Born on June 10, 1921 to HRH Prince Andreas of Greece and Denmark and HSH Princess Alice of Battenburg. Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark was a member of the House of House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg and a great-great grandson of Britain’s Queen Victoria and great grandson of Denmark’s King Christian IX of Denmark.
Philip’s father was Prince Andreas of Greece and Denmark the fourth son of George I of Greece and his wife Grand Duchess Olga Constantinovna of Russia, a member of the Romanov dynasty, she was the daughter of Grand Duke Constantine Nikolaievich of Russia and his wife, Princess Alexandra of Saxe-Altenburg.
Philip’s mother 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 Princess Alice of the United Kingdom, the second daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.
Her father was the eldest son of Prince Alexander of Hesse and by Rhine through his morganatic marriage to Countess Julia Hauke, who was created Princess of Battenberg in 1858 by Ludwig III, Grand Duke of Hesse. Her three younger siblings, Louise, George, and Louis, later became Queen of Sweden, Marquess of Milford Haven, and Earl Mountbatten of Burma, respectively.
Despite his Danish and German ancestry the Duke of Edinburgh was very British and lived the overwhelming majority of his life in the United Kingdon. In 1939 he joined the British Navy and on his 90th birthday Her Majesty the Queen awarded her husband with the rank of Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom.
Philip was first educated at The Elms, an American school in Paris run by Donald MacJannet, who described Philip as a “know it all smarty person, but always remarkably polite”. In 1928, he was sent to the United Kingdom to attend Cheam School, living with his maternal grandmother, Victoria Mountbatten, Dowager Marchioness of Milford Haven, at Kensington Palace and his uncle, George Mountbatten, 2nd Marquess of Milford Haven, at Lynden Manor in Bray, Berkshire.
In the next three years, his four sisters married German princes and moved to Germany, his mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia and placed in an asylum, and his father took up residence in Monte Carlo. Philip had little contact with his mother for the remainder of his childhood.
In 1933, he was sent to Schule Schloss Salem in Germany, which had the “advantage of saving school fees” because it was owned by the family of his brother-in-law, Berthold, Margrave of Baden. With the rise of Nazism in Germany, Salem’s Jewish founder, Kurt Hahn, fled persecution and founded Gordonstoun School in Scotland, to which Philip moved after two terms at Salem.
In 1937, his sister Cecilie, her husband Georg Donatus, Hereditary Grand Duke of Hesse, her two young sons, Ludwig and Alexander, her newborn infant, and her mother-in-law, Princess Eleonore of Solms-Hohensolms-Lich, were killed in an air crash at Ostend; Philip, then 16 years old, attended the funeral in Darmstadt. Both Cecilie and her husband were members of the Nazi Party. The following year, his uncle and guardian Lord Milford Haven died of bone marrow cancer.