Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Royal Profile: Prince Phillip, The Duke of Endinburgh

I thought since he has been in the news a lot lately that some of you might be saying "Prince Phillip who?" or the even more classic "If he's married to Queen Elizabeth, then why isn't he King Phillip?". In this Royal Profile, I have your answer.

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Prince Phillip was born to the Royal Family of Greece & Denmark on 10 June 1921 on the Greek Island of Corfu, the final child and only son to Prince Andrew of Greece & Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg. His father was the grandson of King Christian IX of Denmark, which makes him distantly related to Queen Margrethe II of Denmark (King Christian was her great X4 Grandfather, and Prince Phillip's great grandfather). His grandfather, Prince Louis married one of Queen Victoria's granddaughters, thus also making him and his wife distantly related as they 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 (Queen Alexandra was King Edward VII's wife, making them Queen Elizabeth's Great X2 Grandparents).

He had four older sisters:
  1.  Princess Margarita of Hohenlohe-Langenburg 
  2. Theodora, The Margravine of Baden 
  3. Cecile, The Hereditary Grand Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine 
  4.  Princess Sophie of Hanover. 

He was educated throughout Europe during World War I, he began his education at an American School in Paris, spent three years at Cheam School while living at Kensington Palace with his maternal grandmother and later with his uncle George Mountbatten, 2nd Marquess of Milford Haven.

The 1930s turned out to be eventful years for the Prince. In 1931 turned out to be an eventful year for the then 10 year old Prince: three of his four sisters (Margarita, Theodora and Cecile) were married into German Princely or noble families and moved to Germany, his mother was placed in an asylum after being diagnosed with schizophrenia, and his father moved to a small flat in Monte Carlo, Monaco. Due to his mother being place in an asylum, he had little to no contact with her throughout the remainder of his childhood. In 1933, he was sent to Schule Schloss Salem in Germany, which had the "advantage of saving school fees" because it was owned by the family of his brother-in-law, Berthold, Margrave of Baden (who his sister Theodora had married two years prior). He spent two terms at Salem before transferring to Gordonstoun in Scotland (of which his three sons, and two oldest grandchildren, Peter and Zara Phillips also attended). In 1937 and 1938, numerous close relatives of his died: his sister Cecile, her husband, two young sons and mother-in-law were killed in an air crash at Ostend and his uncle and guardian Lord Milford Haven died of bone cancer. He left Gordonstoun in 1939, and attended the Royal Naval Academy from 1939-1940, where he graduated as the Top Cadet in his class. After graduation, he spent four months on the battleship HMS Ramillies, protecting convoys of the Australian Expeditionary Force in the Indian Ocean, followed by shorter postings on HM Ships Kent, Shropshire and in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).

The Prince first met the love of nearly sixty years now in 1934, when he was 13 years old and she was only 8 years old at a mutual cousin Princess Marina of Greece & Denmark's wedding. The pair would meet again later in 1937 when he was 16 years old and she was 11 years old. However the sparks began to fly after Princess Elizabeth toured the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth (where Prince Philip was a cadet at the time) in 1939. Upon sight of him, she immediately fell in love and the two began to exchange letters. The pair dated for six years before being secretly engaged in 1946. The formal announcement of their engagement took place on 9 July 1947, a few months after Princess Elizabeth's 21st Birthday. The Royal pair wed on 20 November 1947.
Prior to their wedding, Prince Phillip renounced his rights to the Greek and Danish thrones (as well as for his descendants), converted from Greek Orthodoxy to Anglicanism, and adopted the style Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, and taking the surname of his mother's British family. The day prior to the wedding, his future father-in-law bestowed the title His Royal Highness upon him. The morning of the wedding King George IV bestowed the titles Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, and Baron Greenwich of Greenwich in the County of London on his new son-in-law, therefore giving him the title and style of His Royal Highness Phillip,Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, and Baron Greenwich of Greenwich in the County of London. In 1957, his wife granted her husband the title Prince. From then on, he has been known as His Royal Highness Prince Phillip, The Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, and Baron Greenwich of Greenwich in the County of London. He was created a Prince because of two reasons:
  1. If he had been created King, he would've outranked Queen Elizabeth, the blood line monarch. 
  2. He was a prince in his own right before renouncing his own title and claims to the Danish and Greek Thrones.
He and his Queen have four children, eight grandchildren, and one great-grandchild (with another on the way).

His children, grandchildren and great-Grandchild are:

                1. Prince Charles Arthur Phillip George (14 November 1948)
                             A. Prince William Arthur Phillip Louis of Wales (21 June 1982)
                             B.  Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales (15 September 1984) 
               2.  Princess Anne Alice Elizabeth Louise (15 August 1950)
           A.       Peter Mark Andrew Phillips (15 November 1977)
                                                                                    i.      Savannah Phillips (29 December 2011)
                                                                                     ii.      Another on the way due sometime in 2012
           B.      Zara Anne Elizabeth Phillips Tindall (15 May 1981)
3.  Prince Andrew Albert Christian Edward, The Duke of York (19 February 1960)
           A.       Princess Beatrice Elizabeth Mary of York (8 August 1988)
           B.      Princess Eugenie Victoria Helena of York (23 March 1990)
              4. Prince Edward Anthony Richard Louis, The Earl of Wessex (19 February 1960)
           A.       The Lady Louise Alice Elizabeth Mary Mountbatten-Windsor (8 November 2003)
           B.      James Alexander Phillip Theo, Viscount Severn (7 December 2007) 

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