Prince Phillip (Royal Gov)


Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh is the husband of Queen Elizabeth II. He is the United Kingdom’s longest-serving consort and the oldest serving spouse of a reigning British monarch.


Early Life


A Young Phillip (Royal Gov)


The Duke of Edinburgh was born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark in Corfu on 10 June 1921.

He was the only son of Prince Andrew of Greece, who was the younger brother of King Constantine of Greece. His paternal family is of Danish descent, as Prince Andrew was the grandson of King Christian IX of Denmark.

His mother was Princess Alice of Battenberg, the eldest child of Prince Louis of Battenberg and sister of Earl Mountbatten of Burma. Prince Louis became a naturalised British subject in 1868, joined the Royal Navy and rose to become an Admiral of the Fleet and First Sea Lord in 1914.

During the First World War, Prince Louis changed the family name to Mountbatten and was created Marquess of Milford Haven. Prince Philip adopted the family name of Mountbatten when he became a naturalised British subject and renounced his Royal title in 1947.

Prince Philip had four older sisters: Princess Margarita (1905-81), Princess Theodora (1906-69), Princess Cécile (1911-37), and Princess Sophie (1914-2001).

In the early 1920s Greece was politically unstable and in 1922 the King of Greece, Constantine I, was forced to abdicate the throne. A revolutionary court sentenced Prince Andrew, his younger brother, to death.

King George V ordered that a Royal Navy ship should evacuate the family, and Philip was carried to safety in a cot made from an orange box in December 1922. He was just 18 months old.

The family settled in Paris, first in a house in the Bois de Boulogne, then in a property in the St-Cloud district.




Phillip at Gordonstoun (Royal Gov)


Prince Philip started school in France but came to England to attend Cheam Preparatory School in 1928. He left at 12 to spend a year at Salem School in south Germany. He then went to Gordonstoun School in Morayshire (which all three of his sons also attended). He became Head of the School and Captain of Hockey and Cricket. He also took part in sailing expeditions around the coast of Scotland and to Norway.


Naval Career


Prince Philip with fellow officers on HMS Whelp, 1944-46 (Royal Gov)


Prince Philip left Gordonstoun in 1939 and joined the Royal Navy as a Cadet.

He completed his initial training at RNC Dartmouth, where he was awarded the King’s Dirk and a prize as the best Cadet of his entry.

In 1940, he joined the battleship HMS RAMILLIES in Colombo as a Midshipman and spent the following six months in the Indian Ocean.

In January 1941 he joined the battleship HMS VALIANT in Alexandria. During the night action off Cape Matapan, he was in charge of VALIANT’s searchlight control, for which he was mentioned in despatches.

Having qualified for promotion to Sub-Lieutenant, he returned home and, after taking a series of technical courses, was appointed to the destroyer HMS WALLACE based at Rosyth for convoy escort duties on the east coast.

He was promoted to Lieutenant on 16 July 1942 and in October he was appointed First Lieutenant (second in command) of WALLACE at the unusually early age of 21. In July 1943, WALLACE took part in the Allied landings on Sicily.

After further courses, he was appointed as First Lieutenant of the new Fleet Destroyer HMS WHELP, which was then being built on the Tyne.

After commissioning, WHELP first joined the 27th Destroyer Flotilla and sailed for the Indian Ocean to join the British Pacific Fleet.

WHELP was present in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese signed the surrender. After the Japanese surrender, Prince Philip served continuously onboard WHELP throughout the following months. WHELP returned home in January 1946.

After instructing in the Petty Officers’ School and attending the Naval Staff College at Greenwich, he was appointed First Lieutenant of HMS CHEQUERS in 1949. CHEQUERS was Leader of the First Destroyer Flotilla in the Mediterranean Fleet.

He was promoted to Lieutenant-Commander in 1950 and then appointed in command of the Frigate HMS MAGPIE.

In 1952 he was promoted to Commander, but his naval career came to an end on the death of his father-in-law, King George VI.


Marriage and Family


The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh with their children (left to right, Prince Edward, later The Earl of Wessex, The Prince of Wales, Princess Anne, later The Princess Royal, and Prince Andrew, later The Duke of York) in the grounds of Balmoral Castle, September 1979. © Press Association


The engagement of Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten to Princess Elizabeth was announced in July 1947 and the marriage took place in Westminster Abbey on 20 November.

Shortly before the wedding, the bridegroom was created Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich with the style of His Royal Highness and appointed a Knight of the Garter by the King.

The Queen and Prince Philip had two children before (Prince Charles and Princess Anne) and two after (Prince Andrew and Prince Edward) The Queen succeeded to the throne.


Military Involvement


The Duke of Edinburgh meets war veterans at the annual opening of the Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey. (Royal Gov)


Although Prince Philip gave up his active naval career in July 1951, he remains to this day closely connected to, and actively interested in, every branch of Service life.

In 1952, he was appointed Admiral of the Sea Cadet Corps, Colonel-in-Chief of the Army Cadet Force and Air Commodore-in-Chief of the Air Training Corps.

The following year he was promoted to Admiral of the Fleet and appointed Field Marshal and Marshal of the Royal Air Force.

He is also Captain-General of the Royal Marines and Colonel-in-Chief, or Colonel, of a number of British and overseas regiments.


Public Work


The Duke of Edinburgh signs the book of condolence for the victims of the recent earthquake in New Zealand, New Zealand High Commission, London, 24 February 2011.(Royal Gov)


Since The Queen’s accession, The Duke of Edinburgh has played a prominent part in many aspects of national life.

The Duke of Edinburgh accompanies The Queen on all her Commonwealth tours and State visits overseas, as well as on tours and visits to all parts of the United Kingdom. He has also travelled abroad a great deal on his own account.

He is patron or president of some 800 organisations, with special interests in scientific and technological research and development, the encouragement of sport, the welfare of young people, and conservation and the environment.

Industry is a particular interest, and there is hardly an aspect of the UK’s industrial life with which Prince Philip is not familiar.

He has visited research stations and laboratories, coalmines and factories, engineering works and industrial plants – all with the aim of understanding, and contributing to the improvement of, British industrial life.

As Patron of The Work Foundation, he has sponsored six conferences on the human problems of industrial communities within the Commonwealth.

The environment is another key interest. Since visiting Antarctica and the South Atlantic in 1956-57, Prince Philip has devoted himself to raising public awareness of the relationship of humanity with the environment.


Duke Of Edinburgh Award


Prince Phillip as Patron of the DE Award (Royal Gov)


Inspired by the Moray Badge, which he had worked for whilst a pupil at Gordonstoun School, The Duke of Edinburgh launched a pilot award scheme ‘for Boys’ in 1956 as its chairman.

The first Gold Awards were made in 1958, when a parallel scheme ‘for Girls’ was piloted, and the charity was established in 1959. A combined scheme for ‘Young People’ aged 14 to 21 was launched in 1969, and extended to those up to 25 in 1980.

The three Award levels, Bronze, Silver and Gold, include four sections: service, expeditions, skills and physical recreation. Perhaps more than anything else, this challenging programme demonstrates The Prince’s keen interest in and support for the personal development of young people.

More than four million people in over 60 countries have taken part since its inception in 1956.

Prince Philip has served as the scheme’s Patron and Chairman of Trustees since its beginning, and devotes much time presenting Gold awards and meeting both participants and helpers, in the UK and overseas


The Prince Philip Designers Prize


The Duke of Edinburgh inspects the Grid Compass computer, the world's first laptop designed by Bill Moggridge who was the 2010 winner of the Prince Philip Designers Prize, London, 9 November 2010. © Design Council


The Prince Philip Designers Prize was created in 1959 by The Duke of Edinburgh as a response to post-war austerity.

Initially known as The Duke of Edinburgh’s Prize for Elegant Design, the award recognised products that stood out from the largely functional designs of the late 1950s. Its aim was to stimulate and reward elegant solutions to design problems.

Since then, the Prince Philip Designers Prize has rewarded the best in design from products and graphics to buildings and feats of engineering, and put the spotlight on designers for influencing and shaping daily life.

The first winner was Charles Longman, for the ingeniously minimalist Prestcold Packaway refrigerator, designed to fit into cramped kitchens.

Today, the emphasis of the prize is on the enduring contributions of designers themselves to the profile of design among businesses and the public. Since 1990 the prize in its current form has honoured some of the grandees of British design including James Dyson (1997), Terence Conran (2003), Norman Foster (2004) and, in 2001, Kenneth Grange, the prize’s only double winner.

The prize goes to an individual designer or a leader of a design team, selected from nominations by these professional bodies and educational institutions:

The judging panel is chaired by The Duke of Edinburgh himself. A winner is chosen based on the quality, originality and commercial success of their work, and the designer’s overall contribution to the standing of design, and to design education.

The winner receives a certificate signed by Prince Philip, and the judges may also award Special Commendations.

You can find out more about the Prince Philip Designers Prize, including information about winners and nominees on the Design Council website.




The Duke of Edinburgh attends an Honorary Degree Congregation at Senate-House in his role as Chancellor, University of Cambridge, in 2007. © Press Association


King George VI created Prince Philip a Knight of the Order of the Garter in 1947. In April 1952 The Queen created The Duke of Edinburgh a Knight of the Thistle.

The following September she declared by Royal Warrant that he had ‘place, pre-eminence and precedence’ next to herself ‘on all occasions and in all meetings, except where otherwise provided by Act of Parliament’.

In February 1957 it was announced that The Queen had granted to The Duke of Edinburgh the style and dignity of a Prince of the United Kingdom, and that in future he would be known as ‘The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh’.

On his 47th birthday, in June 1968, she appointed him to the Order of Merit.

The Duke of Edinburgh holds many foreign decorations and has received Honorary Degrees from a number of universities.

He is Chancellor of the Universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh, a former Chancellor of the Universities of Wales and Salford, and a life Governor of King’s College in the University of London.


Activities and Interests 


The Duke Edinburgh competes in the Horse Driving Trials at the Sandringham Country Show in 2005. His Royal Highness took up carriage driving in 1972 when he gave up playing polo. © Press Association


His special interests are in scientific and technological research and development, the encouragement of sport, the welfare of young people, and conservation and the environment.

There is hardly an aspect of the UK’s industrial life with which Prince Philip is not familiar.

His Royal Highness has visited research stations and laboratories, coalmines and factories, engineering works and industrial plants – all with the aim of understanding, and contributing to the improvement of, British industrial life.

As Patron of the Industrial Society, he has sponsored six conferences on the Human Problems of Industrial Communities within the Commonwealth. He was President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1952.

Prince Philip was the first President of World Wildlife Fund – UK (WWF) from its formation in 1961 to 1982, and International President of WWF (later the World Wide Fund for Nature) from 1981 to 1996. He is now President Emeritus of WWF.

The Duke of Edinburgh has served as Chancellor of the Universities of Cambridge (1976-), Edinburgh (1952-), Salford (1967-91) and Wales (1948-76). He is also a Life Governor of King’s College, London and Patron of London Guildhall University.

The Prince took up polo while serving in Malta and played regularly until 1971. He has also represented Great Britain at several European and World four-in-hand Driving Championships. He was President of the International Equestrian Federation from 1964 to 1986.

The Duke is President of Central Council of Physical Recreation (CCPR), Admiral of the Royal Yacht Squadron, and has twice served as President of the Marylebone Cricket Club (the MCC). He is also Grand Master of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators of the British Empire, and Master of Trinity House.



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Posted by mousiekins
Dated: 5th November 2011
Filled Under: Royal Bio, Royalty