Famous Brit of the Week #74 - Prince Philip
This week's Famous Brits Assemblies are about Prince Philip. Philip was born into the Greek and Danish royal families. He was born in Greece, but his family was exiled from the country when he was eighteen months old. After being educated in France, Germany and Great Britain, he joined the Royal Navy in 1939, aged 18. From July 1939, he began corresponding with the thirteen-year-old Princess Elizabeth, whom he had first met in 1934. During the Second World War he served with distinction in the British Mediterranean and Pacific fleets.
After the war, Philip was granted permission by George VI to marry Elizabeth. Before the official announcement of their engagement in July 1947, he abandoned his Greek and Danish titles and styles, became a naturalised British subject, and adopted his maternal grandparents' surname Mountbatten. He married Elizabeth on 20 November 1947. Just before the wedding, he was granted the style His Royal Highness and created Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, and Baron Greenwich by the King. Philip left active military service when Elizabeth became queen in 1952, having reached the rank of commander, and was made a British prince in 1957. Philip had four children with Elizabeth: Charles, Prince of Wales; Anne, Princess Royal; Prince Andrew, Duke of York; and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex. Through a British Order in Council issued in 1960, descendants of the couple not bearing royal styles and titles can use the surname Mountbatten-Windsor, which has also been used by some members of the royal family who do hold titles, such as Anne, Andrew and Edward.
A sports enthusiast, Philip helped develop the equestrian event of carriage driving. He was a patron, president or member of over 780 organisations, and he served as chairman of The Duke of Edinburgh's Award, a self-improvement program for young people aged 14 to 24. He was the longest-serving consort of a reigning British monarch and the longest-lived male member of the British royal family. He retired from his royal duties on 2 August 2017, aged 96, having completed 22,219 solo engagements and 5,493 speeches since 1952. He died on 9 April 2021, two months before his 100th birthday.