Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Dead at 99
Posted by: Erin Ward in Notable Deaths | April 9
Duke of Edinburgh & Husband of Queen Elizabeth II
June 10, 1921 – April 9 2021
Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and husband of Queen Elizabeth II, has sadly passed away at the age of 99, two months before what would have been his 100th birthday. Announced by Buckingham Palace, it is said that he passed away peacefully at Windsor Castle in England.
A part of the British royal family for over 65 years, Prince Philip married Queen Elizabeth II on November 20, 1947 after knowing her for over a decade. Together Philip and Elizabeth had four children: Charles (Prince of Wales), Anne (Princess Royal), Prince Andrew (Duke of York), and Prince Edward (Earl of Wessex).
Philip was born in Mon Repos, Corfu, Greece as Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark to mother Princess Alice of Battenberg, and father Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark. Although born in Greece, Philip and his family were exiled from the country when he was an infant. Philip’s Greek and Danish royal titles were renounced prior to his engagement to Elizabeth. He was given the title “Duke of Edinburgh” by the King on his wedding day.
He joined the British Royal Navy in 1939 at the age of 18, where he was a part of the Britannia Royal Naval College at Dartmouth. During his term there, he received the honor of best all-around cadet. The following year, Philip went to sea as a sublieutenant at the age of 19 aboard battleship Ramillies which was a part of the Mediterranean fleet. This was the beginning of an active military career that would last until 1952.
During his military career, Philip served in the Royal Navy, British Army, and Royal Air Force. He served in the Second World War with the Royal Navy while two of his brothers-in-law fought with the opposing Germans. Philip was a part of several battles and wars throughout the Second World War including the Battle of Crete and Allied invasion of Sicily, among others. He was also the recipient of several military awards, with the Greek War Cross being the most notable. The Greek War Cross is a Greek military decoration awarded for heroism in wartime to Greeks and their foreign allies.
In 1952, Philip left active military service after reaching the rank of commander. That same year, Elizabeth, his wife, was made queen after her father, King George IV had passed. Later, in 1957, Philip was made a British Prince by the Queen.
As an avid sports enthusiast, Philip was a part of the team that developed the equestrian event of carriage driving. In 1980, in spite of his age, he was a part of the world championship winning four-in-hand Brtish carriage driving team. Throughout his lifetime, Philip was always a keen sportsman, having also played polo for several years. Philip also enjoyed painting and he did so with oils. Along with creating his own work, he enjoyed collecting artwork which he would hang on the walls at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Sandringham House, and Balmoral Castle.
Known for being quite down-to-earth, he held a reputation for being rather blunt and plain speaking. He was occasionally seen making jokes and in 1979, during a visit to the White House, Philip engaged in a conversation with a couple butlers and even poured them drinks. Throughout his life, there were several times where he made jokes and observations that were funny, but also seen as awkward, politically incorrect, or even offensive. Although many of his comments were perceived this way, it should be noted that more often than not his intent was only to put people at ease by making a joke, not to offend anyone.
In 2006, it was reported in a newspaper that Philip is seen as a god by tribes in the South Pacific. People on the Vanuatu island of Tanna were known to treasure signed portraits of the Prince. It is estimated that this belief that Philip was a divine being came about in the 1950s or 1960s.
Prince Philip officially retired from public duties on August 2, 2017, at the age of 96. During his time serving the British royal family, he completed 22,219 solo engagements and was the longest-lived male member of the British royal family. As consort to the Queen, he supported her by accompanying her to ceremonies such as state dinners and tours abroad.
He was a patron of over 800 organizations that focused on topics such as education, the environment, and sport. During his 90th birthday he had the title of “Lord High Admiral” bestowed upon him to recognize the sacrifice of giving up a very promising naval career to serve the royal family.
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, lived an incredible life with many incredible accomplishments, and most importantly of all was an incredible man.