A Life of Service


Brett Penk

On April 9th, 2021, Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh died at the age of 99. Prince Philip was the husband of Queen Elizabeth II. They were married for 73 years, and had four children, 8 grandchildren, and 10 great grandchildren. Prince Philip is described as a man who did years of service and inspired so many different people. Prince Philip was a generous man who stood by the queen for over 70 years.

Prince Philip was born on June 10, 1921, on the Greek Island of Corfu, to Princess Alice of Battenberg and Prince Andrew of Greece. Prince Philip’s childhood was a very lonely and chaotic one. In 1922, his uncle, the king of Greece, was forced to abdicate after the Greco-Turkish War. Prince Philip’s father was an official in the army and was labeled a traitor. His family was exiled and fled to France. His mother, whose nerves never recovered after having to flee, was sent to Switzerland, and later diagnosed with Schizophrenia. He didn’t have contact with his mother for eight years. His siblings were married and living in Germany. His father lived in the south of France. With no family left to take care of him, Philip was left to his Mother’s side of the family. He was sent to school in England and Scotland. While attending school, his sister died in a plane crash, and his guardian, George Mountbatten, died from cancer at 46. His father died in 1944. During the war, his mother was in Greece, sheltering Jewish Refugees from the Nazis and his sisters were married to Germans. After Philip left school he joined the royal navy where he met Princess Elizabeth.

Elizabeth fell in love with Prince Philip at the age of 13 when her family was touring the Royal Naval College at Dartmouth. Philip joined the navy at the outbreak of war and Elizabeth saw him twice in three years. He spent weekends at Windsor castle with Elizabeth’s family when his guardians were away. In 1946, he proposed in Scotland. She said yes. The King said they had to wait until she was older to announce her engagement. Elizabeth’s family was not too sure about Philip. Just coming out of World War II, Prince Philip was labeled as “too German.” His sisters all married German Princes, and three of his brothers in law joined the Nazi party. Even Elizabeth’s mother, the queen, was skeptical about Philip. Elizabeth was persistent and determined to marry Prince Philip. In 1947, Prince Philip proposed with a three carat diamond ring. The King and Queen announced the marriage. Prince Philip became a British Citizen and he took the name “Mountbatten,” and his title was the Duke of Edinburgh. Even through the support of the king and queen 40 percent of the population was against the marriage. Through doubts, war rations, snapped diamond tiaras, the wedding continued, and on November 20, 1947, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were married.

Princess Philip was a great support to the queen for over 70 years. Prince Philip gave up his titles and ended his naval career for her. In 1957 he was officially named British Prince. Between 1952 and his retirement in 2017, Prince Philip completed 22,000 solo engagements, 600 solo overseas trips, and was a patron of nearly 800 charities. One of his most impactful charities was the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award which encouraged young people to develop positive skills, and lifestyle habits. Though he retired in 2017, he was still seen with Queen Elizabeth at royal events. Prince Philip has helped and inspired millions of people, and has stood by and supported his wife for nearly 70 years.