When we think of Prince Philip today, the man lucky enough to be married to Queen Elizabeth II, we see a strong, brooding figure. Of course, over the years, we’ve also learned that he can loosen up and enjoy a laugh or two. Long before he ever set eyes on his royal wife, however, the young prince was facing hectic family drama from an incredibly early age.
Born on June 10, 1921, Philip’s father was Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark. Around that same time, Greece was in the middle of the Greco-Turkish War. Not long after celebrating his first birthday, Philip and his family were forced to evacuate the country for their own safety. Unsurprisingly, that was a chaotic time for the whole family, and they didn’t have enough time to make sure Philip had a proper cot or carriage to carry him in. They had to think quickly to figure out a decent method of transporting the young prince, so the family got creative.
Their solution? Tucking the tiny Philip into a fruit crate — more specifically, a crate of oranges, according to Prince Philip: The Turbulent Early Life of the Man Who Married Queen Elizabeth II ($22.99 on Amazon), a biography written about him in 2012. It might not have been the most comfortable means of travel for 18-month-old Philip, but it managed to help the royal crew successfully flee to safety with their youngest family member alongside them.
As the royal consort to the queen and a decorated war veteran (not to mention a beloved grandfather and great-grandfather), Prince Philip has certainly come a long way from his more troubled early years. Now that he’s also reached his 90s — and closing in on the big 100 — let’s hope he’s enjoying a much more relaxed lifestyle these days.