In the summer of 1946, when Elizabeth had attained the age of twenty, the King granted Philip permission to marry her. Before the official announcement of their engagement in July 1947, Philip stopped using his Greek and Danish
Greece suffered significant losses in the war, and the Turks made substantial gains. Philip's uncle and high commander of the Greek
King Constantine I, was blamed for the defeat and was forced to abdicate on 27 September 1922. The new military government arrested Prince Andrew, along with others. The commanding officer of the army, General Georgios Hatzianestis, and five senior politicians were arrested, tried, and executed in the Trial of the Six. Prince Andrew's life was also believed to be in danger, and Princess Alice was under surveillance. Finally, in December, a revolutionary court banished Prince Andrew from Greece for life. The British naval vessel HMS Calypso evacuated Andrew's family, with Philip carried to safety in a fruit box.
Upbringing in France, Britain and Germany
Philip's family settled in France, in a house in the Paris suburb of
German princes and moved to Germany, his mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia and placed in an asylum, and his father took up residence in Monte Carlo. Philip had little contact with his mother for the remainder of his childhood.
In 1933, Philip was sent to
bone marrow cancer. Milford Haven's younger brother Lord Louis took parental responsibility for Philip for the remainder of his youth.
Because Philip left Greece as an infant, he did not speak Greek. In 1992, he said that he "could understand a certain amount". He stated that he thought of himself as Danish and his family spoke English, French, and German. Known for his charm in his youth, Philip was linked to several women, including Osla Benning.
Naval and wartime service
After leaving Gordonstoun in early 1939, Philip completed a term as a
Promotion to lieutenant followed on 16 July 1942. In October of the same year, aged 21, Philip became first lieutenant of HMS Wallace. He was one of the youngest first lieutenants in the Royal Navy. During the invasion of Sicily, in July 1943, as second-in-command of Wallace, he saved his ship from a night bomber attack. He devised a plan to launch a raft with smoke floats that successfully distracted the bombers, allowing the ship to slip away unnoticed. In 1944, he moved on to the new destroyer, HMS Whelp, where he saw service with the British Pacific Fleet in the 27th Destroyer Flotilla. He was present in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese Instrument of Surrender was signed. Philip returned to the United Kingdom on the Whelp in January 1946 and was posted as an instructor at HMS Royal Arthur, the Petty Officers' School in Corsham, Wiltshire.
second cousins once removed through King Christian IX of Denmark. Philip and Elizabeth had first met as children in 1934 at the wedding of Prince George and Princess Marina. After their 1939 meeting, Elizabeth fell in love with Philip, and they began to exchange letters.
Eventually, in the summer of 1946, Philip asked George VI for his daughter's hand in marriage. The King granted his request, provided that any formal engagement be delayed until Elizabeth's 21st birthday the following April. By March 1947, Philip had adopted the surname Mountbatten from his mother's family and had stopped using his Greek and Danish royal titles upon becoming a naturalised British subject. The engagement was announced to the public on 9 July 1947.
The engagement attracted some controversy. Philip had no financial standing, was foreign-born, and had sisters who had married German noblemen with Nazi links.
the Hun". In later life, however, she told the biographer Tim Heald that Philip was "an English gentleman".
Though Philip appeared "always to have regarded himself as an
The day before the wedding, King George VI bestowed the
Knight of the Garter, between 19 and 20 November 1947, he bore the unusual style Lieutenant His Royal Highness Sir Philip Mountbatten and is so described in the letters patent of 20 November 1947.
Philip and Elizabeth were married in a ceremony at
Princess Anne in 1950. Their marriage was the longest of any British monarch, lasting over 73 years until Philip died in 2021. Concerned by her father's poor health, Elizabeth insisted that Philip give up smoking, which he did, cold turkey, on their wedding day.
With the King in ill health, Elizabeth and Philip were both appointed to the Privy Council on 4 November 1951, after a coast-to-coast tour of Canada. At the end of January 1952, the couple set out on a tour of the Commonwealth. On 6 February 1952, they were in Kenya when Elizabeth's father died, and she became queen. Philip broke the news to Elizabeth at Sagana Lodge, and the royal party immediately returned to the United Kingdom.
On 5 December 1952, Philip was initiated into
Edward, Duke of Kent, assumed that role in 1967. Philip's son Charles apparently never joined Freemasonry.
Consort of the Queen (1952–2021)
Elizabeth's accession to the throne brought up the question of the name of the
royal house, as Elizabeth would typically have taken Philip's last name upon marriage. His uncle, the Earl Mountbatten of Burma, advocated the name House of Mountbatten. Philip suggested House of Edinburgh after his ducal title. When Elizabeth's grandmother Queen Mary heard of this, she informed British prime minister Winston Churchill, who later advised Elizabeth to issue a royal proclamation declaring that the royal house was to remain known as the House of Windsor. Philip privately complained, "I am nothing but a bloody amoeba. I am the only man in the country not allowed to give his name to his own children."
On 8 February 1960, the Queen issued an
male-line descendants who are not styled as Royal Highness or titled as prince or princess. While it seems Elizabeth had "absolutely set her heart" on such a change and had it in mind for some time, it occurred only 11 days before the birth of their third child, Prince Andrew, and only after three months of protracted correspondence between English constitutional expert Edward Iwi (who averred that, without such a change, the royal child would be born with "the Badge of Bastardy") and Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, who had attempted to refute Iwi's arguments.
Six months after she acceded to the throne, Elizabeth announced that Philip was to have "place, pre-eminence and precedence" next to her "on all occasions and in all meetings, except where otherwise provided by
a bill to that effect in 1953. Contrary to rumours over the years, Elizabeth and Philip were said by insiders to have had a strong relationship throughout their marriage, despite the challenges of Elizabeth's reign. The Queen referred to Prince Philip in a speech on the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee in 2012 as her "constant strength and guide".
Prince Philip received a Parliamentary annuity (of £359,000 since 1990[fn 3]) that served to meet official expenses in carrying out public duties. The annuity was unaffected by the reform of royal finances under the Sovereign Grant Act 2011. Any part of the allowance that was not used to meet official expenditure was liable for tax. In practice, the entire allowance was used to fund his official duties.
Supporting the Queen
As consort to the Queen, Philip supported his wife in her new duties as
state dinners, and tours abroad. As chairman of the Coronation Commission, he was the first member of the royal family to fly in a helicopter, visiting the troops that were to take part in the ceremony. Philip was not himself crowned in the coronation service, but knelt before Elizabeth, with her hands enclosing his, and swore to be her "liege man of life and limb".
In the early 1950s, Philip's sister-in-law Princess Margaret considered marrying a divorced older man, Peter Townsend. The press accused Philip of being hostile to the match, to which he replied: "I haven't done anything." Philip had not interfered, preferring to stay out of other people's love lives. Eventually, Margaret and Townsend parted. For six months, over 1953 and 1954, Philip and Elizabeth toured the Commonwealth; as with previous tours, the children were left in Britain.
Further press reports claimed that the royal couple were drifting apart, which enraged Philip and dismayed Elizabeth, who issued a strongly worded denial.
Queen's Privy Council for Canada on 14 October 1957, taking his Oath of Allegiance before the Queen in person at her Canadian residence, Rideau Hall. Remarks he made two years later to the Canadian Medical Association on the subject of youth and sport were taken as a suggestion that Canadian children were out of shape. This was at first considered "tactless", but Philip was later admired for his encouragement of physical fitness. While in Canada in 1969, Philip spoke about his views on republicanism
It is a complete misconception to imagine that the monarchy exists in the interests of the monarch. It doesn't. It exists in the interests of the people. If at any time any nation decides that the system is unacceptable, then it is up to them to change it.
At the beginning of 1981, Philip wrote to his son Charles, counselling him to make up his mind to either propose to
Lady Diana Spencer or break off their courtship. Charles felt pressured by his father to make a decision and did so, proposing to Diana in February.They married five months later. By 1992, Charles and Diana's marriage had broken down. Elizabeth and Philip hosted a meeting between them, trying to effect a reconciliation, but without success. Philip wrote to Diana, expressing his disappointment at Charles's and her extra-marital affairs and asking her to examine both his and her behaviour from the other's point of view. She found the letters hard to take but appreciated that he acted with good intent.
Charles and Diana separated before the end of 1992 and were divorced in 1996.
A year after the divorce, Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris on 31 August 1997. At the time, Philip was on holiday at Balmoral with the extended royal family. In their grief, Diana's sons, Princes William and Harry, wanted to attend church, so Elizabeth and Philip took them that morning. For five days, the royal couple shielded their grandsons from the ensuing press interest by keeping them at Balmoral, where they could grieve in private. The royal family's seclusion caused public dismay, but the public mood changed after a live broadcast made by Elizabeth on 5 September. Uncertain as to whether they should walk behind her coffin during the funeral procession, Diana's sons hesitated. Philip told William: "If you don't walk, I think you'll regret it later. If I walk, will you walk with me?" On the day of the funeral, Philip, William, Harry, Charles, and Diana's brother, Earl Spencer, walked through London behind her bier.
Over the next few years, Mohamed Al-Fayed, whose son Dodi Fayed was also killed in the crash, claimed that Philip had ordered the death of Diana and that the accident was staged. The inquest into Diana's death concluded in 2008 that there was no evidence of a conspiracy.
In April 2009, Philip became the longest-serving British royal consort, surpassing Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, wife of George III. He became the oldest-ever male British royal in February 2013 and the third-longest-lived member of the British royal family (following Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother) in April 2019. Personally, he was not enthused about living an extremely long life, remarking in a 2000 interview (when he was 79) that he could not "imagine anything worse" and had "no desire whatsoever" to become a centenarian, saying "bits of me are falling off already".
Prince Philip retired from his royal duties on 2 August 2017, meeting Royal Marines in his final solo public engagement, aged 96. Since 1952, he had completed 22,219 solo engagements. British prime minister Theresa May thanked him for "a remarkable lifetime of service". On 20 November 2017, he celebrated his 70th wedding anniversary with Elizabeth, which made her the first British monarch to celebrate a platinum wedding anniversary.
On 3 April 2018, Philip was admitted to King Edward VII's Hospital for a planned
On 17 January 2019, 97-year-old Philip was involved in a car crash as he drove out onto a main road near the
Sandringham Estate. An official statement said he was uninjured. An eyewitness who helped him out of his car said there was "a little bit of blood". The driver and a passenger of the other car were injured and taken to hospital. Philip attended hospital the next morning as a precaution. He apologised, and three weeks later voluntarily surrendered his driving licence. On 14 February, the Crown Prosecution Service announced that prosecuting Philip would not be in the public interest. Philip was still allowed to drive around private estates, and was seen behind the wheel in the grounds of Windsor Castle in April 2019.
From 20 to 24 December 2019, Philip stayed at King Edward VII's Hospital and received treatment for a "pre-existing condition" in a visit described by Buckingham Palace as a "precautionary measure".
On 9 January 2021, Philip and Elizabeth were vaccinated against
heart condition. He underwent a successful procedure for his heart condition on 3 March and was transferred back to King Edward VII's Hospital on 5 March. He was discharged on 16 March and returned to Windsor Castle.
Philip died of "old age"[fn 4] on the morning of 9 April 2021 at Windsor Castle, at the age of 99. He was the longest-serving royal consort in world history. Elizabeth, who was reportedly at her husband's bedside when he died, described his death as "having left a huge void in her life".
The palace said Philip died peacefully,
Operation Forth Bridge, the plan for publicly announcing his death and organising his funeral. The usual public ceremonial could not take place because of the regulations for the COVID-19 pandemic which restricted the number of mourners to thirty; it was later reported in the press that Elizabeth had rejected a government offer to relax the rules. The funeral took place on 17 April 2021 at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, and he was temporarily interred alongside 25 other coffins, including George III, in the Royal Vault inside St George's. Representatives of countries around the world sent condolences to the royal family upon his death.
As is precedent for senior members of the royal family, Philip's last
media storm that was feared". The court added that "a perceived lack of transparency might be a matter of legitimate public debate, but the (Non-Contentious Probate Rules) allow wills and their values to be concealed from the public gaze in some cases".
A service of thanksgiving for Philip's life took place at Westminster Abbey on 29 March 2022, with Elizabeth, foreign royalty and politicians in attendance. The royal couple's bodies were interred in the King George VI Memorial Chapel at St George's on the evening of 19 September 2022, after Elizabeth's state funeral.
Philip played polo until 1971 when he started to compete in carriage driving, a sport which he helped to expand; the early rule book was drafted under his supervision. He was also a keen yachtsman and struck up a friendship in 1949 with boat designer and sailing enthusiast Uffa Fox, in Cowes.
Philip's first airborne flying lesson took place in 1952, and by his 70th birthday, he had accrued 5,150 pilot hours.
Captain Peter Middleton, the grandfather of Philip's granddaughter-in-law Catherine. In 1959, he flew solo in a Druine Turbulent, becoming the first and, as of April 2021,[update] the only member of the royal family to have flown a single-seat aircraft.
Philip painted with oils and collected artworks, including contemporary cartoons, which hang at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Sandringham House, and Balmoral Castle. Hugh Casson described Philip's own artwork as "exactly what you'd expect ... totally direct, no hanging about. Strong colours, vigorous brushstrokes." He was patron of the Royal Society of Arts from 1952 until 2011. He was "fascinated" by cartoons about the monarchy and the royal family and was a patron of The Cartoon Museum.
Personality and image
Philip's down-to-earth manner was attested to by a
new word for his blunders: "Dontopedalogy is the science of opening your mouth and putting your foot in it, a science which I have practised for a good many years." Later in life, he suggested his comments may have contributed to the perception that he was "a cantankerous old sod".
Indigenous Australian entrepreneur: "Do you still throw spears at each other?"
In 2011, the historian David Starkey described Philip as a kind of "HRH Victor Meldrew". For example, in May 1999, British newspapers accused Philip of insulting deaf children at a pop concert in Wales by saying: "No wonder you are deaf listening to this row." Later, Philip wrote: "The story is largely invention. It so happens that my mother was quite seriously deaf and I have been Patron of the Royal National Institute for the Deaf for ages, so it's hardly likely that I would do any such thing." When he and his wife met Stephen Menary, an army cadet blinded by a Real IRA bomb, and Elizabeth enquired how much sight he retained, Philip quipped: "Not a lot, judging by the tie he's wearing." Menary later said: "I think he just tries to put people at ease by trying to make a joke. I certainly didn't take any offence." Philip's comparison of prostitutes and wives was also perceived as offensive after he reportedly stated: "I don't think a prostitute is more moral than a wife, but they are doing the same thing."
To mark Prince Philip's centenary, the
Palace of Holyroodhouse. Titled Prince Philip: A Celebration, it showcased around 150 personal items related to him, including his wedding card, wedding menu, midshipman's logbook from 1940 to 1941, Chair of Estate, and the coronation robes and coronet that he wore for his wife's coronation in 1953.George Alexis Weymouth's portrait of Philip in the ruins of the castle after the fire of 1992 formed part of a focus on Philip's involvement with the subsequent restoration.
The Royal Horticultural Society also marked Philip's centenary by breeding a new rose in his honour. Created by British rose breeder Harkness Roses, it was christened "The Duke of Edinburgh Rose". The Queen, the patron of the society, was given the deep pink commemorative rose in honour of her husband, and she remarked that "It looks lovely". A Duke of Edinburgh Rose has since been planted in the mixed rose border of Windsor Castle's East Terrace Garden. Philip played a major role in the garden's design.
In September 2021, the
state-of-the-art lifeboat Duke of Edinburgh. The tribute was initially planned to mark his 100th birthday. In the same month, a documentary initially planned for his centenary was broadcast on BBC One under the title Prince Philip: The Royal Family Remembers, with contributions from his children, their spouses, and seven of his grandchildren.
Philip held many titles throughout his life. Originally holding the title and style of a
British duke, among other noble titles. Elizabeth formally issued letters patent in 1957 making him a British prince.
When addressing the Duke of Edinburgh, as with any male member of the royal family except the monarch, the rules of etiquette were to address him the first time as Your Royal Highness and after that as Sir.
Honours and honorary military appointments
Philip was awarded medals from Britain, France, and Greece for his service during World War II, as well as ones commemorating the coronations of George VI and Elizabeth II and the silver, gold and diamond jubilees of Elizabeth.
Upon a coronet of a son of the sovereign proper, the royal helm or.[page needed]
Greece), Third: Argent two pallets sable (for Battenberg and Mountbatten), Fourth: Argent upon a rock proper a castle triple towered sable masoned argent windows port turret-caps and vanes gules (for Edinburgh).
Dexter, a savage crowned with a chaplet of oak leaves girt about the loins with a lion skin and supporting in the dexter hand a club proper (from the royal Greek arms); Sinister, a lion queue fourché ducally crowned or and gorged with a naval coronet azure (based on Battenberg arms).
The arms of Denmark and Greece, as well as Mountbatten, represent the Duke of Edinburgh's familial lineage. The arms of the City of Edinburgh represent Philip's dukedom. The naval crown collar alludes to Philip's naval career.
From 1947 to 1949: "
Royal Arms differenced with a label of three points argent, the middle point charged with a rose gules and each of the others with an ermine spot. The shield is encircled by the Garter and ensigned with a princely coronet of crosses pattée and fleurs-de-lis, above which is placed a barred helm affronte, and thereon the crest; out of a ducal coronet or, a plume of five ostrich feathers alternately sable and argent. The supporters are, dexter, the figure of Hercules proper, and sinister, a lion queue fourché ducally crowned or, gorged with a naval coronet azure."[page needed
, and raised to £165,000 by the Civil List (Increase of Financial Provision) Order 1984.
^In England and Wales, "old age" may be given as a cause of death for a decedent aged 80 or older by a physician who has "cared for the deceased over a long period" and "observed a gradual decline in [the] patient's general health" if there is no known "identifiable disease or injury that contributed to the death".
^"Prince Philip a 'true friend' of Australia", The Canberra Times, Australian Associated Press, 9 April 2021, Knighted by then-prime minister Tony Abbott in 2015, the Duke of Edinburgh played an unwitting role in Mr Abbott's downfall.
1 Not a British prince by birth, but created Prince Consort. 2 Not a British prince by birth, but created a Prince of the United Kingdom. Princes whose titles were removed and eligible people who do not use the title are shown in italics.
1 Also prince of Norway 2 Also prince of Greece 3 Also prince of Iceland 4 Also prince of the United Kingdom 5 Not Danish prince by birth, but created prince of Denmark Princes that lost their title are shown in italics