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Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Prince PhilipPrince PhilipPrince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark at Mon Repos on the Greek island of Corfu on 10 June 1921. He was the only son and fifth child of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark, the son of King George I of Greece and Olga Constantinovna of Russia and Princess Alice of Battenberg, daughter of Prince Louis of Battenberg and his wife Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine, who was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria. The Greek Royal House were an offshoot of the Danish Oldenburg dynasty, who were invited to take up the throne of Greece.

He was baptised into the Greek Orthodox Church with the name Philippos. His godparents were his paternal grandmother Queen Olga of Greece and the Mayor of Corfu. Philip experienced a tumultuous childhood, his father Prince Andrew commanded an army division in the Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922) while his mother acted as a nurse, assisting at operations and setting up field hospitals.

The war went badly for Greece, and on 22 September 1922, King Constantine I, who was Philip's uncle, was forced to abdicate from the Greek throne. The new military government of Greece arrested Prince Andrew he was court-martialled and found guilty of "disobeying an order" and "acting on his own initiative" during the battle of the Sakarya, fought during the previous year.

Many defendants in the treason trials that followed were shot. British diplomats assumed that Andrew was also in mortal danger. He escaped execution but a revolutionary court banished him from Greece for life. The British naval vessel HMS Calypso evacuated Prince Andrew's family from the country, with Philip carried to safety in a cot made from a fruit box. The family travelled to France, where they settled in the Paris suburb of Saint-Cloud in a house lent to them by Prince Andrew's wealthy sister-in-law, Marie Bonaparte, Princess George of Greece and Denmark.

In 1928, the young Philip was sent to England to attend Cheam School, he lived with his maternal grandmother, Princess Victoria, at Kensington Palace and with his uncle, George Mountbatten, 2nd Marquess of Milford Haven, at Lynden Manor in Bray, Berkshire. By 1930, his parents had drifted apart,  Prince Andrew went to live in the South of France. Philip's four sisters, Margarita, Theodora, Cecilie and Spohie married German noblemen and moved to Germany. His mother Princess Alice, experienced a nervous breakdown was placed in an asylum in Switzerland after being diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. while his father relocated to the south of France, maintaining only limited contact. Philip had little contact with his mother for the rest of his childhood. In 1933, he was sent to Schule Schloss Salem in Germany, which was owned by the family of his brother-in-law, Berthold, Margrave of Baden. The rise of Nazism in Germany, led Salem's Jewish founder, Kurt Hahn, to flee, he founded Gordonstoun School in Scotland. After two terms at Salem, Philip moved to Gordonstoun.

Prince PhilipAfter leaving Gordonstoun in 1939, Prince Philip joined the Royal Navy. Under the guidance of his uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten, he renounced his Greek titles and was formally naturalised as a British subject. During the Second World War, he continued to serve in the British forces, while two of his brothers-in-law, Prince Christopher of Hesse and Berthold, Margrave of Baden, fought on the opposing German side. He took part in the Allied landings in Sicily and was in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese surrendered in 1945. 

Before the end of the war years, Philip met his future wife in 1939, when King George VI and Queen Elizabeth toured the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth. During the visit, the Queen and Earl Mountbatten asked Philip to escort the King's two daughters, Elizabeth and Margaret. They began to exchange letters when Elizabeth was thirteen. Philip formed a relationship with the young Princess Elizabeth. Her father, George VI, although he liked Philip, would not at first give his consent for the marriage, doubting whether his daughter's affections would remain fixed on the first young man she had met.

In the intricate web of royal genealogy, Philip was twice Elizabeth's cousin, being also descended from Queen Victoria, as are many of the royal houses of Europe. Philip's mother, Princess Alice, was the granddaughter of Princess Alice, the second daughter of Queen Victoria, who had been married to Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse, making the couple third cousins from their shared English descent. They are also second cousins once removed by their shared descent from the House of Denmark. The Queen's great-grandmother, Alexandra of Denmark, was the sister of Philip's grandfather, Prince William of Denmark, later to become George I of Greece.

Elizabeth accompanied her parents and sister on a tour of South Africa in 1947 and on her return, her feelings for Philip still constant, her father at last agreed to their engagement.

Elizabeth and Philip were married on 20th November, 1947, at Westminster Abbey. Phillip, who took his mother's Anglicized surname of Mountbatten, had become a naturalised British subject and had been created Duke of Edinburgh by his prospective father-in-law prior to the marriage.

The couple's first child, Prince Charles Phillip Arthur George of Edinburgh, later Prince of Wales was born the following year and a daughter named Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise, later created Princess Royal arrived on 15th June, 1950. Both King George VI and Queen Elizabeth doted on these grandchildren. As the King's health, never robust, continued to deteriorate, Elizabeth and her husband took on more royal duties and official tours on her father's behalf.

Prince PhilipElizabeth and Philip were on tour in a remote part of Kenya when George VI died in his sleep at Sandringham on 6th February, 1952. The onerous task of informing her of her father's death and her own consequent accession to the throne fell upon her husband. She was proclaimed Queen on the 8th of February, 1952. On the insistence of the Queen's grand-mother, Queen Mary, it was announced that the Queen and her heirs should continue to be known as the House of Windsor, to carry on the name of the dynasty founded by her husband, George V. The decision irked the forthright Philip, who is reported to have angrily exclaimed "I'm a bloody amoeba!".

On 8 February 1960, the Queen issued an Order in Council declaring that the surname of her male-line descendants who are not styled as Royal Highness, or titled as Prince or Princess, was to be Mountbatten-Windsor. It has been made known that on the death of the Queen and her husband, Prince Edward will succeed to his father's title of Duke of Edinburgh.

The Queen and Prince Philip produced what is sometimes known as their second family after her accession to the throne, Prince Andrew Albert Christian Edward, later created Duke of York, was born in 1960 and was followed by the birth of Prince Edward Anthony Richard Louis, later Earl of Wessex, in 1964.

While largely avoiding personal scandal, Philip is known for his outspoken nature and controversial remarks, for example, while visiting China in 1986, he told a group of British students that they had better not stay there too long or they would get "slitty-eyed".

Prince Philip is patron of some 800 organisations, particularly focused on the environment, industry, sport, and education. He served as UK President of the World Wildlife Fund from 1961 to 1982, International President from 1981, and President Emeritus from 1996. He is patron of The Work Foundation, was President of the International Equestrian Federation from 1964 to 1986, and has served as Chancellor of the Universities of Cambridge, Edinburgh, Salford, and Wales. During his wife's Golden Jubilee in 2002, the Duke was commended by the Speaker of the British House of Commons for his role in supporting the Queen during her reign. The Duke of Edinburgh's time as royal consort exceeds that of any other consort in British history.

The Ancestry of Prince Philip

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh Father:
Prince Andrew of Greece
and Denmark
Paternal Grandfather:
George I of Greece
Paternal Great-grandfather:
Christian IX of Denmark
Paternal Great-grandmother:
Princess Louise of Hesse-Kassel
Paternal Grandmother:
Olga Constantinovna of Russia
Paternal Great-grandfather:
Grand Duke Constantine of Russia
Paternal Great-grandmother:
Princess Alexandra of Saxe-Altenburg
Princess Alice of Battenberg
Maternal Grandfather:
Prince Louis of Battenberg
Maternal Great-grandfather:
Prince Alexander of Hesse and by Rhine
Maternal Great-grandmother:
Countess Julia Hauke
Maternal Grandmother:
Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine

Maternal Great-grandfather:
Louis IV, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine

Maternal Great-grandmother:
Princess Alice of the United Kingdom