British Monarchy, Consort, Duke of Edinburgh, House of Lords, King George VI of the United Kingdom, Prince Charles, Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, the prince of Wales
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark; June 10, 1921 – April 9, 2021), was a member of the British royal family as the husband of Queen Elizabeth II.
Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark was born on the dining room table in Mon Repos, a villa on the Greek island of Corfu on 10 June 1921, 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 patrilineal descent from King George I of Greece and King Christian IX of Denmark; 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 baptised in the Greek Orthodox rite at St. George’s Church in the Old Fortress in Corfu. His godparents were his grandmother Queen Olga of Greece, his cousin Crown Prince George of Greece, his uncle Lord Louis Mountbatten, and the mayor of Corfu, Alexandros Kokotos
Even though Prince Philip was born in Greece, and into the Greek and Danish royal families, his family was exiled from the country when he was eighteen months old. After being educated in France, Germany and the UK, he joined the Royal Navy in 1939, aged 18.
From July 1939, he began corresponding with the thirteen-year-old Princess Elizabeth, the daughter and heir of King George VI of the United Kingdom. Prince Philip had first met her in 1934. During the Second World War wherevhe served with distinction in the British 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 titles and styles, became a naturalised British subject, and adopted his maternal grandparents’ surname Mountbatten. Of course none of this was necessary because as a descendant of Electress Sophie of Hanover, Philip already was a British Citizen. It is speculated that this was done to make Philip appear less foreign.
He married Elizabeth on November 20, 1947. Just before the wedding, the King granted Philip the style His Royal Highness and created him Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, and Baron Greenwich. Philip left active military service when Elizabeth became queen in 1952, having reached the rank of commander, and was made a British Prince in his own right inn1957.
Philip was introduced to the House of Lords on July 21, 1948, immediately before his uncle Louis Mountbatten, who had been made Earl Mountbatten of Burma. Philip, like his sons Charles and Andrew and other royals (with the exception of the 1st Earl of Snowdon), ceased to be members of the House of Lords following the House of Lords Act 1999. He never spoke in the House. In fact, however, he attended Parliament only when escorting the Queen for the annual State Opening of Parliament, where he walked and sat beside her.
Philip had four children with Elizabeth: 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, descendants of Philip and Elizabeth 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 hold titles, such as Anne, Andrew and Edward.
Contrary to rumours over the years, the Queen and Duke were said by insiders to have had a strong relationship throughout their marriage, despite the challenges of Elizabeth’s reign.
After Princess Elizabeth acceded to the throne, the Queen also announced that the Duke was to have “place, pre-eminence and precedence” next to her “on all occasions and in all meetings, except where otherwise provided by Act of Parliament”. This meant the Duke took precedence over his son, the Prince of Wales, except, officially, in the British parliament.
A sports enthusiast, Philip helped develop the equestrian event of carriage driving. He was a patron, president or member of over 780 organisations, and served as chairman of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, a self-improvement program for young people aged 14 to 24.
The Queen referred to Prince Philip in a speech on the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee in 2012 as her “constant strength and guide” Their marriage was the longest of any British monarch, lasting more than 73 years until Philip’s death in April 2021.
Prince Philip was the longest-serving consort of a reigning British monarch and the longest-lived male member of the British royal family. He retired from his royal duties on August 2, 2017, aged 96, having completed 22,219 solo engagements and 5,493 speeches since 1952. Philip died on April 9, 2021, two months before his 100th birthday.