The first news I heard this morning in a special news bulletin on the CBC was of the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, husband to Her Majesty the Queen. It really is for us Canadians the end of an era. After 70 years of distinguish public duty at the age of 99. The longest serving Prince Consort in Canadian and British history.
His childhood was one of adversity, his family was forced from Greece into exile, his parents Prince Andrew and Princess Alice separated and he spent his childhood moving from one relative to another and going to many different schools.
Born at the Palace of Mon Repos on the Isle of Corfu in Greece on June 10, 1921, Prince of Greece and Denmark, Philip’s four older sisters were Margharita, Theodora, Cecilie, and Sophie.
He was born in Greece, but his family was exiled from the country when he was eighteen months old. After being educated in France, Germany and the United Kingdom, he joined the British Royal Navy in 1939, aged 18. From July 1939, he began corresponding with the thirteen-year-old, Princess Elizabeth whom he had first met in 1934. During the Second World War he served with distinction in the Mediterranean and Pacific Fleets. After the war, Philip was granted permission by King George VI to marry Elizabeth. Before the official announcement of their engagement in July 1947, he renounced his Greek and Danish titles and styles, changed his religion from Greek Orthodox to Anglican, became a British Subject and adopted his maternal grandparents’ surname Mountbatten. He married Princess Elizabeth on 20 November 1947. Just before the wedding, he was granted the style His Royal Highness and created Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, and Baron Greenwich by King George VI. Philip left active military service when Elizabeth became queen in 1952, having reached the rank of commander of the British Navy, and was made Prince of Great Britain, on their 10th Wedding Anniversary in 1957 by his wife Queen Elizabeth.
Philip had four children with Elizabeth: HRH Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Heir to the Throne; HRH Princess Anne, The Princess Royal; HRH Prince Andrew, Duke of York; and HRH Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.
A sports enthusiast, Philip helped develop the equestrian event of carriage driving. He was a patron, president, or member of over 780 organizations, and he served as chairman of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, a self-improvement program for young people aged 14 to 24. He was the longest-serving consort of a reigning British monarch and the longest-lived male member of the British royal family. He retired from his royal duties on 2 August 2017, aged 96, having completed 22,219 solo engagements since 1952.
The Queen referred to Prince Philip in a speech on the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee in 2012 as her “constant strength”.
His favourite Hymn called the Sailor’s Hymn, Eternal Father, Strong to Save.