Rural Australia in 1968 was a long way from Prince Philip’s birthplace in Greece. He and his parents, Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg, fled the country in the aftermath of the Greco-Turkish War in 1922. As a child Philip lived in France and later the United Kingdom, attending a number of prestigious schools including Cheam School in Hampshire UK, Schule Schloss Salem in Germany and Gordonstoun in Moray, Scotland.
After the outbreak of World War II in 1939 Philip, now a young man, enlisted in the British Royal Navy. His training commenced at Royal Naval College in Dartmouth and after graduating as the top cadet in his class he was assigned to the battleship HMS Ramillies as a midshipsman in 1940. Over the next six years he continued to serve under a number of vessels including the HMS Kent, the HMS Shropshire, the HMS Valiant, the RMS Empress of Russia, the HMS Wallace and the HMS Whelp.
Once the war ended in 1945 Philip carried out the rest of his commitments in the Navy and returned to Britain, where he took up a position as an instructor at the HSM Royal Arthur Naval School in Wiltshire, England. It was during this time he asked King George XI for his daughter Elizabeth’s hand in marriage, the two having kept in contact since their first meeting in 1939. The King accepted and the two were married in 1947.
Since then, Philip served the Queen faithfully in marriage for 70 years and as her consort for 64 years before retiring from his royal duties in 2017. Aside from his role as consort he has also spread his influence over a number of different organizations and expansive personal interests, including polo, carriage driving, sailing, piloting, oil painting and art appraisal.
Those who know Prince Philip regard him as a down to earth man who, despite his background and heritage, is humble and possesses a no-nonsense yet caring attitude to those around him. I can attest to that description.
HRH Prince Philip by numbers
- He was patron, president or member of more than 780 organizations and the longest serving royal consort in British history.
- He had 22,191 solo engagements and made 5493 speeches.