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Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, June 10, 1921), is the husband of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms.

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HRH Duke of Edinburgh and HM Queen (official photo released in honor of the Duke of Edinburgh’s 99th birthday).

Ancestry

Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark was born in Mon Repos on the Greek island of Corfu on June 10, 1921, the only son and fifth and final child of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg. Prince Philip is a member of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, itself a Collateral branch of the House of Oldenburg, he was a prince of both Greece and Denmark by virtue of his patrilineal descent from George I of Greece and Christian IX of Denmark, and he was from birth in the line of succession to both thrones; the 1953 Succession Act removed his family branch’s succession rights in Denmark. Philip’s four elder sisters were Margarita, Theodora, Cecilie, and Sophie. He was baptised in the Greek Orthodox rite at St. George’s Church in the Old Fortress in Corfu.

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Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark

Philip’s mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, was the eldest child of Prince Louis of Battenberg and his wife Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine. Her mother was the eldest daughter of Ludwig IV, Grand Duke of Hesse and By Rhine and Princess Alice of the United Kingdom, the second daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

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Princess Alice of Battenberg

Princess Alice of Battenberg’s father, Prince Louis of Battenberg, was the eldest son of Prince Alexander of Hesse and By Rhine through his morganatic marriage to Countess Julia von Hauke, who was created Princess of Battenberg in 1858 by Ludwig III, Grand Duke of Hesse of By Rhine. Alice’s three younger siblings, Louise, George, and Louis, later became Queen of Sweden, Marquess of Milford Haven, and Earl Mountbatten of Burma, respectively.

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Prince and Princess Andrew of of Greece and Denmark

Prince Philip’s family was exiled from the Greece when he was an infant. After being educated in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, he joined the British Royal Navy in 1939, aged 18.

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Prince Philip and his father.

That same year, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth toured the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth. During the visit, the Queen and Louis Mountbatten asked Philip to escort the King’s two daughters, Elizabeth and Margaret, who were Philip’s third cousins through Queen Victoria, and second cousins once removed through King Christian IX of Denmark. Elizabeth fell in love with Philip, and they began to exchange letters when she was 13.

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From July 1939, he began corresponding with the 13-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 abandoned his Greek and Danish royal titles, became a naturalised British subject, and adopted his maternal grandparents’ surname Mountbatten. He married Princess Elizabeth on November 20, 1947. Just before the wedding, he was created Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich. In post-war Britain it was not acceptable for any of the Duke of Edinburgh’s German relations to be invited to the wedding, including Philip’s three surviving sisters, all of whom had married German princes.

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The Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Elizabeth

Philip left active military service when Elizabeth became queen in 1952, having reached the rank of commander, and was formally made a British prince in 1957.

Philip and Elizabeth have four children: Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward. Through a British Order in Council issued in 1960, descendants 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 Princess Anne, and Princes Andrew and Edward.

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A keen sports enthusiast, Philip helped develop the equestrian event of carriage driving. He is a patron, president, or member of over 780 organisations, and he serves as chairman of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for people aged 14 to 24. He is the longest-serving consort of a reigning British monarch and the oldest ever male member of the British royal family. Philip retired from his royal duties on 2 August 2017, aged 96, having completed 22,219 solo engagements since 1952.

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