Prince Philip, Husband of Queen Elizabeth II, passes away on Friday. Queen almost 94-years-old and Prince Philip departed at the age of 99; this must be really very painful for the queen who lived each moment with her since she got married to him. He was a constant presence at Queen Elizabeth II’s side for decades. Their fairytale love story was a constant reminder. The outspoken former navy commander devoted much of his life as the queen’s consort to charity work — but was tarnished for numerous gaffes, many deemed downright offensive.
Philip was born into the Greek and Danish royal families. He was born in Greece, but his family left the country when he was a newborn. He was the only son and fifth and final child of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg. A member of the House of Glücksburg, the ruling house of Denmark, he was a prince of both Greece and Denmark by virtue of his matrilineal descent from George I of Greece and Christian IX of Denmark and he was from birth in the line of succession to both thrones.
Philip’s four elder sisters were Margarita, Theodora, Cecilie, and Sophie. He was baptized in the Greek Orthodox rite at St. George’s Church in the Old Fortress in Corfu. Shortly after Philip’s birth his maternal grandfather Prince Louis of Battenberg, and then known as Louis Mountbatten, Marquess of Milford Haven died in London.
Louis was a naturalized British subject who, after a career in the Royal Navy, had renounced his German titles and adopted the surname Mountbatten—an Anglicised version of Battenberg—during the First World War, owing to anti-German sentiment in Britain. After visiting London for his grandfather’s memorial service, Philip and his mother returned to Greece, where Prince Andrew had remained to command a Greek Army division embroiled in the Greco-Turkish War.
The war went badly for Greece, and the Turks made large gains. The new military government arrested Prince Andrew, along with others. The commanding officer of the army, General Georgios Hatzianestis, and five senior politicians were arrested, tried, and executed in the Trial of the Six. Prince Andrew’s life was also believed to be in danger, and Princess Alice was under surveillance. Finally, in December, a revolutionary court banished Prince Andrew from Greece, for life.
The British naval vessel HMS Calypso evacuated Prince Andrew’s family, with Philip carried to safety in a cot made from a fruit box. Philip’s family went to France, where they settled in the Paris suburb of Saint-Cloud in a house lent to them by his wealthy aunt, Princess George of Greece and Denmark.
After being educated in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, he joined the British Royal Navy in 1939, aged 18. From July 1939, he began interacting with the thirteen-year-old Princess Elizabeth, whom he had first met in 1934.
During the Second World War, he served with distinction in the Mediterranean and Pacific Fleets. After the war, Philip was granted permission by George VI to marry Elizabeth. Before the official announcement of their engagement in July 1947, he discarded his Greek and Danish titles and styles, became a naturalized British subject, and adopted his maternal grandparents’ surname Mountbatten.
He married Elizabeth on 20 November 1947. Just before the wedding, he has granted the style His Royal Highness and created Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, and Baron Greenwich by King George VI. Philip left active military service when Elizabeth became queen in 1952, having reached the rank of commander, and was made a British prince in 1957.
Philip and Elizabeth had four children, Charles, Prince of Wales; Anne, Princess Royal; Prince Andrew, Duke of York; and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex. Through a British Order in Council issued in 1960, ancestry of the couple not bearing royal styles and titles can use the surname Mountbatten-Windsor, which has also been used by some members of the royal family who do hold titles, such as Anne, Andrew, and Edward.
Philip was a sportsman who helped develop the equestrian event of carriage driving. He was a patron, president, or member of over 780 organizations and he served as chairman of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, a self-improvement program for young people aged 14 to 24. He was the longest-serving consort of a reigning British monarch and the longest-lived male member of the British royal family.
Prince Philip retired from his royal duties on 2 August 2017, meeting Royal Marines in his final solo public engagement, aged 96. Since 1952 he had completed 22,219 solo engagements. On 20 November 2017, he celebrated his 70th wedding anniversary with the Queen, which made her the first British monarch to celebrate a platinum wedding anniversary.
Philip died on 9 April 2021, aged 99. His death starts Operation Forth Bridge, a plan for his funeral which is commensurate with his wish for minimal “fuss”.