Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was born as Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark on June 10, 1921, on the Greek island of Corfu. He was the only son of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg. Prince Philip was a member of both the Greek and Danish royal families and had close ties to several European royal houses.
Early Life and Education
At a young age, Prince Philip’s family was forced into exile due to political instability in Greece. They settled in Paris, France, where Philip attended a private school. After his parents’ separation, Philip was sent to live with various relatives in Britain and Germany. He studied at the Gordonstoun School in Scotland, where he developed a passion for outdoor activities and naval pursuits.
In 1939, at the age of 18, Prince Philip joined the British Royal Navy as a cadet. During World War II, he served in various naval capacities, including service in the Mediterranean and the Pacific. Philip was praised for his courage and leadership during the conflict and was eventually promoted to the rank of commander. He continued his naval career after the war and eventually rose to the rank of Admiral of the Fleet.
Marriage and Family
In 1947, Prince Philip met Princess Elizabeth, the future Queen Elizabeth II, when she visited the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, where he was training. They soon began exchanging letters, and their relationship deepened over time. On November 20, 1947, they announced their engagement, and Prince Philip renounced his Greek and Danish titles, converted to Anglicanism, and took the surname Mountbatten. They were married on November 20, 1947, and had four children: Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward.
Role as Consort to the Queen
Upon Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne in 1952, Prince Philip took on the role of her consort and provided unwavering support throughout her reign. He accompanied her on numerous state visits and engagements both within the United Kingdom and overseas. Prince Philip was known for his dedication to public service and his active involvement in various charitable organizations. He founded the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme in 1956, which has since empowered millions of young people worldwide to challenge themselves and develop valuable skills.
Personal Interests and Achievements
Prince Philip had a wide range of interests and was known for his love of sports, particularly polo and carriage driving. He was an avid supporter of environmental conservation and was the first president of the World Wildlife Fund (now the Worldwide Fund for Nature) from 1961 to 1982. Prince Philip was also a skilled pilot and logged over 5,000 hours of flying time.
Later Years and Retirement
In 2017, at the age of 96, Prince Philip retired from public engagements. Throughout his retirement, he continued to support the Queen and attended select events. His health declined in his final years, and he passed away on April 9, 2021, at Windsor Castle at the age of 99.
Legacy and Impact
Prince Philip’s contribution to public life and his unwavering support of Queen Elizabeth II throughout her reign have left a lasting impact. He will be remembered for his dedication to philanthropy, environmental conservation, and youth development. Prince Philip’s life was characterized by his wit, candor, and commitment to duty, and he leaves behind a legacy of service and devotion to the monarchy.