A member of the Danish-German house of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderbourg-Glücksburg, Prince Philip was born into the royal family of Greece, but his family went into exile when he was one and a half years old. He is the longest-serving prince consort in the UK and the longest-married spouse to a reigning British monarch. Moreover, Queen Elizabeth II herself has more than once testified to the support and loyalty he has always shown in the performance of his duties.
Prince of Greece and Denmark until his marriage, he was the fifth child and only son of Prince Andrew of Greece and Princess Alice of Battenberg, the grand-son of the King of Greece George I st and a first cousin of kings George II and Paul I st. He is also a grandnephew of the last Tsarina Alexandra Fyodorovna Romanova and Princess Irene of Prussia, sister-in-law of German Emperor Wilhelm II. Through his mother Alice of Battenberg, Philip Mountbatten is also the Queen’s great-great-grandson Victoria from United Kingdom.
Prince Philippe of Greece and Denmark was born on June 10, 1921 at the palace of Mon Repos, on the island of Corfu in Greece. He is the only son and fifth child of Prince André of Greece and Princess Alice of Battenberg 1, after his four older sisters, Princesses Marguerite, Théodora, Cécile and Sophie. As a member of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg, herself a branch of the house of Oldenburg, and in his capacity descendant in the male line of the King of Greece George I st and the King of Denmark Christian IX, he is both Prince of Greece and Prince of Denmark. At birth, he was part of the order of succession to the throne of these two kingdoms. However, in 1953, the Succession Act removed the rights of succession to the Danish throne from its family branch.
Three months after Philippe’s birth, his maternal grandfather, Louis Mountbatten (born Louis de Battenberg), Marquis of Milford Haven, died. Louis was a British citizen by naturalization who, after a career in the Royal Navy, renounced his German titles and adopted the surname Mountbatten – an Anglicized version of Battenberg – during World War I, due to anti-German sentiment UK. After traveling to London for the latter’s memorial, Philippe and his mother returned to Greece, where Prince André had stayed to command a division of the army involved in the Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922).
Education in France
Until 1930, Philip spent his childhood in France, where his parents lived alongside Princess Marie Bonaparte and her husband, Georges of Greece. In 1927 5, Philip began his education in Paris at a private American school, known as The Elms where he was a student – boarder because of the modest way of life of his parents. The establishment, where sports such as baseball and football are played, is run by Donald MacJannet, who describes Philip as“A robust, noisy boy… but always remarkably polite.
In September 1933, Philip is sent to Schule Schloss Salem in Germany, which has “the advantage of saving tuition fees” as the school is owned by the family of his brother-in-law, Berthold of Baden 13. Due to the rise of Nazism in Germany, the Jewish founder of Salem Kurt Hahn fled persecution and founded the Gordonstoun School in Scotland. After two terms in Salem, Philip moved in the fall of 1934 to Gordonstoun, whose educational program promoted self-control and physical exercise.
After leaving Gordonstoun in May 1939 Prince Philip joined the Royal Navy, where he distinguished himself the following year at Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth as the best cadet in his class of 17. He is appointed aspirant in January 1940 and spent four months on the battleship HMS Ramillies which provides protection for Australian Expeditionary Force convoys in the Indian Ocean, followed by shorter passages on ships Kent, Shropshire and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).
The young prince intended for a military career and joined the British Royal Navy in 1939 . The same year, it was at Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth where he studied, that he met Elizabeth of England, who had come to visit the establishment with her father, King George VI. Elisabeth, who was only 13 at the time, fell under the spell of the young man, five years her senior.
He was promoted lieutenant commander (corvette captain) in 1950, then commander (frigate captain) in 1952 and finally admiral in 1953. He is Honorary Colonel-in-Chief of six Canadian units: the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa, the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada, The Royal Canadian Army Cadets, the Royal Canadian Regiment, the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry (Wentworth Regiment) and the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada. He is Honorary President of the Association of Naval Officers of Canada and the Royal Canadian Regiment Association, and Honorary Commodore of the Royal Canadian Naval Sailing Association.
For several years, they will correspond then they formalize their relationship in July 1946 during their engagement. Philip Mountbatten (last name of his maternal grandparents) gave up his title of Prince of Greece and converted to Anglicanism. On November 20, 1947, the couple married at Westminster Abbey in London. On the occasion of his marriage, he received the title of Duke of Edinburgh. And their place of marriage, nowadays is one of the place you must see at least one time in your life.
Philip and Elisabeth get married at Westminster Abbey. The ceremony is recorded and broadcast by the BBC to 200 million people around the world. However, in post-war England it is not acceptable for German relations of the Duke of Edinburgh to be invited to marriage, including his three surviving sisters, all of whom married German princes, some of them from between them with Nazi connections. After their marriage, the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh took up residence at Clarence House. Their first two children born there: Prince Charles in 1948 and Princess Anne in 1950.
In 1952, at the time of the accession to the throne of Elizabeth of England, he put an end to his career in the navy, and became prince consort of the United Kingdom. Since then, he has accompanied the queen in her many obligations. At the same time, in the 1960s, passionate about ecology, he founded and chaired the World Wide Fund for Nature in the United Kingdom (WWF).
Accession to the throne of his wife
Upon his wife’s accession to the throne, the February 6, 1952, he becomes Prince of the United Kingdom and no longer has a surname. From that moment on, he was considered a prince consort, even though he had never received the title. He gave up his military career to become the Queen’s personal advisor. He was appointed in 1953, in an honorary capacity, Admiral of the Royal Navy, Marshal of the Royal Air Force and British Marshal. He is made Prince of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland by his wife theFebruary 22, 195738. The couple have four children:
●Charles, Prince of Wales, born onNovember 14, 1948;
●Anne, Princess Royal, born onAug 15, 1950;
●Andrew, Duke of York, born onFebruary 19, 1960;
●Edward, Earl of Wessex, born onMarch 10, 1964.
Duties and formal commitments
As prince consort, Philip assists his wife in her duties as sovereign by accompanying her to many dinners and ceremonies such as the opening of Parliament. In total, he has participated in more than 22 000 commitments to the Crown and given over 5,500 speeches.
In 1981, Prince Philip interceded with his son Charles to get him engaged or broken up with Lady Diana Spencer. Faced with his father’s injunctions, Charles had the banns published and then married Diana six months later. In 1992, the marital setbacks of Charles and Diana forced the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh to try to reconcile them, without success. Philip writes of his astonishment to Diana regarding Charles’ extramarital affair with Camilla Parker Bowles. The couple divorce despite the royal couple’s efforts.
Activities and sponsorship associations
A great polo lover, Philip created the January 25, 1955the Household Brigade Polo Club, which in 1969 became the Guards Polo Club. From 1964 to 1986, he was president of the International Equestrian Federation. Between 1960 and 1977, Prince Philip chaired the Zoological Society of London, which distinguished him as an honorary member in 1977.
From 1955 to 1957, Philip was president of the English Football Association and also served two terms at Marylebone Cricket Club. Between 1959 and 1965 he was president of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA).
He was the founder and first president of WWF-United Kingdom from 1961 to 1982, then president of the international World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) from 1981 to 1996. In this post, in 1995 he founded the Alliance of Religions and Conservation.
In October 1994, Prince Philip is the first member of the royal family to visit Israel. He takes part in a ceremony held at Yad Vashem in honor of his mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, recognized as ” Righteous Among the Nations ” for having hosted a Jewish family in his residence in Athens during the Nazi occupation of Greece.
Car accident in Sandringham
He was involved in a car accident on January 17, 2019, as he parked on a road near Sandringham Estate, where he saw a recluse. An official statement says he is not injured. The driver and a passenger of the other car are taken to hospital. Philip nevertheless makes the next morning as a precaution hospital. Having apologized, he voluntarily makes his license three weeks later the February 14th, the Crown Prosecution Service announces that prosecuting Philip would not be “in the public interest”. The Duke is nevertheless still authorized to drive in private areas.
Death, reactions and tributes
On April 9, 2021, Philip Mountbatten died at Windsor Castle at the age of 99 64, 65. The news was announced to the media at noon, in a statement issued by Palace which said: “It is with deep sadness that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of ‘Edinburgh. His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle ”. On the BBC , programs are interrupted, a black and white image of the prince is displayed, and the national anthem is played. The announcement of his death causes great emotion in the United Kingdom and around the world; many political figures pay tribute to him and the flags are half mast.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson declares that “the nation and the kingdom offer their thanks for the extraordinary life and work of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh”. In Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon says she is “saddened” and underlines “the deep and lasting ties” she had with Prince Philip. Arlene Foster, Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, recalls that “The prince was widely respected for active and devoted service to his country as well as for his unwavering support to Her Majesty the Queen during her reign”. David Cameron declares that Prince Philip is a “man who dedicated his life to his country”, and that “it has been an honor and a privilege to serve alongside the Duke of Edinburgh”, who “left an incredible legacy, and supported numerous associations and institutions with noble causes ”.
Five things you didn’t know about Prince Philip
He belonged to the European “gotha” of the Belle Epoque
Queen Victoria’s great-great-grandson, Philip Mountbatten, born Prince of Greece and Denmark, was in this, first cousin with Queen Elizabeth II. “ But he was ultimately more royal than the queen ”, indicates Philippe Delorme, historian and journalist, author of a biography devoted to Prince Philip: “Philippe of Edinburgh – A life in the service of His Majesty” (Tallandier). “He was the grandson of King George I of Greece, an ally of all the great families of Germany and a grand-nephew of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna ”. “ It therefore represented a completely normal choice of game for a future queen, ” he notes.
He lived the first years of his life in France
Prince Philip’s attachment to France does not come by chance. He spent the first years of his life in France, in particular in Saint-Cloud where the whole family went into exile when he was only two years old. He was welcomed there by Marie Bonaparte (Princess Bonaparte and psychoanalyst) and Georges of Greece. “ Thanks to the first ten years of his life in France, Philip keeps an almost perfect command of French. Moreover, the first official trip after his marriage to the queen, takes place in Paris. The royal couple then return very often to France, for the Landing ceremonies for example or privately in Norman hair studs, Philip being a very great team driver ”, describes Philippe Delorme.
His childhood was not always rosy
Philip of Greece certainly grew up among one of the noblest European families of his time. But this heritage did not prevent him from having a gloomy childhood. Tossed between two divorced parents, he has to deal with a dandy father who moves into a small apartment in Monte-Carlo and a schizophrenic motherregularly hospitalized. He was raised sometimes by his maternal grandmother, Victoria of Hesse-Darmstadt, sometimes by his uncle and guardian, George Mountbatten. This particular education will not prevent him from claiming a school path of excellence. At the age of 13, he entered the prestigious “Schule Schloss Salem”, founded by the pedagogue Kurt Hahn and Prince Max of Baden in 1920. This famous school which welcomes members of European royal families, relies on training strict, based on the development of the personality, the sense of duty, autonomy, sport… Values which will have been dear to the prince throughout his life.
He was not unanimous when he entered the royal family of England
The first meeting of the future spouses took place in 1934, at the wedding of Princess Marine of Greece and Denmark, and George, Duke of Kent, Elizabeth’s uncle. Other meetings will take place several times before the Second World War, which puts an end to their exchanges for several years. It was finally in the aftermath of the conflict, in 1946, that Philip asked for Elizabeth’s hand from his father George VI. At the time, the family reputation of the Mountbattens was not in good shape. Her older sisters each married German princes. A news that spreads oil after the war: “ Philip Mountbatten is then looked at with suspicion ”. “ He had to make an effort to convert”, To be adopted by both the royal family and the monarchy. He converted from the Greek Orthodox religion to Anglicanism and became a naturalized British subject by adopting the surname Mountbatten from his British maternal grandparents in 1947.
He is one of the last fighters of WWII
With his disappearance on April 9, he is also one of the last fighters of the Second World War who died. “ In 1938 he entered Dartmouth Naval School as a cadet to become a naval officer in the Royal Navy. He then went to fight in the Mediterranean and played a decisive role in the battle of Cape Matapan. Subsequently, he sails in convoys in the North Sea. In 1945, he was present in Tokyo Bay when Japan surrendered, on the British flagship. These various participations earned him a number of medals which subsequently enabled him to earn his British nationality at the cost of blood”.
Unseen photos of Prince Philip
Prince Philip in 1939
Prince Philip in 1947
Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II at their wedding in 1947
Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II
Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth with their children in 1951
Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II with Prince Charles
Prince Philip in 1953
Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II at his coronation in 1953
Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II with their children in 1979
Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II
The royal family, official photo of the christening of Prince William
Prince Philip and the Queen of England at Christmas
Prince William, Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth
Prince Philip with Princes Harry and William and Kate Middleton in 2014
Prince Philip surrounded by the royal family in 2017