June 10, 2020.
Today HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh celebrates his 99 Birthday.
Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark was born in the villa Mon Repos on the Greek island of Corfu on 10 June 1921, the only son and fifth and final child of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg. A member of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, itself a branch of the House of Oldenburg, he was a prince of both Greece and Denmark by virtue of his patrilineal descent from King George I of Greece and King Christian IX of Denmark and he was from birth in the line of succession to both thrones; Philip’s four elder sisters were Margarita, Theodora, Cecilie, and Sophie. He was baptised in the Greek Orthodox rite at St George’s Church in Corfu.
The Greek-Turkish War 1919-1922 went badly for Greece, and the Turks made large gains. On 22 September 1922, Philip’s uncle, King Constantine I, was forced to abdicate and the new Greek military government arrested Prince Andrew, along with others. His family were banished from Greece, the British naval vessel HMS Calypso evacuated Prince Andrew’s family, with Philip carried to safety in a cot made from a fruit box. Philip’s family went to France.
Because Philip left Greece as a baby, he does not speak Greek. In 1992, he said that he “could understand a certain amount”. Philip has stated that he thought of himself as Danish, and his family spoke English, French, and German.
In 1928, he was sent to the United Kingdom to attend school living with his maternal grandmother, Victoria Mountbatten, Dowager Marchioness of Milford-Haven, at Kensington Palace. In the next three years, his four sisters married 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 with his new mistress. Philip had little contact with his mother for the remainder of his childhood. It was his uncle Lord Louis Mountbatten who became his tutor. In March 1947, Philip had abandoned his Greek and Danish royal titles, had adopted the surname Mountbatten and became a British subject.
The day before the wedding, King George VI bestowed the style of Royal Highness on Philip and, on the morning of the wedding, 20 November 1947, he was made the Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, and Baron Greenwich. Consequently, being already a Knight of the Garter, between 19 and 20 November 1947. He married Princess Elizabeth in 1947 and on her accession to the Throne in 1952 the now Queen Elizabeth announced that the Duke was to have “place, pre-eminence and precedence” next to her “on all occasions and in all meetings, except where otherwise provided by Act of Parliament”.
Philip was not 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”. On 22 February 1957, she granted her husband the style and title of a Prince of the United Kingdom, and it was gazetted that he was to be known as “His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh”. Philip was appointed to the 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 in Ottawa.
HRH Prince Philip, his Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Canadian Regiment
Official 99th Birthday portrait taken this week at Windsor Castle.
Coat of Arms of HRH Prince Philip