Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh Turns Eighty-Eight
Happy birthday to HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who turns 88 years old today!
Prince Philip was born HRH Prince Philippos of Greece and Denmark on the Greek island of Corfu on June 10, 1921. His entrance into the world was rather unusual for a royal prince: he was born on a kitchen table at the Mon-Repos Palace. Not long after his birth, his family fled from Greece to France after the king was forced to abdicate. His father, Prince Andrew, was accused of war crimes and later narrowly escaped conviction and execution.
Though he was born a Greek prince, Philip has always had connections to Britain. His mother was born HSH Princess Alice of Battenberg, daughter of the 1st Marquess of Milford Haven, at Windsor Castle with her great-grandmother Queen Victoria in attendance. Princess Alice’s brother, the 1st Earl of Mountbatten of Burma, was an officer in the British Royal Navy and one of Philip’s mentors. Philip also spent much of his childhood in the United Kingdom, attending school at Cheam, Gordonstoun, and the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth. After finishing at Dartmouth, he continued to follow in his uncle’s footsteps, serving in the Royal Navy for many years, including the duration of World War II.
In 1947, Philip married another of Queen Victoria’s descendents, HRH The Princess Elizabeth, daughter and heir of George VI. Philip had already become a British subject, renouncing his claims to the thrones of Greece and Denmark and his royal title in the process, and had taken on the Anglicized surname of Mountbatten. The evening before his wedding, Philip was created Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, and Baron Greenwich by his new father-in-law, and he received the style of His Royal Highness.
When the king died in 1952, Prince Philip became consort to the new queen, Elizabeth II, though he has never been given the title of Prince Consort. But even without that official title, earlier this year, Philip became the longest-serving consort to any British monarch; he has now been consort to The Queen for 57 years, surpassing the record of George III’s consort, Queen Charlotte. Though he is now in his late eighties, Philip continues a demanding schedule of royal duties, conducting solo engagements as well as accompanying The Queen.
According to the Royal Diary, Prince Philip will be participating in four official engagements on his birthday. He will present the Tribology Gold Medal at Buckingham Palace, hold receptions at Buckingham Palace for the Special Boat Service Association and VisitBritain, and attend receptions at St. James’s Palace for young people who have attained the Gold Standard in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme.
There will also be a birthday parade on Saturday, though it won’t be for him. Instead, he will help celebrate the official birthday of his wife, The Queen, whose real birthday is in April. She had the following to say about her consort on the event of their diamond anniversary in 2007: “He is someone who doesn’t take easily to compliments. But he has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim or we shall ever know.”
The Telegraph added these kind birthday wishes this week, which I and many others doubtlessly echo: “We offer him our gratitude for [his] tireless service, and hearty birthday wishes. Between his handing out of medals and awards, we trust he will find a moment to be celebrated himself.”
Indeed. Here’s to a happy eighty-eighth and many more in the future!The United Kingdom
Tagged Biography, Birthday, The Duke of Edinburgh.