The queen’s most loyal sub­ject

Cape Breton Post - - Perspectives -

Prince Philip, Queen El­iz­a­beth II’s con­sort, has de­cided to no longer han­dle solo pub­lic en­gage­ments. Here’s a brief look at the monarch’s most loyal sub­ject as he be­gins re­tire­ment.


Prince Philip of Greece and Den­mark was born on Corfu on June 10, 1921, to Princess Alice of Bat­ten­burg and Prince An­drew of Greece. When his un­cle, King Con­stan­tine, was forced to ab­di­cate in 1922, 18-month old Philip was evac­u­ated on a Royal Navy ship — car­ried to safety in a cot made from an orange box. The fam­ily first set­tled in France, but his mother be­gan to suf­fer men­tal health is­sues. At age 8, he trav­elled to Eng­land to live with his grand­mother and un­cle.


Philip be­gan his naval ca­reer at the Bri­tan­nia Royal Naval Col­lege in 1939, and had a promis­ing ca­reer. He joined the bat­tle­ship HMS Ramil­lies in 1940. He later served on the HMS Valiant and is men­tioned in dis­patches for ac­tions in the Bat­tle of Mat­a­pan af­ter spot­ting an un­ex­pected enemy ves­sel. He rose through the ranks to be a com­man­der.


Philip first caught the at­ten­tion of his 13-year-old cousin El­iz­a­beth when she vis­ited the naval col­lege with her fam­ily. In 1943, Philip stayed with royal fam­ily a num­ber of times dur­ing home leave. Af­ter one visit at Christ­mas, Princess El­iz­a­beth placed photo of him on her dress­ing ta­ble.

Two years af­ter the war ended, they mar­ried in 1947 at West­min­ster Abbey. Philip’s naval ca­reer came to an abrupt end with the death of his fa­ther-in­law, King Ge­orge VI, in 1952, and he set­tled into a life sup­port­ing his wife as queen. They have four chil­dren: Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince An­drew and Prince Ed­ward.


The Duke of Ed­in­burgh has long cham­pi­oned en­vi­ron­men­tal and con­ser­va­tion is­sues, and has in­ter­ests in science, en­gi­neer­ing and in­dus­try. He was an ac­com­plished sports­man and has been a pa­tron, pres­i­dent or a mem­ber of more than 780 or­ga­ni­za­tions. An ac­com­plished sports­man, Philip played polo reg­u­larly un­til 1971. He earned his RAF wings in 1953, his heli­copter wings in 1956 and his pri­vate pi­lot’s li­cense in 1959.

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