Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and husband of Queen Elizabeth, died this morning at Windsor Castle. He was 99. The royal family released the following official statement:
Prince Philip was born on June 10, 1921 to Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark, and Princess Alice of Battenberg. Although this made him a royal long before saying “I do” to Elizabeth, his young life didn’t have the most regal beginning. When he was still just a toddler, war between the Greeks and Turks forced his family to escape from Greece in 1922. Philip was reportedly smuggled out of the country in an orange crate before they found safety with relatives in France.
The future duke began his well-decorated military career in 1939 when he joined the British Royal Navy at 18. It was at this time that Philip also first crossed paths with Elizabeth. The young princess was only 13 when they met at a royal academy, but according to one of her cousins, she fell “headlong in love” with Philip at first sight. Of course, given her age, the relationship grew gradually over the years as they exchanged letters. After Elizabeth turned 21, her father, King George, gave the couple his blessing to get engaged.
Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth were married on November 20, 1947. They had four children, starting with heir to the throne Prince Charles, followed by Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward. Between those four, there are nine grandchildren, including Prince William and Prince Harry, and a growing number of great-grandchildren. Princess Eugenie’s baby boy was the ninth and Harry and Meghan Markle’s soon-to-be second child would be Philip’s 10th great-grandchild.
Known for his charming personality, Philip was one of the most loved members of the royal family. Matt Smith, the actor who played him in The Crown, told interviewers, “All the research I did found him to be brilliantly funny, very clever, very popular. In the royal house he’s the most popular of all of them. If you’ve talked to any of the staff, Philip’s the one they all love, really.”
Smith went on to explain that it’s likely Prince Philip was so well-liked because he wasn’t a huge stickler for royal etiquette. “I think more than a lot of them, he’s a bit more of a man of the people,” Smith added. “The royal protocol hasn’t dogged him in quite the same way his whole life and there’s a sort of rebellion in him and a naughtiness and a cheekiness. I think he’s quite affable and open by all accounts with the staff. They all love him.”
Prince Philip’s list of honors, awards, and titles could fill a football field. In 1953, he was promoted to Admiral of the Fleet in the British Royal Navy, held several honorary degrees from universities across the UK, and was the Patron or President of over 800 organizations throughout his lifetime.
The duke was also the first member of the royal family to ever do a televised interview back in 1961 and was also described as “a prolific writer on environmental, technological, equestrian, and animal subjects.” Titles of his work include Birds from Britannia, the topic of which is pretty self-explanatory, and Down to Earth, a collection of speeches and writings on “the relationship between man with his environment..”
Philip was just shy of his 100th birthday in June this year. Our thoughts are with Queen Elizabeth and the rest of the royal family as they mourn this loss.