HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (1921 – 2021)

The official Royal Family website announced the death of Prince Philip on Friday:

It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.

Further announcements will made in due course.

The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.

Flags all over the UK are being lowered to half mast.

HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, 10 June 1921) died on Friday at Windsor Castle.

Duke of Edinburgh. Photo © 2016 Martin McAdam.

The Duke was admitted to King Edward VII Hospital in London on 16 February to be treated for an infection. Following extended treatment at the hospital he was then moved to St Bartholomew’s hospital also in London for treatment for a pre-existing heart condition and returned home to Windsor Castle only a few weeks ago on 16 March 2021 when he was said to be in good spirits.

He married HM the Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, in 1947 and together they have four children, Prince Charles, born in 1948, Princess Anne, born in 1950, Prince Andrew, born in 1960, and Prince Edward, born in 1964 — along with a number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

The prince was born on the Greek island of Corfu on 10th June 1921, the only son and fifth child born to Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg. 

During the Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922), Philip’s father commanded an army division and his uncle, King Constantine I, was the high commander of the Greek expeditionary force. Following a severe defeat for the Greeks, Constantine was forced to abdicate, and his family was exiled from the country.

During the Second World War Philip served with distinction with the Royal Navy in both the Mediterranean and Pacific Fleets.

George VI then granted Philip permission to marry Princess Elizabeth. Before the announcement of the engagement in July 1947, he relinquished his Greek and Danish titles and became a British subject. He then adopted his maternal grandparents’ surname Mountbatten the anglicised version of the German Battenberg. 

He married Elizabeth on 20 November 1947. Just before the wedding, he was granted the style His Royal Highness and the title Duke of Edinburgh was created for the third time. The title was first created in 1726 by King George I, who bestowed it on his grandson Prince Frederick, who also became Prince of Wales the following year. Queen Victoria re-created the title, 1866 for her second son Prince Alfred, instead of Duke of York, the traditional title of the second son of the Monarch.

At the end of January 1952, Philip and his wife set out on a tour of the Commonwealth. On 6 February 1952, they were in Kenya at Sagana Lodge when Elizabeth’s father died and she became queen.

Philip was forced to give up driving at the age of 97, after car accident in January 2019, which left the passengers of another vehicle with minor injuries, although he escaped unscathed. The following month, Buckingham Palace announced that he had voluntarily surrendered his driver’s licence.

Duke of Edinburgh outside The Scottish Parliament. Photo © 2016 Martin McAdam.

His career has been punctuated by gaffes and off-colour comments. No one was immune from his comments and it appears that several of his comments were directed at Scots.

During a 2002 visit to the isle of Lewis he remarked to a young policewoman wearing an anti-stab vest: “You look like a suicide bomber.”

In 2010 he remarked to the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Annabel Goldie, as he examined tartan: “Do you have a pair of knickers made out of this?”.

In 1995 he also remarked to a Scottish driving instructor, “How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to pass the test.”.

Perhaps his most off-colour remark was directed to a photographer at the photocall to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. “Just take the f****** picture!”.

Perhaps one of the more controversial royals, he will be missed, most of all by HM The Queen to whom he was married for 73 years.

HM Queen Elizabeth II. Photo © 2016 Martyin P. McAdam