Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, met his future wife when he was only 18 years old. He now has a relationship totaling 70 years to Queen Elizabeth II. However there are some skeletons in his closet you may not have expected.
The Queens funny nickname
Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II have been married for an outstanding 70 years. Dame Helen Mirren plays Queen Elizabeth II in the movie The Queen and it is here that we find out Prince Philip’s adorably odd nickname.
Filmmaker Peter Morgan said, “I inquired in royal circles and was told on very good authority that that is what the Duke sometimes calls the Queen.” In the movie, Prince Philip can be heard calling his wife “Cabbage”!
Prince Philip actively served in the Royal Navy from 1939 until 1952. He graduated from the Royal Navy College in Dartmouth where at just 21 years old he became the first lieutenant of HMS Wallace.
During the invasion of Sicily in 1943 Prince Philip saved his ship from attack. Not long after he joined the Navy, while on a tour in 1939 he met and fell in love with Elizabeth. Shockingly, when serving in World War II with the British forces, his two brother-in-laws (who were married to his older sisters) were on the opposing German side!
Aristocrat in the Air
Philip is the first member of the British royal family to fly a helicopter. Glad to know someone is keeping track.
This is quite an achievement, and one that he hopes his grandchildren will follow. We can only imagine Prince George will want to fly a helicopter. Boys and their toys.
Canada vs. Calories
Philip did cause a minor Canadian scandal in 1959 when apparently, he made remarks that inferred Canadian kids were too out of shape. He later revised his comments to clarify he was simply encouraging a culture of fitness.
The media definitely has a way of rewording things to make more of a stir, and when it comes to the Royal family, it can cause quite the controversy.
The Church of Phil
Prince Philip is worshipped as a god by a sect of people on the island of Tana, Vanuatu. When knowledge of the “Prince Philip Movement” was brought to the consort himself, it was suggested he send them a signed portrait. Philip agreed, and the grateful villagers sent him a pig-killing club in return.
He sent them another portrait back, featuring the consort himself posing with the club.
A Princely Penny
Being royal by blood doesn’t always pay (well). At the time of his marriage, Philip reportedly only had only 12 pence in his bank account. Well those times have changed haven’t they Phil.
The Royal family is reportedly worth $88 billion. Not doing too badly some would say.
Philip and Elizabeth Are Cousins
Perhaps shocking to some, Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II are actually cousins! This isn’t an uncommon thing for the Royal family with the previous Queen Victoria marrying her cousin, known to us as Prince Albert.
It’s a common thing for the royal family to turn to cousins when it comes to marriage as they like to stay within the same class title. They are related as third cousins through Queen Victoria of Great Britain. Through another royal connection, they are also second cousins (once removed).
The longest-lasting couple
Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II have had a successful marriage of 70 years, and are in fact the longest-lasting married couple of any British ruler and their consort. Additionally, the married couple have actually been together and in love for longer than that.
It looks as though the love between Prince Willian and Kate Middleton could go the long haul however they would both need to live to be over 100 years old to catch up.
Fleeing to Florence
During 1919, when the Turkish war with Greece broke out, Prince Philip’s family were in trouble. He was born into Greek and Danish Royal families. During the war, King Constantine I, who was his Uncle was forced to abdicate the throne. Prince Andrew, Philip’s father was then arrested and the family knew they had to flee.
Their choice to flee to France meant that their family then became royal exiles. Just being a baby at the time, Philip was smuggled into the country by hiding in a fruit box.
On 2nd August 2017 Prince Philip retired from his duties after almost 70 years of public service. He had a hefty amount of solo engagements under his belt with a total of 22,219 – his last royal appearance was at the Captain General’s Parade. As time moved on, Price Philip’s retirement came after his 96th birthday.
Prince Philip also additionally attended engagements with Queen Elizabeth II. She is also taking a step back and leaving the appearances to her son and grandsons.
He identifies as Danish
Growing up Prince Philip spoke fluent English, French and German. After his family had to flee from Greece, they moved in with Philip’s aunt whom lived in Paris – his aunt was Princes George of Greece and Denmark. It was there that he had a Danish upbringing.
Since Philip was just a baby when they left Greece, he didn’t speak Greek. Following his retirement, a portrait of him was painted and on display in Denmark at Frederiksborg castle.
Thousands of speeches
Prince Philip is the longest-serving royal consort in British history. Even though he is not king himself, and is classed as a Consort, this doesn’t change the way he must represent the Royal family at masses of royal events and public appearances.
Prince Philip has given around 5,496 speeches throughout his time. A big passion of his is looking after the environment and gave many speeches on this as he belongs to 800 organizations involving protecting the environment.
But why isn’t he king?
We know that Prince Philip was born into a royal family and officially wed then-Princess Elizabeth in 1947. At this time, he gave up both of his titles on their official wedding day. It wasn’t possible for him to received the title of King or even simply Prince and he was instead named Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
Here’s why: In the UK, a reigning Queen’s husband is known as a prince consort, regardless of any titles he may hold. As he was a foreigner, he wasn’t able to become a king consort.
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For their wedding, Mahatma Gandhi sent the royal couple a wedding gift of cotton lace with the embroidered words “Jai Hind” which means “Victory for India.”
He had spun the piece himself. Philip’s mother-in-law thought it was a loincloth and called it an “indelicate” gesture.
The Queen and Philip always had great style. This beautiful and rare image from Vanity Fair magazine, shows the young couple out for the day, making use of their new camera.
These rare images caused a stir when they were printed as people could not get enough of the Royal couple together.
He’s also an author
With his huge love for the environment, Prince Philip has written many books. In between all of his royal duties, several of his works include, Survival or Extinction: A Christian Attitude to the Environment, and Birds from Britannia.
In total he wrote 14 books! Prince Philip took a lot of his inspiration from many of his trips and his work within certain organizations.
His love for being at sea
Queen Elizabeth II had many things built with a dedication to her attached, with one being the Royal Yacht Britannia that was built in 1952.
Following his time in the navy, Prince Philip was the most excited about the new vessel and it wasn’t long until he was making plans on where to take the yacht.
Well, One of Us Had to Do It
From 1956 to 1957, Philip made a worldwide trip on the HMY Britannia. He became the first royal person on record to cross the Antarctic Circle.
In his lifetime he has acquired many accolades and achieved some remarkable feats that many do not know about.
He thinks he’s a comedian
Its important as a member of the Royal family that you are careful with how you speak when you are in public. The royal family has to be seen acting a certain way. However, there’s been more than one occasion where what Prince Philip has said, hasn’t gone down too well – at all.
With all eyes watching, the statements weren’t overlooked. In 2002, while visiting Australia, he asked, “Do you still throw spears at each other?” – most people just put his offensive comments down to old age.
The first royal to fly
Flying is another one of Prince Philip’s loves besides spending time at sea and he ensured he would be able to fly a plane and in 1953 he earned his pilots wings after successfully finishing three landings and solo circuits.
Prince Charles also followed in his footsteps and received his to make his father proud.
Time with his children
After 30 grueling hours of labour, Queen Elizabeth II gave birth to Prince Charles in 1948. At this time, Prince Philip made no adjustments to his plans and carried on his usual routine and was with friends playing squash and swimming. Upon finishing in the pool, Prince Philip was told by a footman that his son had indeed been born.
With speculation on the relationship between father and son, a friend of the family once said “When he needed a father, there just wasn’t anybody there.”
The life as a consort
Unable to have the title of a King, Prince Philip has remained a consort throughout his time as a royal family member – even though he was born into 2 royal families. When a new King or Queen takes rein, the royal house must be given a name. Under usual circumstances a royal home would bear the husband’s name.
However, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Queen Mary decided the house would take Elizabeth’s name and was called the House of Windsor.
A strong relationship
After 70 years, the couple is still in love. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip have had a long marriage, and four children. In 2012, while giving a speech at her Diamond Jubilee, Queen Elizabeth II said Philip is her “constant strength and guide.”
Not to mention the weight of reigning over the United Kingdom and Commonwealth. But through it all, the couple has remained strong.
Prince Philip Quit Smoking On Their Wedding Day
While she wasn’t yet Queen, the people were very fond of Elizabeth and were excited for her to become Queen as she was next in line to the throne. Because of this, Philip and Elizabeth’s wedding was a huge deal.
The wedding would now mean that Prince Philip would become a member of the royal family – it was also this day that he decided to make a life-changing decision. As a wedding gift, Prince Philip promised to stop smoking cigarettes.
Philip’s Mother Was Diagnosed With Schizophrenia
Princess Alice of Battenberg was the mother of Prince Philip and sadly, when he was a young boy she was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Princess Alice moved to Switzerland when she was committed to a mental health hospital, Philip was just nine years old and following this, he then had little contact with her.
His mother believed she was she receiving messages from a divine source so was sent away.
Philip is a great dresser
With all eyes on him and the Queen, Prince Philip has a vast wardrobe over his 70 years of service and after all, when your wife is the Queen, you have to look good. From the very beginning, people have gushed over how smart Philip looks and his wardrobe has remained smart and elegant.
Even one of the world’s top male magazines, GQ magazine ranked him the 33rd best dressed man in the UK.
A skilled carriage rider
Prince Philip opted for a new hobby telling the Daily Mail, “I started driving because I’d been playing polo, and I decided I’d give up polo when I was 50. I was looking round to see what next, I didn’t know what there was available.’
And I suddenly thought, well, we’ve got horses and carriages so why don’t I have a go.” After his 50th birthday, Prince Philip started the sport of carriage racing – also crashed an antique carriage (seemingly several times) while racing.
Love from a young age
In 1939, then Prince Philip of Greece and Princess Elizabeth were playing tennis in Devon, a seaside town in the United Kingdom. It was here that they first met each other on the tennis courts. Elizabeth was just 13 yet fell in love with Philip right away, he was 18 at the time.
The pair stayed in contact and ‘courted’ and Philip was invited to spend Christmas with the Royal Family at Windsor in 1943. Her father, King George VI, told the couple they had to wait until Elizabeth turned 21 years old to wed.
German ties after the war
With the excitement of Prince Philip and Princess Elizabeth’s wedding, there was some uncertainty of Philips side regarding his family. It wasn’t too long after the war that they were going to get married. Prince Philips sisters were married to two German princes and were in turn, German.
With the effects of war still rife, neither of his sisters were invited to the wedding. Little money was spent on the wedding as the country still recovered from war.
Philip used the diamonds from his mother’s tiara to make Elizabeth’s engagement ring. With the jewels left over, he also fashioned her a wedding bracelet.
Now if that isn’t romantic, we don’t know what is. We hope the Queen loved this thoughtful gesture.
His love for traveling
Prince Philip had a love for traveling and adventure and his life wasn’t short of it. With duties of royal engagements, Philip’s role matched perfectly with his lust for new places. Whether he was traveling on his own, or accompanying Queen Elizabeth on her trips, he visited many places.
For their honeymoon, the pair took a trip to Scotland staying at the Balmoral Estate in Aberdeenshire. During the 50’s, the pair traveled a lot visiting Malta, Washington, Niagra and Kenya. As well as visiting Canada where they met with a group of Native American chiefs.
Diana Causing A Rift
When it became clear that Diana had given interviews for Andrew Morton’s infamous biography, which exposed the misery of her marriage in searing detail, Philip was incensed. As always, Philip articulated his views forcefully and accused the Queen of ‘procrastinating’ on the question of whether Charles and Diana should divorce.
He couldn’t take the risks of the Royal family being put to shame, and wanted to protect his son, some thought he was heartless, but for him, he did what he believed was the right thing to do.
Prince Philip, for his part, decided to wade in. First, he tried to talk to Charles about his marital difficulties and the effect they were having on the royal institution. Philip then asked his wife to bring her considerable authority to bear on an increasingly senseless situation, but she refused to intervene.
He also tried reaching out to his unhappy daughter-in-law by writing her dozens of letters.
Amidst the royal family’s polarizing response to Diana’s death in 1997, it was Philip who convinced her sons to walk behind her coffin.
When Princes William and Harry were apprehensive, Philip reportedly told his eldest grandson, “If you don’t walk, I think you’ll regret it later. If I walk, will you walk with me?” At the funeral, Philip, William, Harry, Charles, and Diana’s brother followed the bier.
Panting at the Seams
Not one to make waste, Prince Philip once asked his tailor to adjust a pair of pants that he had first worn 52 years ago. For the record, this was in 2008, so those royal leggings have seen things…
Well that was quite the fashion statement we must admit, and something we would not have expected from his royal highness.
Prince Philip the artist
The Duke of Edinburgh has always been known for his love of fine art yet little do most people know, he is indeed an artist himself. In 1965, he painted a picture of the Queen, in her natural state which is named The Queen at Breakfast, Windsor Castle – the painting sits within his private collection.
The pictures show’s us an intimate glimpse into the Queen’s life which is a big difference from the usual paintings of her poised in royal form. In 2010, some of Philip’s work was printed in a book.