Originally a royal Prince of Greece and Denmark, Prince Philip renounced these titles shortly before his marriage, though he retains the Greek flag (white cross on blue field) on his Shield of Arms. At the time of his engagement he was known as Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten. On 20 November 1947, he married Princess Elizabeth, the heiress presumptive to King George VI. Prince Philip is a member of the Danish-German House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, which includes the royal houses of Denmark and Norway and the deposed royal house of Greece.
The day before his marriage, King George VI granted him the style of His Royal Highness and, on the morning of the marriage, created him Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich. In 1957, Philip was created a Prince of the United Kingdom by Queen Elizabeth II. When he became a British subject, Prince Philip took the surname Mountbatten, an anglicised version of his mother's German family name, Battenberg. (Later it was realised that, as a descendant of Sophia of Hanover, Philip had been a British subject from birth under the Sophia Naturalization Act 1705.)
In addition to his royal duties, the Duke of Edinburgh is also the patron of many organisations, including The Duke of Edinburgh's Award and the World Wide Fund for Nature, and he is Chancellor of both the University of Edinburgh and the University of Cambridge. In particular, he has devoted himself to raising public awareness of the relationship of humanity with the environment since visiting the Southern Antarctic Islands in 1956, and has published and spoken widely for half a century on this subject. See Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh from these speeches.
The prince continues to fulfil his public duties as a member of the British Royal Family, and is an established public figure in the United Kingdom and in the Commonwealth Realms. He has gained a reputation for making controversial remarks, some of which have been regarded as racist, particularly when meeting the British public or on state visits to other countries.
Prince Andrew and Princess Alice remained in residence on the Island of Corfu for 18 months. Greece entered an unpredictable period, and it was expected that the monarchy would soon be overthrown. On 22 September 1922, Constantine I was forced to abdicate the throne. A revolutionary court sentenced Prince Andrew, his older brother, to banishment for life. Fortunately for the family, George V ordered that the Royal Navy vessel, HMS Calypso, evacuate the family, and Philip was carried to safety in a cot made from an orange box.
Philip has survived his four elder sisters, all of whom married German princes:
Philip's first real family tragedy occurred in 1937, when his sister Cecilie, her husband, mother-in-law and two young sons were killed in the Sabena OO-AUB Ostend crash. Philip, who was only sixteen at the time, attended the funeral in Darmstadt.
Commissioned as a Midshipman, Prince Philip spent six months on the battleship HMS Ramillies then serving in the Indian Ocean. In January 1941 he was posted to the Mediterranean fleet aboard the battleship HMS Valiant where, amongst other engagements, he was involved in the Battle of Crete. He was mentioned in despatches for his service during the Battle of Cape Matapan and was also awarded the Greek War Cross of Valour. Midshipman Mountbatten encountered a range of duties; for example, he is remembered for having helped stoke the boilers of the troop transport HMS Empress of Russia in 1941.
Prince Philip was promoted Sub-Lieutenant and, after a series of courses, was appointed to the V&W class destroyer, flotilla leader HMS Wallace, where he was subsequently involved in convoy escort tasks. Promotion to Lieutenant followed on 16 July 1942 and in October 1942, he became the ship's First Lieutenant (at 21 years of age, he was one of the youngest to be appointed a First Lieutenant). Whilst with HMS Wallace, he took part in the Allied invasion of Sicily.
Prince Philip was later appointed as the First Lieutenant of the new destroyer HMS Whelp where he saw service with the British Pacific Fleet in the 27th Destroyer Flotilla (see for the ship's war service), including being present in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese surrender was signed. He eventually returned to Britain with the ship in January 1946. In the post-war years, Prince Philip served as an instructor at the Petty Officers' School and attended Naval Staff College, Greenwich. (For the remainder of his naval career, see below).
Prince Philip has for many years been Colonel-in-Chief of the oldest Canadian Infantry Regiment, the Royal Canadian Regiment. This regiment continues to be the only Regiment in the Commonwealth to be authorized to wear a dead Monarch's insignia, that being Queen Victoria's insignia.
HRH Prince Philip is also an honorary Field Marshal in Australia. HRH was promoted to the rank of field marshal in the Australian Army on 1 April 1954—over a year after he attained that rank in the British Army on 15 January 1953. However, as consort of Queen Elizabeth II, the duke's rank is purely ceremonial. He has no command or control role in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and is not part of the ADF's operational structure. He has never paraded as a field marshal with any units or elements of the ADF.
Prince Philip succeeded Sir Winston Churchill as Colonel-in-Chief of the Queen's Royal Irish Hussars in 1965 and remained so until the regiment amalgamated with the Queen's Own Hussars in 1993 to form the Queen's Royal Hussars. Upon the death of the Queen Mother in 2002 he became Colonel-in-Chief of the Queen's Royal Hussars.
On 20 November 1947, Prince Philip married the heiress presumptive to the British throne, The Princess Elizabeth, elder daughter of George VI and Queen Elizabeth, his third cousin through Queen Victoria and second cousin, once removed through Christian IX of Denmark. The couple was married in a glittering ceremony in Westminster Abbey, London which was recorded and broadcast by the BBC. Before they could marry, Prince Philip was required to convert from Greek Orthodoxy to the Church of England, to renounce his allegiance to the Greek Crown, and to become a naturalised British subject. He renounced his Greek and Danish royal titles on 18 March 1947 and decided to take the name Mountbatten, an Anglicised version of Battenberg, his mother's family name. The day before his wedding, King George VI titled his future son-in-law Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, and Baron Greenwich, of Greenwich in the County of London.
The King also issued Letters patent creating the Duke of Edinburgh His Royal Highness. After their marriage, his wife became Her Royal Highness The Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh. On the popular but erroneous assumption that if Philip had the style of 'Royal Highness' he was automatically a prince, media reports often mentioned "Prince Philip", with or without reference to his ducal title. Although the princely prefix was omitted in the Regency Act of 1953 and in Letters Patent of November 1953 appointing Counsellors of State, it had been included in the Letters Patent of 22 October 1948 conferring princely rank on children of his marriage to Princess Elizabeth. George VI, however, appears to have been clear and intentional in having withheld the princely title from his future son-in-law. From 1947 to 1957, Philip's correct style was His Royal Highness Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
At the marriage of his youngest son in 1999 it was announced that Prince Edward would be created Duke of Edinburgh when the current creation of that Dukedom reverts to the Crown.
In post-war Britain it was not acceptable to invite any of the Duke of Edinburgh's German relations to his wedding. The sole exception was his mother, who was born at Windsor of parents who had both renounced their German titles. Excluded from the invitation list were his three surviving sisters, each of whom had married German princes, some with Nazi connections. (His sister Princess Sophie's first husband, Prince Christoph of Hesse had been a member of the Schutzstaffel (SS) and an aide to Heinrich Himmler.) Also, the bride's aunt Mary, Princess Royal allegedly refused to attend because her brother, the Duke of Windsor (who abdicated in 1936), was not invited due to his marital situation. She gave ill health as the official reason for not attending.
With the King in ill-health, Princess Elizabeth and the Duke were each created members of the Privy Council on 4 November 1951. The Duke is now the only member of the Privy Council to have been appointed by King George VI.
In January 1952, the Duke and Princess Elizabeth set off for a tour of the Commonwealth, with planned visits to Africa, Australia and New Zealand. On 6 February, when they were in Kenya, the Princess' father, King George VI, died, and she ascended the Throne as Queen Elizabeth II. The Duke broke the news to the new Queen at their hotel (Tree Tops). As a result of the King's passing, the visits to Australia and New Zealand were postponed until 1954. The Duke was resigned to the fact that his naval career was now over, and he had a new role as the consort of the British monarch.
In 1952, the Duke was given the rank and titles Admiral of the Fleet, Field Marshal, and Marshal of the Royal Air Force. He was also made the Captain-General of the Royal Marines. As was the established tradition with all previous monarchs, the Queen as Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces outranks, by virtue of being Sovereign, all military personnel.
The Queen and Duke make state visits abroad, and receive foreign dignitaries in the United Kingdom together. The Duke often carries out his own separate engagements on behalf of the Queen at home and abroad. The Duke is also patron of many organisations. He established The Duke of Edinburgh's Award in 1956 to give young people "a sense of responsibility to themselves and their communities". The scheme now operates in 100 countries around the world. He has also been President of the World Wide Fund for Nature.
In 1956–1957, the Duke took a round-the-world voyage on board HMY Britannia, visiting remote islands of the Commonwealth. This was when he first became aware of the effects of human industrialisation on the natural environment.
Through mitochondrial DNA analysis in July of 1993, British scientists, through a sample of Prince Philip's blood, were able to identify the remains of several members of Tsaritsa Alexandra Romanov's family several decades subsequent to their 1918 massacre by the Bolsheviks; Prince Philip is the Tsaritsa's grand-nephew.
An Order-in-Council was issued in 1960, which stated the surname of male-line descendants of the Duke and the Queen who are not Royal Highness or Prince or Princess was to be Mountbatten-Windsor. This was to address the Duke's complaint that he was the only father in the country unable to pass his name to his children. In practice, however, the Duke's children have all used Mountbatten-Windsor as the surname they prefer for themselves and their male-line children.
After her accession to the throne, the Queen also announced that the Duke was to have "place, pre-eminence and precedence" next to the Queen "on all occasions and in all meetings, except where otherwise provided by Act of Parliament". This means the Duke is the first gentleman of the land, and takes precedence over his son, the Prince of Wales except, officially, in Parliament. In fact, however, he only attends Parliament when escorting the Queen for the annual Speech from the Throne, where he walks and is seated beside her.
The Queen has never granted the Duke the title of Prince Consort. This title was granted to Albert, Prince Consort by his wife, Queen Victoria, and has not been used since then by a British consort. There was some media speculation in early 2007 that such a title might be conferred to mark the royal couple's 60th wedding anniversary in November 2007, however this has not occurred. Currently, he is the first husband of the Sovereign to bear a British peerage title since Prince George of Denmark, who was created Duke of Cumberland on his marriage to the future Queen Anne in 1683.
As of April 2008, the Duke is the oldest surviving great-great-grandchild of Queen Victoria and is c. 480th in the line of succession to the British Throne in his own right (through his great-grandmother Princess Alice). He is the oldest serving consort in British history, though former consorts, such as the Queen Mother, have lived longer lives. On 18 April 2009, he will have been the longest-serving consort in British history (at 57 years and 71 days), surpassing Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.
It has been reported by the BBC that inhabitants of some small villages in Vanuatu, an island nation located in the South Pacific Ocean, worship Prince Philip as a god. Islanders have been interviewed and pictured with portraits, sent with Prince Philip's permission.
On 3 April 2008, Prince Philip was admitted to the King Edward VII's Hospital in London for "assessment and treatment for a chest infection". He was seen to walk into the hospital unaided, and was reported to be sitting up in bed and attending to his usual papers while in hospital. As of 6 April he has been released from hospital and is recuperating at Windsor Castle.
On 6 August 2008, Prince Philip was reported in the London Evening Standard to be suffering from prostate cancer and had been diagnosed in April. At first Buckingham Palace refused to comment, but a press release was issued that stated the following:
We believe the Evening Standard's front page story today titled 'Prince Philip Defies Cancer Scare' is a serious breach of Prince Philip's privacy.
Buckingham Palace has always maintained that Members of the Royal Family have a right to privacy, particularly in relation to their personal health. For this reason, we have always refused to confirm or deny the persistent rumours that circulate about their health, particularly during the quieter news months.
We will continue to observe this long-standing practice; but on this occasion, because the damaging story is now being reported widely, The Duke of Edinburgh has authorised us to confirm that the claim made by the Evening Standard that he has received a 'diagnosis of prostate cancer' is untrue.
We believe there has been a serious breach of The Duke of Edinburgh's right to privacy and we will be taking this issue to the Press Complaints Commission. We will be asking the PCC to remind all editors of their obligations.
The family coat of arms of Prince Philip is that of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg.
The Duke has his own personal coat of arms, created on 19 November 1947. Unlike the arms used by other members of the Royal Family, the Duke's arms do not feature the Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom, as men are not entitled to bear the arms of their wives. However they do feature elements representing Greece and Denmark, from which he is descended in the male line; the Mountbatten family arms, from which he is descended in the female line; and the City of Edinburgh, representing his dukedom.
The shield is quartered. The first quarter depicting the arms of Denmark consists of three blue lions passant and nine red hearts on a yellow field. The second quarter depicts the arms of Greece, a white cross on a blue field. The third quarter depicts the arms of the Mountbatten family, two vertical black stripes on a white field. The fourth quarter depicts the arms of the City of Edinburgh, a black and red castle. The dexter supporter is a savage from the Danish Royal Coat of Arms; the sinister a golden lion (a traditional British symbol) wearing a ducal cornet and gorged (collared) with a naval crown, alluding to the Duke's naval career.
The coat features both the motto God is my help and the motto of the Order of the Garter, Honi soit qui mal y pense (Shamed be he who thinks ill of it) on a representation of the Garter behind the shield.
A banner of the Duke's arms is used as his personal standard.
|The Prince Charles, Prince of Wales||14 November 1948||29 July 1981||Lady Diana Spencer|| Prince William of Wales|
Prince Henry of Wales
|28 August 1996|
|9 April 2005||Camilla Parker-Bowles|
|The Princess Anne, Princess Royal||15 August 1950||14 November 1973||Mark Phillips|| Peter Phillips|
|28 April 1992|
|12 December 1992||Timothy Laurence|
|The Prince Andrew, Duke of York||19 February 1960||23 July 1986||Sarah Ferguson|| Princess Beatrice of York|
Princess Eugenie of York
|30 May 1996|
|The Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex||10 March 1964||19 June 1999||Sophie Rhys-Jones|| Lady Louise Windsor|
Star focus on Assembly elections... ; This week, we asked the five Llanelli candidates for next month's Assembly elections:? What would you do, if you were elected, to ensure Prince Philip Hospital retains all its existing services?
Apr 20, 2011; Keith Davies Labour Llanelli is proud of Prince Philip Hospital and the excellent care provided by the staff. Llanelli deserves...
Health Boss Hits Back at Petition's Demands ; Prince Philip Latest: Health Chief Slams Petition'sdemands as AM Comes under Fresh Fire over Vote
Jul 25, 2012; HYWEL Dda's chief executive has accused supporters of a 24,000 name petition calling for the return of services to Prince Philip...