The Canadian Alliance of British Pensioners (CABP) –
Tribute to HRH Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was 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, and was part Greek and part 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 Queen Elizabeth II before her ascension to the British throne in 1952. Their children include Prince Charles, heir apparent to the throne, Anne, Andrew and Edward. Philip served as the British royal consort for more than six decades.
In late 1922, Philip’s uncle, King Constantine I of Greece, was forced to abdicate the throne, and as a result Philip’s family went to France, where they settled in the Paris suburb of Saint-Cloud. Philip’s mother was unfortunately committed to a psychiatric institution and his father relocated to the south of France.
During the 1930s, he relocated to a school in Germany and then moved again to Scotland’s Gordonstoun School. Philip graduated in 1939, and he then attended the Royal Naval College, where he excelled. During World War II, he served in the British Navy while in-law family members were on the opposing Axis side of the conflict.
While Philip wad not British, he had family ties to England through his maternal grandfather, Prince Louis of Battenberg. Philip was also related to the British royal family as a descendant of Queen Victoria.
In 1939, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother Elizabeth) toured the Royal Naval College. Philip escorted their two young daughters, Elizabeth and Margaret, who were distant cousins of Philip’s through Queen Victoria. The 13-year-old Elizabeth developed a crush on Philip during the trip, and they began to exchange letters.
Philip asked King George for his daughter’s hand in marriage in the summer of 1946 (Philip had allegedly proposed to Elizabeth first). The king agreed, provided that any formal engagement was delayed until Elizabeth’s 21st birthday. To prepare for the announcement, Philip abandoned his Greek and Danish royal titles, took on the surname Mountbatten from his mother’s family, adopted Anglicanism as a religion and became a British subject. They became engaged on July 10th 1947, and were married on November 20th 1947 at Westminster Abbey. On the morning of the wedding, Philip became the Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich.
Elizabeth became Queen on February 6th 1952 upon the death of King George. Philip and Elizabeth heard the news of his death while traveling in Kenya.
Philip remained the queen’s consort for more than six decades, having accompanied her in her official duties and appearances throughout the world. Philip worked with many organisations favouring those focused on the environment, athletics and education. All of this led to Philip launching the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in the mid-1950s, with a focus on youth achievement. Philip enjoyed playing polo until 1971 and competed in a number of other activities including boat racing, piloting airplanes, oil painting and art collecting.
Philip was well known for his outspoken nature, controversial remarks and a number of gaffes.
Prince Philip had eight grandchildren: Prince William, Prince Harry, Peter Phillips, Zara Tindall, Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie, Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn. He also had 10 great-grandchildren including Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis and Archie.
In February 2021, Philip was admitted to a London hospital as “a precautionary measure” after he felt unwell. Two weeks later he was transferred to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, also in London, “where doctors will continue to treat him for an infection, as well as undertake testing and observation for a pre-existing heart condition.” He underwent surgery for his heart condition on March 3. Philip passed away the morning of April 9, 2021, at Windsor Castle at the ripe old age of 99.