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Philip

Philip

His Royal Highness Prince Philip, duke of Edinburgh (born 1921) has spent over fifty years by the side of his wife, Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, and has become known for his outspoken opinions. Distinguishing himself in service to the Royal Navy during World War II, Philip pursued a military career until his duties as consort to his wife required his full attention, and played an active role in promoting the interests of both the royal family and a host of other causes benefitting the British people.

Born Philip Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksberg, prince of Greece on the island of Corfu, on June 10, 1921, Philip was the youngest child and only son of Prince Andrew of Greece and wife Alice. Although of Danish and German backgrounds, Philip's parents were members of the Greek royal family. They already had four older daughters when their son arrived almost 20 years into their marriage.

Early Life of Turmoil

In the 1920s Greece was in upheaval. The form of government had changed several times in a short period, and civil war loomed as a threat. Not surprisingly, the royal family soon came under fire and in 1923 Philip's father was put on trial for treason and facing a sentence of death. Desperate to save her husband, Princess Alice appealed to British King George V for help. George V, still haunted by the murder of another relative, Nicholas II of Russia, at the hands of the Bolsheviks in 1917, sent a British cruiser to Greece to rescue the almost destitute family, which included 18-month-old Philip.

Now living in France, Philip's world dramatically changed. By 1930, with all his daughters married off, Prince Andrew abandoned his wife and ten-year-old son and went to live with his mistress. Subsequently, Philip's mother suffered an emotional breakdown. Fortunately, Philip's maternal grandmother stepped in and brought the boy to England. When she died, her oldest son, George, the marquess of Milford Haven, took responsibility for Philip, and upon George's death in 1938, his younger brother, Lord Louis Mountbatten came forward to care for his young nephew.

Philip attended school in France and England, and at the age of 12 attended school in southern Germany. Here Philip fell under the academic guidance of educational pioneer Kurt Hahn, who greatly influenced the boy. A natural athlete, Philip also developed leadership skills at school, where he became a popular student. Unfortunately, his time in Germany was cut short by the rise to power of Adolph Hitler and the Nazi Party in 1933. Within a year Hahn wisely decided to relocate his school to Scotland. He called the new school Gordonstoun, and Philip remembered his time there with such fondness that he educated his sons at Gordunstoun as well.

Began Naval Career

Graduating from Gordonstoun in 1939, 18-year-old Philip joined the Royal Navy just as Great Britain entered World War II. His first naval appointment was as a midshipman to the HMS Ramillies, which escorted Allied forces from Australia to Egypt. His leadership skills in evidence, Philip moved up the ranks of the Royal Navy, and in 1941 was mentioned in dispatches for his service in Greece during the battle of Matapan. By the summer of 1942 Philip achieved the rank of lieutenant, quickly followed by promotion to first lieutenant.

Between 1944 and 1946 Philip served aboard the destroyer HMS Whelp, stationed in the Pacific. Part of the 27th Destroyer Flotilla, the Whelp was anchored in Tokyo bay when the Japanese surrendered following the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Courting the Future Queen

In January of 1946 Philip returned to England, like many of his fellows a changed man. He was now also an experienced naval officer and hero. Before enlisting, Philip had met his distant cousin, Princess Elizabeth of England, then age thirteen; according to some sources, it was Philip's uncle, Lord Mountbatten, who orchestrated the match. He corresponded with Elizabeth throughout the war and a romance developed. Upon his return home Elizabeth invited Philip to visit her family at Balmoral Castle; the couple also got secretly engaged, although both knew there would be family objections.

The Royal Marriages Act of 1772 required that Elizabeth get permission from the reigning monarch in order to marry. Her father, George VI, resisted, believing his 18-year-old daughter was too young to marry. Another obstacle to the match was Philip's Greek citizenship. Lord Mountbatten quickly intervened, and in March of 1947 Philip became naturalized British citizen Philip Mountbatten. At this point the king reluctantly gave his consent, although public announcement of the impending marriage was postponed. On July 8, 1947, a palace spokesman announced the engagement of Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, and the pair were married on November 20, at Westminster Abbey. Just prior to his marriage Philip was granted three titles: duke of Edinburgh, earl of Merioneth, and baron Greenwich. He was also appointed a knight of the Garter.

Continuing his career in the Royal Navy, Philip was soon balancing these duties with fatherhood; the couple welcomed their first child, Charles, in November of 1948. For a time, Philip was stationed in Malta and Elizabeth visited like other military wives. In 1950 he was promoted to lieutenant commander and given command of the anti-aircraft frigate HMS Magpie, but he resigned his commission in the summer of 1951. The following February George VI died, leaving 26-year-old Elizabeth queen.

A Life of Duty and Diverse Interests

When Elizabeth ascended to the throne in 1952, Philip assumed the role of consort and the duties that went with it. His primary responsibility was the children, which now included Princess Anne (born 1950), Prince Andrew (born 1960), and Prince Edward (born 1964). Their upbringing and education became his primary focus. For his part, he was both a strict disciplinary and a loving father, and he insisted that the children be educated away from the palace.

In 1956 Philip planned a world tour, beginning his journey by attending the opening of the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia. He also pursued a wide range of personal interests that benefitted both Great Britain and the monarchy over the years. He was interested in science and industry, research and development, and technology. He has also served as patron or president of over 800 organizations, and was the first president of the World Wildlife Fund. He also founded the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme and International Award, which was designed to encourage young people to tackle physical and skills-based challenges and become involved in their community

Philip also served as a chancellor for many universities, learned to fly all kinds of aircraft, and was an avid polo player in his younger days. He also was one of several to push for a rejuvenation of the British monarchy. In The Lives of the Kings and Queens of England, an essayist explained that Philip "set himself to modernizing the monarchy, and 'image' is in this instance the appropriate word. Radio, the cinema, and above all, television, has made the presentation of Royalty a exercise in public relations." In 1961 Philip became the first member of the British Royal Family to be interviewed on television. Philip also gained a reputation for speaking his mind, a characteristic that earned him his share of detractors in a country where gossip about the royal family abounds.

Over Fifty Years as Prince Consort

In November of 2003 Philip and Queen Elizabeth II welcomed their seventh grandchild, Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor, when their youngest son, Prince Edward, and his wife, had a daughter. The inclusion of the name Mountbatten is a testament to Philip's stature within the royal house of Windsor, as well as a reflection of the respect he has been accorded by his children.

Books

Fraser, Antonia, editor, The Lives of the Kings and Queens of England, University of California Press, 1995.

Hall, Unity, Philip: The Man behind the Monarchy, St. Martin's Press, 1987.

Heald, Tim, Philip: A Portrait of the Duke of Edinburgh, William Morrow, 1991.

Hilton, James, H.R.H.: The Story of Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Little, Brown, 1955.

Periodicals

Biography, February, 2002.

Online

Britain Express Web site,http://www.britainexpress.com/royals/philip.htm (December 4, 2003).

British Monarchy Official Web site,http://www.royal.gov.uk/ (December 4, 2003).

"Fifty Facts about the Duke of Edinburgh," Tiscali: Golden Jubilee Web site,http://www.tiscali.co.uk/events/2002/goldenjubilee/facts/facts_duke1.html (December 4, 2003).

"Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh," HELLO! Magazine Web site,http://www.hellomagazine.com/profiles/princephilip/ (December 4, 2003).

"Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (1921-)," Regiments Web site,http://www.regiments.org/milhist/biography/royals/1921phil.htm (December 4, 2003).

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Philip (tetrarch of Ituraea)

Philip, d. AD 34, tetrarch of Ituraea, son of Herod the Great. He was perhaps the ablest of the Herod dynasty. He is mentioned in the Gospel of St. Luke.

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Philip ( (Herod Philip))

Philip, half-brother of Herod Antipas, called Herod Philip: see Herod, dynasty.

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Philip

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"Philip." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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