Duke of Edinburgh
|Phil the Greek|
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich, has been married to The Queen since 1947.
He was born Prince of Greece and Denmark in Corfu in 1921. His mother, born Princess Alice of Battenberg (Lord Mountbatten's big sister), later had a severe mentalist breakdown - from which she recovered from enough to be able to play the mong when the Gestapo came stomping around her flat in Athens during WW2 looking for the Jews she hid upstairs. For that remarkable bit of royal front (several unloyal German aristos ended up in the KZ system) she got the same award from the Israelis as did Schindler. Philip renounced his Royal title when he became a naturalised British subject in 1947. Having joined the Royal Navy in 1939, Prince Philip saw active service throughout the Second World War, rising to the rank of Lieutenant. He was present in Tokyo harbour when Japan surrendered.
After Princess Elizabeth became Queen, Prince Philip gave up his naval career to support The Queen in her duties. The Duke of Edinburgh has no constitutional role other than as a Privy Counselor, and sees no State papers. But through his active support of a wide range of charities, and through his own initiatives for young people, The Duke of Edinburgh has played a major role both nationally and internationally.
Like The Queen, Prince Philip is a great-great-grandchild of Queen Victoria. The Queen and Prince Philip are also related through his father's side. His paternal grandfather, King George I of Greece, was Queen Alexandra's brother.
The Duke of Edinburgh retired from the Royal Navy in 1953 with the rank of Commander. He holds numerous honorary military positions across various Commonwealth countries. A full list can be found here:
And for those of us who enjoy his rather spectacular brand of diplomacy...
- "Dontopedology is the science of opening your mouth and putting your foot in it!"
- "I don't think a prostitute is more moral than a wife, but they are doing the same thing."
- "When a man opens the car door for his wife, it's either a new car or a new wife."
- During a state visit to China in 1986, he famously told a group of British students: "If you stay here much longer, you'll all be slitty-eyed".
- He also asked a driving instructor in Oban, Scotland: "How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to get them through the test?"
- "British women can't cook." (1966)
- "Everybody was saying we must have more leisure. Now they are complaining they are unemployed." (during the 1981 recession)
- "We didn't have counsellors rushing around every time somebody let off a gun, asking 'Are you all right? Are you sure you don't have a ghastly problem?' You just got on with it." (commenting in 1995 on modern stress counselling for servicemen)
- "If a cricketer, for instance, suddenly decided to go into a school and batter a lot of people to death with a cricket bat, which he could do very easily, I mean, are you going to ban cricket bats?" (in 1996, amid calls to ban firearms after the Dunblane shooting)
- "Bloody silly fool!" (in 1997, referring to a Cambridge University car park attendant who failed to recognise him)
- "It looks as if it was put in by an Indian." (in 1999, referring to an old-fashioned fuse box in a factory near Edinburgh)
- "Deaf? If you are near there, no wonder you are deaf." (in 1999, to young deaf people in Cardiff, referring to a school's steel band)
- "They must be out of their minds." (in 1982, in the Solomon Islands, after being told that the annual population growth was only 5%
- "You are a woman, aren't you?" (in 1984, in Kenya, to a native woman who had presented him with a small gift)
- "Your country is one of the most notorious centres of trading in endangered species in the world." (in 1991, in Thailand, after accepting a conservation award)
- "Oh no, I might catch some ghastly disease." (in 1992 in Australia, when asked to stroke a Koala bear)
- "You can't have been here that long - you haven't got a pot belly." (in 1993, to a Briton in Budapest, Hungary)
- "Aren't most of you descended from pirates?" (in 1994, to an islander in the Cayman Islands)
- "You managed not to get eaten, then?" (in 1998, to a student who had been trekking in Papua New Guinea)
- "If it has got four legs and it is not a chair, if it has got two wings and it flies but is not an aeroplane, and if it swims and it is not a submarine, the Cantonese will eat it." (at a 1986 World Wildlife Fund meeting)
- "People usually say that after a fire it is water damage that is the worst. We are still trying to dry out Windsor Castle." - said to a man who lived in a road where 11 people had been killed by wreckage from the Pan Am jumbo jet, on visit to Lockerbie in 1993.
- "Do you know they have eating dogs for the anorexic now?" speaking to Susan Edwards, who is blind, wheelchair bound and has a guide dog.