Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II's husband, passes away at 99: Here's a look at the eventful life of the longest-serving royal consort

FPJ Web Desk | Updated on: Friday, April 09, 2021, 05:42 PM IST

Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II's husband, passes away at 99: Here's a look at the eventful life of the longest-serving royal consort | AFP Photo
Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II's husband, passes away at 99: Here's a look at the eventful life of the longest-serving royal consort | AFP Photo

Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, passed away on Friday, announced the Royal Family. He was 99.

"It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh," the Royal Family said in a statement.

"His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle. The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss," the statement further read.

Reportedly, the Duke of Edinburgh had been hospitalised to the private King Edward VII's Hospital in London on February 16, where he was treated for an infection.

He was later transferred to St. Bartholomew's, a specialized cardiac care hospital, for a short stay. He was then again taken to King Edward VII's, and was discharged on March 16 to return to Windsor Castle.

Philip is survived by the Queen and their four children — Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward — as well as eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

The grandchildren are Charles’ sons, Prince William and Prince Harry; Anne’s children, Peter and Zara Phillips; Andrew’s daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie; and Edward’s children, Lady Louise and Viscount Severn.

The great-grandchildren are William and Kate’s children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis; Harry and Meghan’s son, Archie; Savannah and Isla, the daughters of Peter Phillips and his wife, Autumn; Mia and Lena, the daughters of Zara Phillips and her husband, Mike Tindall; and Eugenie’s son, August, with her husband, Jack Brooksbank.

Here's a brief journey of Prince Philip:

Early life:

Prince Philip was born on the Greek island of Corfu on June 10, 1921. His father was Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark, a younger son of King George I of the Hellenes. His mother, Princess Alice, was a daughter of Lord Louis Mountbatten and a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria.

Philip's family belonged to the royal Danish House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg, which had been installed on the Greek throne at the end of the 19th century. They were exiled from Greece after a anti-monarchy court banished Philip’s father Prince Andrew for life. The family fled on a British Royal Navy warship in which the young prince reportedly slept in a crib that had been fashioned from an old orange box.

Philip’s parents drifted apart when he was a child, and Andrew died in Monte Carlo in 1944. Alice founded a religious order that did not succeed and spent her old age at Buckingham Palace. A reclusive figure, often dressed in a nun’s habit, she was little seen by the British public. She died in 1969 and was posthumously honored by Britain and Israel for sheltering a Jewish family in Nazi-occupied Athens during the war.

Philip went to school in Britain and entered Britannia Royal Naval College Dartmouth as a cadet in 1939. He got his first posting in 1940 but was not allowed near the main war zone because he was a foreign prince of a neutral nation. When the Italian invasion of Greece ended that neutrality, he joined the war, serving on battleships in the Indian Ocean, the Mediterranean, and the Pacific.

Marriage with Queen Elizabeth II:

When Prince Philip was at the Royal Naval College at Dartmouth, he spent significant time with his future wife, a distant cousin. (The two had the same great-great-grandparents, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.) The duo used to even exchange letters. During a visit to Balmoral Castle in Scotland in 1946, they decided to get married. The King agreed to the marriage but asked that they keep the engagement secret until after Elizabeth’s 21st birthday. The couple married at Westminster Abbey in November 1947. Reportedly, the ceremony was broadcast on the radio to over 200 million people.

According to a HuffPost report, Prince Philip abandoned his Greek and Danish royal titles and became a British citizen before their wedding. He was given several royal titles including Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich. However, he wasn’t formally made a prince of the United Kingdom until 1957.

Prince Philip was the longest-serving consort in British history. He retired from public engagements in 2017 after carrying out more than 22,000 of them since his wife’s coronation. Besides, he painted, collected modern art, and was interested in indus trial design and planned a garden at Windsor Castle.

Over the decades, Philip’s image changed from that of a handsome, dashing athlete to arrogant and insensitive. In his later years, the image finally settled into that of a droll and philosophical observer of the times, an elderly, craggy-faced man who maintained his military bearing despite ailments.

His position was a challenging one — there is no official role for the husband of a sovereign queen — and his life was marked by extraordinary contradictions between his public and private duties. He always walked three paces behind his wife in public, in a show of deference to the monarch, but he was the head of the family in private. "Constitutionally, I don’t exist," Philip had once said.

Philip was also known for his occasionally racist and sexist remarks. He also had an uncomfortable relationship with the press, whom he labelled "bloody reptiles". Reportedly, he had coined the word "dontopedalogy", which meant the art of putting one's foot in one's mouth.

The Duke of Edinburgh will be remembered for being blunt, outspoken, charming and witty, all at the same time.

(With inputs from AP)


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Published on: Friday, April 09, 2021, 05:42 PM IST