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Royal Family Tree: who's who in the British Royal Family

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh


Philip Duke of Edinburgh (29 June 2010) ©Tim Rooke/Rex Features
Philip Duke of Edinburgh (29 June 2010) ©Tim Rooke/Rex Features
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Name: Philip Mountbatten
Title: Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Born: 10 June 1921
Parents: Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg
Married: Queen Elizabeth II
Children: Charles, Anne, Andrew, Edward

Philip was born on the Greek island of Corfu, the youngest child of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg.

His family were exiled from Greece following the Greco-Turkish War.

The British Navy evacuated the family (Philip allegedly carried to safety in a fruit box) and eventually settled in France.

Philip was educated first in Paris and then in England, he was schooled in Germany for two terms and moved to Scotland to complete his education before joining the navy. He speaks English, German and French.

He graduated from the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, as the top cadet in his year and took up active service.

It was during a tour of the Royal Naval College in 1939 that Philip was introduced to Elizabeth and began to exchange letters. The pair were distantly related via King Christian IX of Denmark (second cousins once removed) and Queen Victoria (as third cousins). Philip is currently the oldest living great-great grandchild of Queen Victoria.

By 1946, Philip has asked King George VI for his daughter's hand in marriage and it was duly granted though the couple waited until Elizabeth was 21 before the engagement was formally announced.

Philip had been born with both Greek and Danish royal titles so before his marriage he renounced his former titles and his allegiance to the Greek crown and also converted from Greek Orthodoxy to Anglicanism.

By 18th March 1947, Philip had become a naturalized British subject and adopted the surname Mountbatten from his mother's family.

Just before the wedding, King George VI granted Philip the style His Royal Highness and on the 20 November 1947, the very morning of his marriage to Elizabeth, he was dubbed the Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, and Baron Greenwich of Greenwich in the County of London.

Philip and Elizabeth married on 20 November 1947 at Westminster Abbey and within a year had produced an heir to the throne, Prince Charles.

A month before Charles' birth, George VI had penned a letter patent decreeing that his grandchildren by Elizabeth and Philip should have royal and princely status bestowed upon them. Normally this was only afforded to descendants along the male line but as no such family member existed, the King preserved the Windsor line by making an exception for Queen Elizabeth II.

Though normally in marriage the wife will take the husband's name in the marriage of Elizabeth and Philip, it was decreed that the royal family should remain as The House of Windsor and not take on Philip's Mountbatten surname (itself an adoption from the maternal line).

However a subsequent Order-in-Council stated the surname of descendants of Philip and Elizabeth, along the male-line at least, who do not use "Royal Highness", or who are not titled as Prince or Princess, should be known as Mountbatten-Windsor.

However Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward have all used Mountbatten-Windsor as their preferred surname when not employing their full titles.

When Elizabeth was crowned Queen on 2 June 1953, Philip was not crowned with her but instead knelt before his wife and proclaimed himself her "liege man of life and limb".


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