With great sadness, Buckingham Palace announced the death of Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, the longest-serving consort in British history, on 9 April 2021
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Prince Philip was born in Corfu on the 10th June 1921, to parents Prince Andrew of Greece and Princess Alice of Battenberg. In 1939, as the Second World War loomed, Prince Philip left his Scottish school – Gordonstoun, Moray– to become a cadet at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, Devon. While there he escorted the young princesses Elizabeth and Margaret during a royal tour of the college.
By 1943, Prince Philip had spent more time in the company of the Royal Family and, after a Christmas visit, Princess Elizabeth placed a photograph of him on her dressing table. Three years later, Prince Philip asked King George VI for his daughter’s hand in marriage. The engagement to Princess Elizabeth was officially announced on 9th July, 1946, they were married in 1947 and their first child, Prince Charles, was born in 1948. The rest is – as they say – history.
On his death, Prince Philip was the oldest ever male member of the royal family – his 100th birthday was approaching in June 2021.
It was on his wedding day in 1947 that Philip was given the title of Duke of Edinburgh. There have only been two other dukes of Edinburgh, the most recent being Queen Victoria’s second son Prince Alfred, who was given the title in 1866. Philip’s youngest son, Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, is expected to inherit the title eventually.
It was under this name that Prince Philip launched The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in 1956, which went on to help several million young people across 144 nations by promoting volunteering and outdoor activity. It is the world’s leading youth achievement award. This is just one of the many charitable achievements the Duke of Edinburgh initiated and was involved in throughout his extraordinary life.
Having given up a dazzling naval career to promote his wife’s role as head of the British monarchy, his support to The Queen throughout their 73-year marriage was tremendous, and above all of his other achievements, this will be one of his most lasting legacies. Her Majesty has paid tribute to her husband in the past, describing him fondly as her “strength and stay”.
Indeed the role he played at the centre of national life for decades, means Prince Philip holds a special place in the nation’s hearts too. He completed 22,219 solo engagements since 1952 and only retired from royal duties four years ago.
Today, the statement from Buckingham Palace echoed these sentiments: “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen has announced 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.”
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