On Friday April 9th, Buckingham Palace announced that Prince Philip had passed away peacefully at Windsor Castle. Prince Philip was born on June 10th, 1921, in Corfu in the Kingdom of Greece. He was a member of the Danish and Greek royal families and the great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria.
Philip’s life would be marked by tragedies. When war broke out between Greece and Turkey, Greece suppressed a revolution and its royal family was blamed for the war. They were forced to abdicate the throne which was held by Philip’s grandfather. His grandfather was executed during the war.
Philip was evacuated along with the rest of his family to Paris, before moving to England. His older sister and three of her children died in plane crash in 1937 and his mother was institutionalized. His uncle, Lord Mountbatten, was killed in an IRA bombing.
Philip spent his youth attending boarding schools in England before joining the Navy prior to the start of World War II. It was during his time in the navy that the then-Princess Elizabeth became enamored with the young naval officer. Prince Philip and Princess Elizabeth were married November 20th, 1947. The early death of his father-in-law brought an end to his naval career when Princess Elizabeth ascended the throne. Their marriage was the longest lasting of any British monarch. Prince Philip gave over 5,000 speeches and attended more then 20,000 solo engagements in support of the Crown of the British common wealth.
Prince Philip had four children with Queen Elizabeth: Charles, Anne, Andrew, and Edward. He had 8 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren with one more on the way.
Philip saw the world change. He watched as man took the first steps on the moon. He watched as television went from black and white to color. He saw great advances in science and medicine, including the invention of the internet. He also many worldwide tragedies, such as the assignation of JFK and RFK. He witnessed, like many of us, the attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11 and the destruction of the space shuttles Columbia and Challenger.
Since Prince Philip’s death occurred in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, his funeral will not be a state occasion like that of Princess Dianna or the Queen Mother, but a military style event. It will be broadcast on international television on Saturday April 17th, 2021.
Photo attribution: Allan Warren, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons