(England Twitter)-Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark; 10 June 1921) is the husband of Elizabeth II. He is Britain's longest-serving consort and the oldest serving spouse of a reigning monarch.
A member of the Danish-German House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, Prince Philip was born into the Greek and Danish royal families, but his family was exiled from Greece when he was a child. After being educated in Germany and Britain, at the age of 18 he joined the British Royal Navy, enrolling at Dartmouth Naval College. It was during this time he began corresponding with Elizabeth, the eldest daughter and heir presumptive of King George VI. During World War II he served with the Mediterranean and Pacific fleets.
After the war, Philip was granted permission by George VI to marry Elizabeth. Prior to the official engagement announcement, he renounced his Greek and Danish royal titles, converted from Greek Orthodoxy to Anglicanism, and became a naturalised British subject, adopting the surname Mountbatten from his British maternal grandparents. After an official engagement of five months, as Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten he married Elizabeth on 20 November 1947. On his marriage, he was granted the style of His Royal Highness and the title of Duke of Edinburgh by his father-in-law. Philip left active service, having reached the rank of Commander, when Elizabeth became Queen in 1952. His wife made him a Prince of the United Kingdom in 1957.
Philip has four children with Elizabeth, with both Charles and Anne being born before her accession to the throne, Andrew and Edward after. Through an Order-in-Council issued in 1960, descendants of Philip and Elizabeth not holding Royal styles and titles can use the surname Mountbatten-Windsor, which has also been used by some members who do hold titles, such as Charles, Andrew and Anne. A keen sportsman, Philip helped develop the equestrian event of carriage driving. He is a patron of over 800 organisations, and chairman of the long running The Duke of Edinburgh's Award for people aged 14 to 24.
Philip was born at Villa Mon Repos on the Greek island of Corfu on 10 June 1921, the only son and fifth and final child of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg. His family, the House of Glücksburg (or in full, Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg), is a cadet branch of the House of Oldenburg, which has ruled as kings of Denmark since 1448, and subsequently as kings of several other European countries. A branch of the House of Glücksburg succeeded the House of Wittelsbach as kings of Greece in 1862, thereby also adopting the Greek Orthodox religion instead of Lutheranism. The Glücksburg's in Greece, however, retained their status as members of the royal family in Denmark; for this reason, Philip was a prince both of the Kingdom of Greece and the Kingdom of Denmark.
Philip was first educated at an American school in Paris run by Donald MacJannet, who described Philip as a "rugged, boisterous ... but always remarkably polite" boy. In 1928, he was sent to Britain to attend Cheam School, living with his maternal grandmother at Kensington Palace and his uncle, George Mountbatten, 2nd Marquess of Milford Haven, at Lynden Manor in Bray,
After leaving Gordonstoun in 1939, Prince Philip joined the Royal Navy, graduating the next year from the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, as the top cadet in his course. He was commissioned as a midshipman in January 1940. Philip 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). After the invasion of Greece by Italy in October 1940, he was transferred from the Indian Ocean to the battleship HMS Valiant in the Mediterranean Fleet. Amongst other engagements, he was involved in the Battle of Crete, was mentioned in despatches for his service during the Battle of Cape Matapan, and was awarded the Greek War Cross of Valour.Duties of lesser glory included stoking the boilers of the troop transport ship RMS Empress of Russia.
Further information: Wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh
In 1939, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth toured Dartmouth Naval College. During the visit, the Queen and Earl Mountbatten asked Philip to escort the King's two daughters, Elizabeth and Margaret, who were Philip's third cousins through Queen Victoria, and second cousins once removed through King Christian IX of Denmark. Elizabeth fell in love with Philip and they began to exchange letters.Eventually, in the summer of 1946, Philip asked the King for his daughter's hand in marriage. The King granted his request providing any formal engagement was delayed until Elizabeth's twenty-first birthday the following April. In the meantime, Philip renounced his Greek and Danish royal titles, as well as his allegiance to the Greek crown, converted from Greek Orthodoxy to Anglicanism, and became a naturalised British subject, all of which was done by 18 March 1947. Philip adopted the surname Mountbatten from his mother's family. The engagement was announced to the public on 10 July 1947. The day preceding his wedding, King George VI bestowed the style His Royal Highness on Philip, and on the morning of the wedding, 20 November 1947, he was made the Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, and Baron Greenwich of Greenwich in the County of London.
Consort of the Queen
The accession of Elizabeth to the throne brought up the question of the name of the royal house. The Duke's uncle, Louis Mountbatten, advocated the name House of Mountbatten, as Elizabeth would typically have taken Philip's last name on marriage; however, when Queen Mary, Elizabeth's paternal grandmother, heard of this suggestion, she informed the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who himself later advised the Queen to issue a royal proclamation declaring that the royal house was to remain known as the House of Windsor. The Duke privately complained, "I am nothing but a bloody amoeba. I am the only man in the country not allowed to give his name to his own children.
Duties and milestones
As consort to the Queen, Philip supported his wife in her new duties as Sovereign, accompanying her to ceremonies such as the State Opening of Parliament in various countries, state dinners, and tours abroad. As Chairman of the Coronation Commission, he was the first member of the royal family to fly in a helicopter, visiting the troops that were to take part in the ceremony. Philip was not crowned in the service, but knelt before Elizabeth, with her hands enclosing his, and swore to be her "liege man of life and limb".
In the early 1950s, his sister-in-law, Princess Margaret, considered marrying a divorced older man, Peter Townsend. The press accused Philip of being hostile to the match. "I haven't done anything," he complained. Philip had not interfered, preferring to stay out of other people's love lives. Eventually, Margaret and Townsend parted. For six months over 1953–54 Philip and Elizabeth toured the Commonwealth; again their children were left in Britain.
Selected Speeches – 1948–55 (1957)
Selected Speeches – 1956–59 (1960)
Birds from Britannia (1962) (published in the United States as Seabirds from Southern Waters)
Wildlife Crisis with James Fisher (1970)
The Environmental Revolution: Speeches on Conservation, 1962–1977 (1978)
Competition Carriage Driving (1982) (published in France 1984, second edition 1984, revised edition 1994)
A Question of Balance (1982)
Men, Machines and Sacred Cows (1984)
A Windsor Correspondence with Michael Mann (1984)
Down to Earth: Collected Writings and Speeches on Man and the Natural World 1961–87 (1988) (paperback edition 1989, Japanese edition 1992)
Survival or Extinction: A Christian Attitude to the Environment with Michael Mann (1989)
Driving and Judging Dressage (1996)
Thirty Years On, and Off, the Box Seat (2004)
The Concise British Flora in Colour by William Keble Martin, Ebury Press/ Michael Joseph (1965)
Kurt Hahn by Hermann Röhrs and Hilary Tunstall-Behrens (1970)
The Art of Driving by Max Pape (1982)
National Maritime Museum Guide to Maritime Britain by Keith Wheatley, (2000)
1953: The Crowning Year of Sport by Jonathan Rice, (2003)
British Flags and Emblems by Graham Bartram, Tuckwell Press (2004)
Chariots of War by Robert Hobson, Ulric Publication (2004)
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