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Prince Philip: From Exile to Patriarch

Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark was born in Mon Repos on the Greek island of Corfu on June 10, 1921 to Princess Alice of Battenberg and Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark. He was the fifth and last child of Prince Andrew and Princess and the only son they had. Prince Philip was born a member of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg and was baptized Greek Orthodox.

Prince Philip was just an infant when his family was exiled from Greece. He was often moved around a lot as child, staying with various relatives due to his father’s various military duties and his mother being diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Prince Philip was educated in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. In 1928 Philip went to live with his maternal uncle the Marquis of Milford Haven George Mountbatten at Lynden Manor in Bray, Berkshire. Over the next few years his sister all married German nobleman and his mother was put away in an insane asylum, he little contact with his mother for the rest of his childhood.

In 1939 at the age of 18 Prince Philip joined the Royal Navy. Prince Philip had previously met Princess Elizabeth in 1934 and by July of 1939 he began corresponding with the then 13 year old Princess, who fell in love with him after joining her father, King George VI, during a tour of the Royal Naval Collage, which he was attending at the time. During World War II Philip served with the pacific and Mediterranean fleets. It was during this time Prince Philip drifted around, living again with various relatives and having no fixed address.

It was during the summer of 1946 that Prince Philip asked George VI to marry Princess Elizabeth, which the King granted on the condition that any formal engagement announcement be postponed until Elizabeth’s 21st birthday. By March 1947 Prince Philip had abandoned his Greek and Danish royal titles and converted from Greek Orthodox to the Church of England. He also changed his name to Philip Mountbatten, a surname he adopted from his maternal grandparents, and became a naturalized British citizen.

On July 10, 1947 the engagement of Prince Philip and Princess Elizabeth was officially announced. Five months later on November 20, 1947 Philip and Elizabeth where married in Westminster Abby. Upon his marriage to Princess Elizabeth, Prince Philip was created the Duke of Edinburgh. The Duke soon returned to his military career. In 1948 Philip and Elizabeth welcomed their first child, Prince Charles, and in 1950 they welcomed their second child, Princess Anne.

On February 6, 1957 King George VI passed away and Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth II. Philip left the military soon after Elizabeth became Queen. He had reached the rank of Commander. In 1957 Prince Philip was made a Prince of the United Kingdom and three years later in 1960 Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth welcomed their third child, Prince Andrew, followed four years later by their fourth and last child, Prince Edward.

At 95 years old, Prince Philip is not only the oldest ever male member of the British Royal family but is also the longest serving consort of a reigning British monarch. Together he and Queen Elizabeth have four children, eight grand-children, and five great-grand-children. As well as being one of the busiest members of the royal family Prince Philip patronizes over 800 charities and is the chairman of the Duke of Edinburgh’s award.

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