Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was widely respected for his steadfast support of the Queen.
This was a very difficult role for anyone, especially for someone who was accustomed to commanding the navy himself and had strong views on various topics.
Yet it was the power of the character that enabled him to carry out his responsibilities so effectively, and he wholeheartedly supported his wife in the role of his queen.
Prince Philip had no constitutional status other than the male companion of a female ruler. But no one was so close to the kingdom, or more important to the throne.
Prince Philip was born on June 10, 1921, on the Greek island of Corfu. His birth certificate dates to May 28, 1921, as Greece had not yet adopted the Gregorian calendar.
His father was Prince Andrew of Greece, the youngest son of King George I of Helens. His mother was Princess Alice of Battenberg, eldest daughter of Prince Louis of Battenberg and sister of Earl Mountbatten of Burma.
After the uprising in 1922, his father was deported from Greece by a court.
His second cousin, King George V, sent a British warship to take his family to France. Little Philip spent most of the trip in a crib made of oranges.
He was the youngest child, the only boy in the sisters’ family. And his early childhood was spent in a very loving environment.
Prince Philip began his education in France, but then at the age of seven moved to England with his Mountbatten relatives, where he attended a prep school in Surrey.
By this time his mother had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and was being held in a shelter. The young prince had little contact with them.
In 1933, he was sent to southern Germany by Schulz Salem, run by the famous educator Kurt Haan. But within a few months, Han, who was Jewish, was forced to flee Nazi persecution.
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Han moved to Scotland where he founded the Gordon Stone School, and then Prince arrived in Germany after only two terms.
Gordon Stone’s Spartan lifestyle, which emphasized self-reliance, was an ideal setting for a teenage boy who was already more self-reliant than his parents.
Because the war was on, Prince Philip decided to pursue a military career. He wanted to join the Royal Air Force, but because his mother’s family was traditionally involved in sailing, he also became a cadet at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, UK.
There he was assigned to escort two young princesses, Elizabeth and Margaret, who were accompanied by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, and whose parents were visiting the college.
According to eyewitnesses, Prince Philip played a very good role. But the meeting had a profound effect on 13-year-old Princess Elizabeth.
Philip soon proved himself to be one of the most capable people of the future. In January 1940, he achieved the highest position in his class and then took part in the first military operation in the Indian Ocean.
He was transferred to the Mediterranean warship HMS Valiant, where his performance in the Battle of Cape Mutapan in 1941 is mentioned in the letters.
As the officer in charge of the ship’s searchlights, he played a key role in the night’s decisive operation.
He told BBC Radio 4 in 2014, ‘I saw another plane and highlighted the middle part of it, which later disappeared practically immediately after coming into a straight range of 15-inch shells. went.’
Until October 1942, he was one of the youngest lieutenants in the Royal Navy, working on the warship HMS Wallace.
Throughout this period, he and the young Princess Elizabeth exchanged letters, and on several occasions he was invited to stay with the royal family.
On one such trip, during Christmas in 1943, Elizabeth placed a picture of Philip in a navy uniform on her dressing table.
Their relationship was further strengthened in peacetime, although it was opposed by some courtiers. One of them even called Prince Philip ‘rude’.
But the young princess loved him very much and in the summer of 1946 the princess’s lover asked the king for his daughter’s hand in marriage.
However, before the engagement was announced, the prince needed a new citizenship and family name. He renounced his Greek title, obtained British citizenship, and adopted his mother’s name, Mountbatten.
The day before the wedding, King George VI conferred on Philip the title of His Royal Highness, and on the morning of the wedding he was made Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Maroneth and Baron Greenwich.
Married on 20 November 1947 in Westminster Abbey. According to Winston Churchill, it was like a “sparkle of color” in post-war gray Britain.
The Duke returned to his naval career and was posted to Malta, where for at least some time the couple lived like any other service family.
Their son, Prince Charles, was born in Buckingham Palace in 1948, and their daughter, Princess Ann, was born in 1950. Later born Prince Andrew (1960) and Prince Edward (1964).
On September 2, 1950, he received the award that every naval officer dreams of. He was given command of the ship HMS Magpie that day.
But his naval career was about to come to a halt. George VI’s deteriorating health meant that his daughter now had to perform more royal duties and needed a husband with her.
In July 1951, Prince Philip retired from the Royal Navy. But never returned to an active role.
The Duke was not a man to regret later, but he did say later in life that he regretted failing to continue his career in the Navy.
According to his contemporaries, he could have become the first chief of the Navy on his own.
In 1952, the royal couple set out on a tour of the Commonwealth, the first of which was to actually visit the King and Queen.
While staying at a game lodge in Kenya in February, they received news of the king’s death. The king had ‘coronary thrombosis’ in which blood clots in the heart.
He had to inform his wife that she was now the queen.
A friend later said it was as if “half the world” had fallen on Prince Philip.
He had to make a new role for himself after his naval career was interrupted, and the question was what would happen after Elizabeth ascended the throne.
As he approached the coronation, it was announced in a royal warrant that Prince Philip would take precedence over the Queen at every opportunity, yet he was never given a constitutional post.
The duke had many ideas for modernizing and smoothing the throne, but he became increasingly frustrated with the opposition of many of the palace’s old guards.
He began to invest some of his energies in an active social life. He and a group of male friends began meeting weekly in the rooms above a restaurant in the central London area of Soho.
It was a series of long friendly lunches and nightclub visits, often accompanied by photos of very attractive companions.
One place where the Duke had complete freedom to exercise his authority was his family, even though he had lost the battle for his children’s names.
The Queen’s decision to have her family members renamed Windsor instead of Prince Philip’s family name Mountbatten was a major setback for her.
“I am the only man in the country who is not allowed to name his children,” he complained to his friends.
At times, as a father, Prince Philip looked arrogant and apathetic.
According to Jonathan Dumbleby, who wrote the biography of Prince Charles, in his youth, Prince Charles became obsessed with reprimands by his father in public, and the relationship between father and eldest son was never easy.
Strength of character
Philip insisted that Prince Charles go to his own old school, Gordon Sutton, because he was convinced that his education and discipline would change his son’s somewhat solitary nature.
Because of this, the young prince hated school, where he missed home very much and was bullied or harassed by other boys.
The duke’s behavior reflected his own sometimes difficult childhood.
He was forced to develop self-reliance from an early age and it was difficult to understand that not everyone was like him in terms of character strength.
Prince Philip’s greatest concern was for the welfare of young people, and in 1956 he was awarded the extraordinarily successful Duke of Edinburgh Award for his interest in it.
In the years to come, it will enable approximately 6 million physically fit and disabled people between the ages of 15 and 25 worldwide to be physically, mentally and emotionally challenged in a variety of outreach activities. These activities are designed to promote teamwork, resources and respect for nature.
“If you can make young people successful in one area, that sense of accomplishment will spread to many other areas,” he told the BBC.
Throughout his life the Duke devoted most of his time to the scheme, attending various events and engaging in its daily routine.
He was also an ardent supporter of wildlife and the environment, although his decision to shoot a lion during a visit to India in 1961 caused a stir.
Things got worse when a picture of a lion as a trophy was published.
However, he used his valuable influence and energy for the World Wildlife Fund, later called the World Wide Fund for Nature, and he appeared to be a natural choice as its first president.
“I think it’s amazing that we have so many different types of life on this planet, all of which are interdependent,” he said in a BBC interview.
“I also think that if we humans have the power of life or death or extinction or survival, we should use it with some kind of moral sense. Why do something obsolete if you don’t have to? ‘
He disturbed some environmentalists when he defended the hunting of grouse.
“If you have a species of prey, you want them alive because you want to have them next year. Just like a farmer. You want to cut it, you don’t want to cut it. ‘
But his commitment to protecting the world’s forests and campaigning against overfishing in the oceans was widely praised.
Prince Philip had a keen interest in the industry, visited factories and became the patron of the Industrial Society, now known as the Work Foundation.
In 1961, the Duke, in his traditional blunt way, addressed a group of industrialists: “Gentlemen, now is the time to get our fingers out.”
His blunt style was interpreted by some as arrogant, and at times it even put him in trouble. He certainly had a reputation for misunderstanding situations, especially when he was abroad.
He made one of his most controversial statements during his official visit to China with the Queen in 1986. He spoke of ‘cut eyes’ which he thought was his private statement.
It made headlines in the tabloids, although it didn’t seem to matter much in China.
On a visit to Australia in 2002, he asked an Abrojinal (former Australian) businessman, “Do you still throw spears at each other?”
Although his comments have been widely criticized in some quarters, others have seen him as a man who makes his own decisions and refuses to adhere to political correctness.
In fact, many people thought that their so-called ‘nonsense’ was nothing more than an attempt to lighten the atmosphere and make people comfortable.
Prince Philip maintained his passion for the game throughout his life. He sailed, played cricket and polo, mastered buggy and was president of the International Equestrian Federation for many years.
With the publication of Prince Charles’s autobiography, written by Jonathan Dumbleby, his tension with his eldest son came to the fore again.
It is said that the Duke of Edinburgh forced Charles to marry Lady Diana Spencer.
But even in those difficult years when their children’s marriages were falling apart, the Duke seemed to be more concerned, although many critics may not agree.
He took the initiative in trying to understand the problems, perhaps pointing to his own memories of the difficulties caused by marriage in the royal family.
Attendance at mother’s grave
Prince Philip was saddened by the failure of the marriages of three of his four children, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Charles.
But he always refused to talk about personal matters. He told a newspaper in 1994 that he had not done so before and that he was not about to start.
Growing old did not slow down the pace of his life much. She traveled extensively for the World Wide Fund for Nature and on state trips abroad with the Queen.
And in 1994 he paid a personal visit to Jerusalem to visit his mother’s grave. He was buried there according to his wishes.
In 1995, VJ Day’s 50th birthday was another painful moment for him.
Prince Philip was on a British ship in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese surrendered, and on his birthday, he was among those saluting the Queen at The Mall, along with other veterans of the Far East expedition.
He also expressed sympathy for former Japanese prisoners for whom it was difficult or impossible to forgive their treatment.
In the years that followed, his tough stance softened, perhaps due to the occasional public outcry towards the royal family following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.
In 2007, letters were published between the duke and the princess denying claims that he was hostile to his daughter-in-law.
The letters, known as ‘Dairst Pa’, showed that Diana had a lot of support for them, a fact that is reflected in the sincere tone of the letters written by Diana.
Diana’s last companion, Dodi’s father, Mohammed al-Fayed, said during an inquest into her death that she had been killed on the orders of Prince Philip. The investigating officer vehemently denied the allegations.
‘ Nine nonsense approach ‘
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was a free-spirited man who found himself at the center of British society.
He was a natural leader whose character always forced him to take another place. A combative man who was often restless because of the sensitivity of his status.
“I did what I thought was best,” he once told the BBC. I can’t suddenly change every way I do things, I can’t change my interest or my reaction to things. That’s my style. “
This was acknowledged by Prime Minister David Cameron when he paid tribute to the Duke in June 2011 on his 90th birthday.
“He has always done his job in a unique way, with his realistic, nonsensical approach, which I think the British people like.”
Withdrawal from public life
The Duke of Edinburgh retired from public life in August 2017 after decades of supporting the Queen and participating in the programs of his own charities and organizations.
At that time, according to an estimate from Buckingham Palace, he had participated in 22,219 individual royal engagements from 1952 until his retirement.
The then Prime Minister Theresa May thanked him for his “remarkable life in public service”.
Later that year, Prince Philip celebrated his 70th wedding anniversary. The hip operation did not stop them from driving around Windsor Castle.
He was killed in a car accident near Sanderingham in January 2019. Two women in the other car were injured, and Duke voluntarily returned his driver’s license.
Philip and the Queen were vaccinated in January 2021 during the Corona virus epidemic. A Windsor Castle doctor vaccinated him. The Duke and Queen moved to Windsor Castle during the lockdown in England.
‘ They have been my strength and support for so many years ‘
Philip was able to use his position to make a huge contribution to British life and to help the monarchy adapt to changing social attitudes over time.
But her greatest achievement was undoubtedly the Queen’s perseverance and strong support during her long reign.
He told his autobiographer that his job was to “make sure the queen could rule.”
In a speech at the couple’s Golden Jubilee celebrations, the queen paid tribute to her husband, the longest-serving royal consort in British history.
“They are people who do not listen easily to praise, but they have been my strength and support for so many years. My family and I, and this and many other countries, have a lot of debt, which is more than they will ever claim or we will ever know.