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Biography

HRH Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh

 

 

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich, was born Prince of Greece and Denmark in Corfu on 10 June 1921.

He was born the only son of Prince Andrew of Greece. His paternal family is of Danish descent - Prince Andrew was the grandson of King Christian IX of Denmark.

His mother was Princess Alice of Battenberg, the eldest child of Prince Louis of Battenberg and sister of Earl Mountbatten of Burma. Prince Louis became a naturalised British subject in 1868, joined the Royal Navy and rose to become an Admiral of the Fleet and First Sea Lord in 1914. During the First World War he changed the family name to Mountbatten and was created Marquess of Milford Haven. Prince Philip adopted the family name of Mountbatten when he became a naturalised British subject and renounced his Royal title in 1947.

Prince Louis married one of Queen Victoria's granddaughters. Thus, The Queen and Prince Philip both have Queen Victoria as a great-great-grandmother. They are also related through his father's side. His paternal grandfather, King George I of Greece, was Queen Alexandra's brother.



EDUCATION

Prince Philip started school in France but came to England to attend Cheam Preparatory School in 1928. He left at 12 to spend a year at Salem School in south Germany. He then went to Gordonstoun School in Morayshire (which all three of his sons also attended). He became Head of the School and Captain of Hockey and Cricket. He also took part in sailing expeditions around the coast of Scotland and to Norway.

NAVAL CAREER

Prince Philip left Gordonstoun in 1939 and joined the Royal Navy as a Cadet. He completed his initial training at RNC Dartmouth, where he was awarded the King's Dirk and a prize as the best Cadet of his entry. In 1940, he joined the battleship HMS RAMILLIES in Colombo as a Midshipman and spent the following six months in the Indian Ocean. In January 1941 he joined the battleship HMS VALIANT in Alexandria. During the night action off Cape Matapan, he was in charge of VALIANT's searchlight control, for which he was mentioned in despatches.

Having qualified for promotion to Sub-Lieutenant, he returned home and, after taking a series of technical courses, was appointed to the destroyer HMS WALLACE based at Rosyth for convoy escort duties on the east coast. He was promoted to Lieutenant on 16 July 1942 and in October he was appointed First Lieutenant (second in command) of WALLACE at the unusually early age of 21. In July 1943, WALLACE took part in the Allied landings on Sicily. After further courses, he was appointed as First Lieutenant of the new Fleet Destroyer HMS WHELP, which was then building on the Tyne. After commissioning, WHELP joined the 27th Destroyer Flotilla and sailed for the Indian Ocean to join the British Pacific Fleet. WHELP was present in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese signed the surrender. WHELP returned home in January 1946.

After instructing in the Petty Officers' School and attending the Naval Staff College at Greenwich, he was appointed First Lieutenant of HMS CHEQUERS in 1949. CHEQUERS was Leader of the First Destroyer Flotilla in the Mediterranean Fleet. He was promoted to Lieutenant-Commander in 1950 and then appointed in command of the Frigate HMS MAGPIE. In 1952 he was promoted to Commander, but his naval career came to an end on the death of his father-in-law, King George VI.

MARRIAGE AND FAMILY

The engagement of Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten to Princess Elizabeth was announced in July 1947 and the marriage took place in Westminster Abbey on 20 November. Shortly before the wedding, the bridegroom was created Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich with the style of His Royal Highness and appointed a Knight of the Garter by the King. The Queen and Prince Philip had two children before (Prince Charles and Princess Anne) and two after (Prince Andrew and Prince Edward) The Queen succeeded to the throne.



MILITARY INVOLVEMENT

Although Prince Philip gave up his active naval career in July 1951, he remains to this day closely connected to, and actively interested in, every branch of Service life. In 1952, he was appointed Admiral of the Sea Cadet Corps, Colonel-in-Chief of the Army Cadet Force and Air Commodore-in-Chief of the Air Training Corps. The following year he was promoted to Admiral of the Fleet and appointed Field Marshal and Marshal of the Royal Air Force. He is also Captain-General of the Royal Marines and Colonel-in-Chief, or Colonel, of a number of British and overseas regiments. He was as well appointed Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Canadian Army Cadets.

ACTIVITIES AND INTERESTS

Since The Queen's accession, The Duke of Edinburgh, who is Patron or President of some 800 organisations, has played a prominent part in many aspects of national life. His special interests are in scientific and technological research and development, the encouragement of sport, the welfare of young people, and conservation and the environment.

There is hardly an aspect of the UK's industrial life with which Prince Philip is not familiar. He has visited research stations and laboratories, coalmines and factories, engineering works and industrial plants - all with the aim of understanding, and contributing to the improvement of, British industrial life. As Patron of the Industrial Society, he has sponsored six conferences on the Human Problems of Industrial Communities within the Commonwealth. He was President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1952.

Prince Philip was the first President of World Wildlife Fund - UK (WWF) from its formation in 1961 to 1982, and International President of WWF (later the World Wide Fund for Nature) from 1981 to 1996. He is now President Emeritus of WWF.

The Duke of Edinburgh has served as Chancellor of the Universities of Cambridge (1976-), Edinburgh (1952-), Salford (1967-91) and Wales (1948-76). He is also a Life Governor of King's College, London and Patron of London Guildhall University.

The Prince took up polo while serving in Malta and played regularly until 1971. He has also represented Great Britain at several European and World four-in-hand Driving Championships. He was President of the International Equestrian Federation from 1964 to 1986. He is President of Central Council of Physical Recreation (CCPR), Admiral of the Royal Yacht Squadron, and has twice served as President of the Marylebone Cricket Club (the MCC). He is also Grand Master of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators of the British Empire, and Master of Trinity House.

The Duke of Edinburgh accompanies The Queen on all her Commonwealth tours and State Visits overseas, as well as on tours and visits to all parts of the United Kingdom. He has also travelled abroad a great deal on his own account. In 2004 he undertook around 423 engagements with The Queen and on his own in the UK and abroad.

THE DUKE OF EDINBURGH'S AWARD

Launched in 1956, The Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme is aimed at young people between 15 and 25, able-bodied or disabled. The three Award levels, Bronze, Silver and Gold, include four sections: service, expeditions, skills and physical recreation. Perhaps more than anything else, this challenging programme demonstrates The Prince's keen interest in and support for the personal development of young people. More than four million people in over 60 countries have taken part since its inception in 1956.

Prince Philip has served as the scheme's Patron and Chairman of Trustees since its beginning, and devotes much time presenting Gold awards and meeting both participants and helpers, in the UK and overseas.

HONOURS

King George VI created Prince Philip a Knight of the Order of the Garter in 1947. In April 1952 The Queen created The Duke of Edinburgh a Knight of the Thistle. The following September she declared by Royal Warrant that he had 'place, pre-eminence and precedence' next to herself 'on all occasions and in all meetings, except where otherwise provided by Act of Parliament'. In February 1957 it was announced that The Queen had granted to The Duke of Edinburgh the style and dignity of a Prince of the United Kingdom, and that in future he would be known as 'The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh'. On his 47th birthday, in June 1968, she appointed him to the Order of Merit.

The Duke of Edinburgh holds many foreign decorations and has received Honorary Degrees from a number of universities. He is Chancellor of the Universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh, a former Chancellor of the Universities of Wales and Salford, and a life Governor of King's College in the University of London.

from the Official web site www.royal.gov.uk