HRH Prince Philip

Duke of Edinburgh

Born a Prince of Greece and Denmark, the beloved husband of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom was the longest-serving royal consort in British history.

His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was Britain’s longest-serving consort, who sacrificed a naval career to give steadfast support to his wife, Queen Elizabeth II. In 2020, Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II celebrated their 73 years of marriage. Through tragedy and triumph they have been by one another’s side, dedicated to each other and the United Kingdom..

In most of his appearances, Prince Philip accompanied Queen Elizabeth. However, he made more than 22,000 on his own to give speeches and support various facets of the British Commonwealth, including nearly 800 charities that he became affiliated with over the years.

On the morning of Friday 9 April, 2021, His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh aged 99, died peacefully at Windsor Castle. Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II was with him when he passed away.

Name:   Philip,  Prince Philip,
Born:   10 June 1921
Star Sign: Pisces
Died:   9 April 2021
Birthplace: Mon Repos, Corfu
Country: Greece
DetailsOther Names
Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich, Prince of Greece and Denmark, Duke of Edinburgh,
Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark
Princess Alice of Battenberg
Princess Elizabeth, the eldest daughter of Britain’s King George VI on November 1947.
Charles, Prince of Wales; Anne, Princess Royal; Prince Andrew, Duke of York; Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex

Childhood and Family
Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh was born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark on June 10, 1921, on the Greek island of Corfu. He was the youngest and only son of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg, who welcomed their son on the kitchen table in the family villa, Mon Repos. Philip's and his four elder sisters - Margarita, Theodora, Cecilie, and Sophie, ancestry was a mix of Greece, Denmark and Prussia on their father’s side. His maternal grandmother, Princess Victoria of Hesse, was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, making him and Queen Elizabeth II third cousins.

King Constantine I of Greece was Philip's uncle and was blamed for the defeat in Greco-Turkish War of 1919–1922 so was forced to abdicate the Greek throne. Philip's father, Prince Andrew, a Lieutenant-General was accused of high treason for disobeying orders and was banished from Greece for life. On December 4, 1922, Prince Andrew and his family, were ignominiously evacuated on a British naval vessel to Italy. The infant Philip was carried to safety in a makeshift orange fruit box.

In Paris, the family settled in the suburb of St Cloud as refugees, living on handouts from relatives. The stress took a toll on Princess Alice and she turned even further to her devout religious beliefs. In 1930, she was diagnosed with schizophrenia and was forced against her will into a mental asylum. Philip aged 6-years old was attending The Elms, an American school. Philip's father later took up residence in Monte Carlo with his mistress. His four sisters married German princes and dukes and moved to Germany. In 1937, Philip and his mother were to reunite at his sister Cécilie's funeral who had died in a plane crash.

Early Years as a Youngster
During World War I, members of the Battenberg family residing in the United Kingdom adopting the name “Mountbatten” (a translation of “Battenberg” from German). In 1930, Philip who was eight was abruptly separated from his parents and sisters. and was sent to the United Kingdom to live with his maternal grandmother, Victoria Mountbatten and uncle George Mountbatten. For three years, he attended Cheam School in Surrey. In 1933, Philip was sent to Schule Schloss Salem in Germany, run by educational pioneer Kurt Hahn.

In 1934, Philip aged 13 moved back to the United Kingdom. He was sent to Gordonstoun, a private school in Scotland founded by Kurt Hahn who was forced to flee Nazi persecution. Dr Hahn was one of the founders of the Outward Bound movement, and his ideals were a significant influence on the young Philip Mountbatten (as he was known). At Gordonstoun. Philip thrived. He loved sports, taking part in sailing, captaining the hockey and cricket teams and in his last term was head boy.

After Philip left Gordonstoun, he joined the Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth as a cadet. He excelled and was singled out as best cadet. As Philip and Princess Elizabeth were both great-great-grandchildren of Queen Victoria, they first met in 1934 at a family wedding and again in 1937 at King George VI coronation. But it wasn’t until King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and their daughters visited Dartmouth in 1939 that 13 year-old Princess Elizabeth and Philip made an impression on one another. Philip, who was five years her senior, was given the task of entertaining the two princesses while their parents performed official duties.

Serving in the Royal Navy
During the war, when Philip was on leave from the Royal Navy, he would stay with his uncle, Lord Mountbatten, so he often saw Princess Elizabeth and the couple exchanged letters. After completing his initial training in 1940, Philip Mountbatten passed as Best Cadet and spent six months in the Indian Ocean as Midshipman aboard the battleship HMS Ramillies. In 1941, he transferred to the battleship HMS Valiant in the Mediterranean Fleet in charge of the ship’s searchlight control.

As one of the youngest first lieutenants in the Royal Navy on board the destroyer HMS Wallace, Philip was praised for his role in the World War II. He devised a clever plan to deflect enemy aircraft, saving the lives of sailors on board the destroyer HMS Wallace. In 1945, Philip was the First Lieutenant on HMS Whelp in Tokyo Bay, when the Japanese surrendered.

Royal Engagement
In 1946, Philip, then in his mid-20s, asked King George VI for Elizabeth’s hand in marriage. He was given permission by King George VI to marry his daughter, on the condition that they wait until Princess Elizabeth was 21. Philip designed her engagement ring using diamonds from his mother, Princess Alice's tiara. The leftover stones was made into a diamond bracelet as his wedding gift.

Before their official engagement on 9 July. 1947, Philip gave up his own hereditary title of Prince of Greece and Denmark to become Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich, and a naturalized British subject. On the eve of their wedding, the Duke of Edinburgh was appointed by King George VI to the Order of the Garter

Royal Wedding
On November 20, 1947, Princess Elizabeth aged 21 and the 26-years old Duke of Edinburgh married in Westminster Abbey with around 2,000 guests in attendance and another 200 million listening to the ceremony on the radio. After their marriage, they lived a relatively normal life as the Duke continued to serve in the Royal Navy.

In 1948, their son Prince Charles was born. In 1949, the Duke was appointed First Lieutenant and second-in-command of HMS Chequers, a destroyer based in Malta. In 1950, Princess Anne was born. The Duke remained on active duty until July 1951, and in 1952, was promoted to the rank of commander.

King George VI death
Princess Elizabeth and the Duke's freedom was cut short by the declining health of her father. In 1951, the Royal couple took their first major tour together to Canada and the United States. As the health of the King deteriorated, they moved back to London to Clarence House.

On February 6, 1952, King George VI died while Princess Elizabeth and the Duke were in Kenya on a tour of the Commonwealth. The Duke broke the news to his wife during a walk on a farm. According to the rules of succession, Princess Elizabeth ascended the throne immediately upon her father’s passing.

The Queen's Coronation
The Queen's Coronation was on June 2, 1953 and during the ceremony, the Duke of Edinburgh knelt before her and made his pledged to "become your liege man of life and limb, and of earthly worship, and faith and truth I will bear unto you, to live and die against all manner of folks. So help me God".

The Duke of Edinburgh explained why he gave up his naval career. He said, ''Being married to the queen, it seemed to me, my first duty was to serve her in the best way I could.'' From that moment on, Prince Philip became the queen's 'consort,' the official companion of the monarch.

In 1956, the Duke toured the Commonwealth on the royal yacht Britannia, without the Queen. That same year, he founded the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme which has since expanded to 144 nations. In 1957, the queen made him an official Prince of the United Kingdom and was to be known as Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. In 1960, Prince Andrew was born and in 1964, Prince Edward was born. From 1961 to 1982 Prince Philip was the president of the World Wide Fund for Nature.

Honours and honorary military appointments
Prince Philip received 17 different appointments and decorations in the Commonwealth, and 48 from foreign states. He made an average of 342 public appearances per year from 1952 to 2017. For his 90th birthday, the Queen appointed him Lord High Admiral, as well as to the highest ranks available in all three branches of the Canadian Armed Forces. On their 70th wedding anniversary, 20 November 2017, Prince Philip was appointed , Knight Grand Cross (GCVO) of the Royal Victorian Order.

In most of Prince Philip appearances, he accompanied Queen Elizabeth. However, he made more than 22,000 without her to give speeches to support various facets of the British Commonwealth, including nearly 800 charities that he became affiliated with over the years.

Marriage and Family
Prince Philip married Queen Elizabeth in Westminster Abbey on November 20, 1947, and he was given the titles: Duke of Edinburgh, earl of Merioneth, and Baron Greenwich. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip have four children: Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward, eight grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Queen Elizabeth II said, "He is someone who doesn't take easily to compliments. But he has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I and his whole family, in this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim or we shall ever know."

Championed causes
Prince Philip championed causes that caught his imagination. He was founder, fellow, patron, president, chairman or member of about 837 organizations. Some notable associations included Duke of Edinburgh Awards, the World Wildlife Fund, the National Playing Fields Association and the Commonwealth Study Conferences and helped found the Royal Academy of Engineering, which promotes engineering excellence and education.

Duke of Edinburgh Awards
Prince Philip's most spectacular achievement is The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, established in 1956 - a series of challenges to encourage young people to take up adventures in the outdoors. It is now in 140 countries with more than 8 million young participants – 700,000 of them Australians.

World Wildlife Fund
In 1961, Prince Philip was appointed the first president of the World Wide Fund for Nature, placing conservation, nature and saving the planet a key part of his work. In 1996, he became President Emeritus and, at his 90th birthday, David Nussbaum, Chief Executive of WWF-UK, said: "His contribution to nature and the environment, and to WWF in particular, has been immeasurable."

Prince Phillip's mother, Princess Alice, had been born profoundly deaf. She learned to lip-read in several different languages.

During the war-time Nazi German occupation of Greece, Prince Phillip's mother hid Jews in her house in Athens, earning, like Oskar Schindler, Israel's award of Righteous Among the Nations.

Prince Phillip was trilingual, speaking English, French and German.

The duke was a qualified pilot, flying 5,986 hours in 59 types of aircraft.

He was a keen cricketer, twice serving as president of the Marylebone Cricket Club.

The duke took up playing polo while stationed in Malta from 1949 to 1951. He went on to become one of the best polo players in Britain.

When arthritis and age forced him to quit polo he took up carriage driving, a sport he continued to take part in into his 90s.

The duke carried out more than 19,500 official engagements, excluding those accompanying the Queen.

He enjoyed painting in oils and was an enthusiastic birdwatcher.

Prince Philip played a key role in the rebuilding of Windsor Castle after the great fire of 1992, serving as chairman of the Restoration Committee.

"We don't come to Canada for our health. We can think of other ways of enjoying ourselves. (During a trip to Canada in 1976)"

"When a man opens a car door for his wife, it's either a new car or a new wife."

"Young people are the same as they always were. Just as ignorant. (At Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme in 2006)"

"I declare this thing open, whatever is it? (On a visit to Canada in 1969)"

"Well, you didn't design your beard too well, did you? (When talking to designer Stephen Judge about goatee beard in 2009)"

"It doesn't look like much work goes on at this University. (Overheard at Bristol University's engineering facility)"

"Aren't most of you descended from pirates? (In the Cayman Islands, 1994)"

"Bugger the table plan, give me my dinner! (At a dinner party in 2004)"

"British women can't cook. (At the Scottish Women's Institute in 1961)"

"Are we going to need earplugs? (Prince Philip asked after being told that Madonna was singing the Die Another Day theme in 2002)"


HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh passed away peacefully on 9 April, 2021 at Windsor Castle, United Kingdom. He was laid to rest on Saturday 17 April, 2021 at St George’s Chapel, Windsor. The Duke of Edinburgh’s death was marked with floral tributes, 41-gun salutes at locations across the United Kingdom, including the Tower of London and Edinburgh Castle, as well as in Gibraltar, Australia and on Royal Navy ships.

The Duke of Edinburgh's casket was draped in his personal flag which celebrate both his Greek heritage and British titles. His naval cap, officer's sword, wreath of flowers and a handwritten card by the Queen lie atop the coffin as pallbearers lowered him on to his self-designed Land Rover hearse in the castle quadrangle packed with hundreds of armed personnel.

As Prince Philip made his final journey from Windsor Castle to St. George’s Chapel, Prince Charles and eight members of the royal family - Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward, Prince William, Prince Harry, Peter Phillips, David Armstrong-Jones, and Vice-Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, all dressed in their morning attire followed behind the hearse.

Inside St. George's Chapel, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II bowed her head as she sat alone, while other mourners were separated into family bubbles. After a 50-minute service attended by only 30 mourners, the Pipe Major of the Royal Regiment of Scotland played a lament, and buglers of the Royal Marines sounded The Last Post, as the Duke's coffin was lowered into the Royal Vault, an historic first for the Royal Family.

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