Prince Philip Early Life
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, born June 10, 1921 on the island of Corfu, to Prince Andrew of Greece and Princess Alice, the eldest daughter of Louis Alexander Mountbatten, is husband to one of the most famous women in the world, but the path of a male consort has not been an easy one. His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh has walked in the shadow of Queen Elizabeth II for much of his adult life. Seeking acceptance in his personal and public life, this European prince with a fragmented childhood has found enduring stability in his new family, and carved leading roles of his own in British society.
On September 22, 1922, Philip’s uncle, King Constantine I of Greece, was forced to abdicate the throne. The military government arrested Prince Andrew, and in December, a revolutionary court banished him from Greece for life. Philip’s family went to France, where they settled in the Paris suburb of Saint-Cloud. Philip’s mother was eventually committed to a psychiatric institution while his father relocated to the south of France, maintaining limited contact with the rest of the family.
Prince Philip graduated from the Britannia Royal Navy College, Dartmouth as top cadet. Over the next six years he saw active service in the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean, and was in Tokyo Bay in 1945 when the Japanese surrendered. He was one of the few royals to serve in such a combative role, even fighting against his German brothers-in-law. He was mentioned in despatches for his service on battleship HMS Valiant in 1941. By 21 he had been appointed first lieutenant of the destroyer, HMS Wallace.
Aged 17 Prince Philip joined the battleship HMS VALIANT, which fought in the Battle of Cape Matapan. The Prince was in charge of the ship’s searchlight control, enabling VALIANT to pinpoint enemy vessels in the dark. For this work, he was mentioned in despatches. Prince Philip was then appointed First Lieutenant of the W-class destroyer, HMS WHELP, which was present in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese signed the surrender.
Who is Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh?
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, is the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, the father of Prince Charles and the grandfather of Prince Harry and Prince William. Prince Philip was born on the island of Corfu in Greece, on June 10, 1921. The blond toddler was just one-and-a-half when the family left Greece. And Philip spent the first years of his life in France, where he attended school in Paris before being sent to Cheam Preparatory School in Berkshire. From there he went on to Gordonstoun, followed by the Royal Naval College at Dartmouth.
It was while he was training as a navy cadet that Philip caught the eye of the 13-year-old Princess Elizabeth, who was a distant cousin. Although her parents, King George and Queen Elisabeth, urged her not to rush into a serious relationship, Elizabeth was smitten and kept a photo of the handsome young cadet by her bed.
In July 1947, by which time Philip had become a British subject and renounced his right to the Greek and Danish thrones, their engagement was announced. He also discarded his father’s family name of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg, in favour of his mother’s surname – Mountbatten.
As members of Greek and Danish royalty, Philip and his family were banished from his native country when he was young, with the boy subsequently living in France, Germany and Britain. Philip married Elizabeth Windsor (Queen Elizabeth II) before her ascension to the British throne in 1952.
Marriage and Wedding
Though originally planned as a low-key affair, the royal wedding – which took place in front of 2,500 guests in Westminster Abbey on November 20, 1947 – captured the imagination of a post-WWII public starved of gaiety and romance and turned into a national celebration.
Philip, now designated a royal highness, created a Knight of the Garter and awarded the title Duke of Edinburgh, spent his first six years of married life in Malta, where he was stationed with the Royal Navy. There he and Elizabeth enjoyed the beginnings of their life together as a normal couple.
Six days before their first wedding anniversary, the pair’s first son and heir, Prince Charles, was born a momentous occasion Philip marked by dashing to his wife’s bedside with carnations and champagne. Their daughter Anne arrived in 1950, with sons Andrew and Edward following in 1960 and 1964 respectively.
Prince Philip most important role, however, has undoubtedly been as a loving and supportive husband. “Prince Philip is the only man in the world who treats the Queen simply as another human being,” once explained Lord Charteris, the monarch’s former private secretary. “Strange as it may seem, I believe she values that.”
Following a successful naval career during which he saw active service in the Second World War, The Duke of Edinburgh began to focus on his work in support of The Queen following her Accession in 1952. In 2009 he became the longest serving British consort (companion to the Sovereign), a distinction previously held by Queen Charlotte, George III’s consort. His Royal Highness also has many interests which he pursues separately to his work with Her Majesty, including conservation, engineering, and The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award which he founded in 1956.
In May 2017 it was announced that The Duke of Edinburgh had decided, with full support of The Queen, to no longer carry out public engagements. The Duke of Edinburgh is Patron, President or a member of over 780 organisations, with which he continues to be associated, although he no longer plays an active role by attending engagements.
The Duke of Edinburgh is Patron, President or otherwise connected with some 800 organisations. Though probably best known for founding The Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme in 1956, His Royal Highness is also involved in the work of many more charities and organisations which reflect his wide ranging interests in topics including conservation, sport, the military and engineering.
The Duke of Edinburgh is involved in a great many charities, with special interests in scientific and technological research, the conservation of the environment and the encouragement of sport.
His passion for industry has been seen in countless visits to research laboratories, coalmines, factories and engineering works, with the aim of contributing to the improvement of British industrial life. On an international scale, he has sponsored six conferences on the human problems of industrial communities within the Commonwealth, in his capacity as Patron of The Work Foundation.
Between 1959 and 2011 The Duke chaired the judging panel for The Prince Philip Designers Prize, which rewarded the innovation and creativity of designers and engineers shaping daily life. Winners included product designer Sir James Dyson, architect Lord Foster (designer of 30 St Mary Axe, or ‘The Gherkin’) and Andrew Ritchie, inventor of the Brompton folding bicycle.
The Duke of Edinburgh Awards
First launched in 1956 in collaboration with German educationalist Kurt Hahn and Lord Hunt, leader of the first successful ascent of Everest, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award has become the world’s leading youth achievement award. The Award operates in more than 140 countries and in its 60 years of running has inspired millions of young people to serve their communities, experience adventure and develop and learn outside of the classroom. The four key elements of the Award are Service, Skills, Physical Recreation and Adventurous Journey, and is open to those between 14 and 24 years of age.
In 2016 The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award celebrated its 60th anniversary. To celebrate the occasion the DofE encouraged people of all ages to set and achieve their goals through the DofE Diamond Challenge. The Duke and other members of the Royal Family also marked the milestone at a series of events, from a garden party in the grounds of Buckingham Palace to visits around the UK to meet DofE participants and supporters.
Although Prince Philip ended his active naval career in July 1951, he is still very closely connected to the Armed Forces. In 1952 The Duke was appointed Admiral of the Sea Cadet Corps, Colonel-in-Chief of the Army Cadet Force and Air Commodore-in-Chief of the Air Training Corps. The following year he was promoted to Admiral of the Fleet and appointed Field Marshal and Marshal of the Royal Air Force. The Duke is also Colonel-in-Chief, or Colonel, of a number of British and overseas regiments.
Prince Philip brought attention to a little-known cause in the 1960s as he turned his attention to the natural world. From 1961-1982 he served as the first UK president of the World Wildlife Fund, and was its international president for 15 years. He has also used alternative energy sources for his official car, and as the first royal to take an interest in conservation, led the way for Prince Charles (the current UK president of WWF). He remained a keen field sports enthusiast for many years. Over the decades, Prince Philip championed many other causes as patron of 800 organisations.
Ahead of his 96th birthday in June 2017, Prince Philip announced his retirement from royal duties. He remains the longest-serving royal consort in British history, and the oldest male member of the Royal Family. Described by the Queen as her “strength and stay”, he has stood by her through decades of change. Through his many charitable endeavours, he has fashioned a place for himself in British and Commonwealth life. By the time of his last royal duty in August 2017, he had carried out more than 22,219 solo engagements and more than 630 solo overseas visits.
Prince Philip is particularly interested in science, industry and engineering. He has visited research stations and laboratories, coalmines and factories, engineering works and industrial plants – all with the aim of understanding, and contributing to the improvement of, British industrial life.
Environmental and conservation issues are also of great interest to Prince Philip. Concerned about pollution by exhaust fumes, he began using an electric car in the 1960s. Since visiting Antarctica and the South Atlantic in 1956-57, Prince Philip has devoted himself to raising public awareness of the relationship of humanity with the environment.
The Duke is a keen sportsman and enjoys polo, carriage driving and sailing. He is also a qualified pilot and was the first member of the Royal family ever to fly out of Buckingham Palace Garden in a helicopter.
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and his wife Queen Elizabeth IIhave four children. Prince Charles, Prince of Wales was born in 1948 and Princess Anne, The Princess Royal, was born two years later. After ascending the throne, the couple had two further children: Prince Andrew, Duke of York, born in 1960 and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, born in 1964.
Prince Philip Biography and Profile