On April 9, 2021, Prince Philip passed away at 99 as the British monarchy’s mainstay. His long marriage to Queen Elizabeth II provided excellent stability in Windsor for more than seven decades. In his role as Duke of Edinburgh, he became the longest-serving royal consort in history, and the British sovereign declared him publicly as her “strength and permanence.” Phillip was characterized by following his crown role without a specific guide to perform his functions and defined his work through his own experience.
He was presented to the Royal House under the name of Prince Philip of Greece. He was born on the island of Corfu, on June 10, 1921, as the youngest and only son of Prince Andrew of Greece, who was the seventh son of King George I. His mother was Princess Alice of Battenberg.
Phillip and his four sisters had to face a complicated childhood full of trauma and drama due to their family’s exile from Greece in 1922. His mother, Alice, was born deaf, had fragile mental health, and had to be confined to a psychiatric hospital when he was only eight years old. Alice also had to deal with her father’s constant absence, which gave her a kind of family orphanhood at such an early age.
Despite this situation in his intimate environment, Phillip overcame those shortcomings and emerged as a strong, ambitious character determined to succeed. His good looks, combined with his status as a handsome young naval officer, made the ladies‘ hearts flutter. The young Princess Elizabeth of Great Britain gave him the love and prosperous family environment he so badly needed.
Times of war
Phillip and Elizabeth kept in touch through love letters while the Duke of Edinburgh was on active duty in World War II in the British navy. By the age of 21, he had become one of the Royal Navy’s youngest first lieutenants and was second-in-command of the mighty HMS Wallace flotilla. On his return, when Elizabeth was 19, they officially began courting. Although he had proven his worth during the conflict, the war hero without a home or fortune was an unlikely choice of royal companion for the future queen.
His marriage to Elizabeth
In April 1947, King George VI approved his royal wedding with Elizabeth. After the nuptials, Philip became His Royal Highness, the Duke of Edinburgh. He had already renounced his Greek citizenship and adopted the name Mountbatten, taken from his maternal grandparents.
Although they were members of the German royal family, they had adopted British nationality and translated their last name Battenberg literally into English. One of the reasons their love stood the test of time was their ability to laugh together, as Philip could bring genuine joy to the queen. The two were married for more than 70 years.
His public life
In addition to his family, the duke’s passions led him in three main directions: the environment, equestrian activities, and youth’s well-being. Perhaps his most incredible legacy is the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards Program, which he launched in 1956 to give young people an opportunity for personal and professional discovery. He also supported the World Wide Fund for Nature and, in his role as president from 1961 to 1982, toured the world to promote his cause.
Prince Philip retired from public life in 2017 at 96, although he continued to attend occasional public events. He took a step back after making 22,191 solo engagements and giving 5,493 speeches.
His last official engagement was in July of 2020 when he handed over his role as Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles to Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, at a ceremony in Windsor. The queen’s husband was going to be 100 years old on June 10.