As we quickly approach the 92nd birthday of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, I thought it would be fun to determine how dependent the survival of the British Monarchy is on him. He has spent the majority of his life playing “second fiddle” to his wife, Her Majesty the Queen. Without the constant support of Prince Philip, many people (his family included) believe that the Queen would not have been able to survive the good and bad times that have rocked her 60 year reign.
Born 10 June 1921, Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark was the only son of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg. He had four older sisters: Margarita, Theodora, Cecilie, and Sophie. Throughout this lifetime, his family faced many hardships within their Greek monarchy. His uncle, His Majesty King Constantine I of Greece, was forced to abdicate soon after his [Prince Philip’s] birth in September 1922. The Greek Royal Family was then forced to move to France. Another uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten was assassinated by the IRA (Provisional Irish Republican Army) in 1979.
After his marriage to the then Princess Elizabeth on 20 November 1947, he began to undertake a large amount of the load that had been placed solely on his wife’s shoulders. In 1948, Prince Philip and (the former) Princess Elizabeth welcomed a son. Prince Philip’s “job” of producing a male heir had been accomplished. Two years later, the young couple welcomed another child, their first and only daughter. On 6 February 1952, Prince Philip’s life changed forever. His Majesty King George VI had died peacefully in his sleep and his wife was now Queen. The first task in his role as consort: break the news of her father’s death to his wife.
Since that historical day in February 1952, Prince Philip has been a constant figure of support to his wife and his country. He has walked with her every step of the way, through good and bad times. When Prince Philip became ill and was taken to hospital during Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, there was a palpable absence that radiated through the crowds. Although this allowed the public to visualize the future of the British Monarchy, it was shocking to see Queen Elizabeth II without her husband at such an important event. His absence left a somber feeling on the Jubilee celebrations despite the excitement that had been charged throughout the buildup of events. The crowds’ cheers rang through the streets of London as the Prince of Wales paid tribute to his mother and asked the crowds to cheer loudly so his father “could hear them in hospital.”
The value of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh has never been more clear than now. As he grows older, he is starting to depend on his children and grandchildren to lighten his load. His Royal Highness Prince William, Duke of Cambridge has received on of Prince Philip’s conservation charities (Field of Trust). With his terrific example, the British Monarchy has no choice but to prosper under the watchful eyes of Their Royal Highness Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge