Prince Philip Biography

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark 10 June 1921) is the husband of Queen Elizabeth II. He is the Commonwealth realms' longest-serving consort and the oldest spouse ever of a reigning British monarch.

A member of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, Prince Philip was born in Greece into the Greek and Danish royal families, but his family was exiled from Greece when he was a child. After being educated in France, England, Germany and Scotland, he joined the British Royal Navy at the age of 18 in 1939. From July 1939, he began corresponding with the 13-year-old Princess Elizabeth (his third cousin through Queen Victoria and the eldest daughter and heiress presumptive of King George VI) whom he had first met in 1934. 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 abandoned 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 the King. Philip left active service, having reached the rank of Commander, when Elizabeth became queen in 1952. The Queen, his wife, made him a Prince of the United Kingdom in 1957.

Philip has four children with Elizabeth: Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward. He has eight grandchildren: Peter Phillips, Zara Phillips, Prince William, Prince Harry of Wales, Princess Beatrice of York, Princess Eugenie of York, Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor and James, Viscount Severn. Through an Order in Council issued in 1960, descendants of Philip and Elizabeth not bearing 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 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 Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme for people aged 14 to 24 years.