Gauck, and nearby was seated the Duke with other guests at the Romer - Frankfurt's historic city hall.

Asked about the significance of the monarch's visit to the Bergen-Belsen prisoner of war and concentration camps, he said: "It is very important, and it shows the importance of the British-German relationship - every day it has to be worked on.

"And, of course, we Germans want to see the British stay in the European Union."

Philip has close ties with German nobility as his four sisters married German princes before the Second World War.

Donatus's great uncle Prince Christoph of Hesse, who was married to Philip's sister Princess Sophie, was reportedly an SS officer and Luftwaffe pilot.

Philip's mother was Princess Alice, the eldest child of Prince Louis of Battenberg, who became a naturalised British subject in 1868 and during the First World War changed the family name to Mountbatten.

Prince Donatus, who was spotted sharing a joke with the Queen during the meal, said: "We had a good table and I know her of course as a relative and I see her once in a while.

"I was only able to talk to Prince Philip for a second, we weren't on the same table.

"I'm related to both the Queen and Prince Philip, because Prince Philip is a Battenburg.

"Mountbatten is Battenburg and Battenburg is coming from my family and I'm also related to the Queen through Queen Victoria - she's my great, great, great grandmother, something like that. Normally I meet the Queen in England at Windsor so it's lovely to see them here."

Whenever he saw the Queen he said was "astonished" at the enthusiasm and excitement she generated in the ordinary people around her.

Commenting on the thousands who had gathered in the old city centre of Frankfurt to catch a glimpse of the Queen, he said the monarch was "their Queen".

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