Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and Husband to Queen Elizabeth, Has Died at 99

Megan Friedman
·4 min read
Photo credit: The Royal Family
Photo credit: The Royal Family

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, husband to Queen Elizabeth II and her constant companion for more than seven decades, has died at age 99.

An announcement was made on the Royal Family's social media accounts, as well as the family's official website.

"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."

While the cause of death is unkown, in March, The Duke of Edinburgh returned home after a month-long stay in the hospital after being treated for an infection and pre-existing heart condition.

To honor Prince Philip, we're taking a look back at his incredible life.

His Early Years

The only son of Prince Andrew of Greece and Princess Alice of Battenberg, Philip was born on June 10, 1921, with the title Prince of Greece and Denmark. His time in Greece was limited, as his family had to flee political upheaval when he was just 18 months old. His uncle, King George V, ordered a Royal Navy ship to take them to safety, and little Philip was taken away in a cot made from an orange box.

Philip’s childhood was certainly not the charmed life you’d expect of a royal, Vanity Fair notes. He first lived in France, and then was sent to boarding school in England when he was 8. Meanwhile, his mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia, his parents separated, and she entered an asylum in 193o. His father, meanwhile, decamped to Monte Carlo, leaving other relatives to care for Philip. When his father died in 1944, all he left Philip was some clothing, a shaving brush, cufflinks, and a ring.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

After spending his formative years at the Gordonstoun School in Scotland, Philip joined the Royal Navy himself in 1939, and ended up being promoted to Commander in 1952 before leaving his career to support his wife, who became queen that year.

Prince Philip and Elizabeth’s Love Story

He first met Princess Elizabeth when they attended his cousin's wedding. But it wasn’t until a few years later, when King George VI and Queen Elizabeth I took their daughters to the Royal Naval College at Dartmouth, Elizabeth, his third cousin, was smitten, and never seriously considered anyone else to marry.

Photo credit: Hulton Archive - Getty Images
Photo credit: Hulton Archive - Getty Images

In 1946, Philip proposed to Elizabeth, and she accepted immediately without consulting her family. The king then made him promise to keep their engagement a secret until after she turned 21 the following year. Once they announced the news in 1947, they were married four months later in Westminster Abbey. When he married Princess Elizabeth, Philip took his adopted family name of Mountbatten, renounced his foreign royal title, and became a naturalized British subject. Just before the wedding, he was granted the titles Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, and Baron Greenwich.

Prince Philip's Life as a Consort

Philip was the longest-serving British consort in history, accompanying the Queen on all her state visits and tours overseas, and patronizing or running as many as 800 organizations until his official retirement in 2017. Together they celebrated more than 70 years of marriage.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

The royal couple had four children: Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward. When not performing his royal duties, Philip played polo, expanded the sport of carriage driving, and even got into creating oil paintings and cartoons.

Throughout his life, Prince Philip was known for his affable manner and series of gaffes that got him into minor trouble. And as portrayed in the Netflix series The Crown, Philip had the reputation of being a reluctant consort, having to take a secondary role in his family, especially rare in his time. "I didn't want to be president of the World Wildlife Fund," he said in an interview in 1992, according to CNN. "I was asked to do it. I'd much rather have stayed in the navy, frankly."

Photo credit: Tim Graham - Getty Images
Photo credit: Tim Graham - Getty Images

But he was overall known for providing the Queen the crucial support she needed. "Prince Philip is the only man in the world who treats the Queen simply as another human being," Lord Charteris, the royal’s former private secretary, once said. "Strange as it may seem, I believe she values that."

The monarch herself alluded to that fact in a 1997 speech commemorating their golden wedding anniversary. "All too often, I fear, Prince Philip has had to listen to me speaking. Frequently we have discussed my intended speech beforehand and, as you will imagine, his views have been expressed in a forthright manner," she said. "He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know."

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