Interesting facts about Prince Philip you (probably) didn’t know

Interesting facts about the Duke of Edinburgh you might not have known (Photo: ADRIAN DENNIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Interesting facts about the Duke of Edinburgh you might not have known (Photo: ADRIAN DENNIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Prince Philip is approaching 100 and has been married to Queen Elizabeth II since 1947, but here are some interesting facts about the Duke of Edinburgh you might not have heard.

Early life

Prince Philip was born at the villa Mon Repos, the summer retreat of the Greek royal family, on the island of Corfu in 1921, on 10 June. He was the only son of Prince Andrew of Greece and his mother was Princess Alice of Battenberg, which meant that he held the title of Prince of Greece and Denmark.

Prince Philip left Greece at 18 months old, where he and his family escaped to Great Britain after political turmoil caused his uncle, King Constantine I of Greece, to abdicate the Greek throne.

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    On 28 February 1947, Prince Philip renounced his right to the Greek and Danish thrones and took his mother’s surname, Mountbatten. His father’s family name had been Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg.

    Royal Navy service

    In 1939, aged 17, Prince Philip joined the Royal Navy and served on a number of British warships in the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian and Pacific oceans during World War II.

    His first naval appointment was at age 18, as a midshipman to HMS Ramillies. He then joined HMS Valiant in the Mediterranean Fleet.

    Towards the end of World War II, Prince Philip served on the destroyer HMS Whelp in the Pacific, and was present in Tokyo Bay for the Japanese surrender on 2 September 1945.

    His active naval career ended in July 1951.

    Queen Elizabeth II is his distant cousin

    In 1947, Prince Philip and Princess Elizabeth announced their engagement. Four months later, on 20 November, they were married in Westminster Abbey.

    The two royals are actually third cousins - they both share the same bloodline and are directly related to Queen Victoria.

    Queen Elizabeth is a direct descendant of Queen Victoria on her father’s side, whereas Prince Philip is related to Queen Victoria via his mother’s side.

    He and Queen Elizabeth have four children - Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, born in 1948; Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, who was born in 1950; Prince Andrew, Duke of York, born in 1960; and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, born in 1964.

    A qualified pilot

    Prince Philip has learned to fly all types of aircrafts. He gained his RAF wings in 1953, his helicopter wings in 1956 and his private pilot’s licence in 1959. His final flight was on 11 August 1997, from Carlisle to Islay.

    He was the first member of the royal family to ever fly out of Buckingham Palace Garden in a helicopter.

    Published author

    The Duke of Edinburgh is also a published writer on environmental, technological, equestrian and animal subjects.

    His books include Selected Speeches 1948 - 1955 (1967), Birds from Britannia (1962), Down to Earth (1988), Survival or Extinction: A Christian Attitude to the Environment (1989).

    His book Down to Earth was translated into Japanese.

    First televised interview

    Prince Philip was the first member of the royal family to be interviewed on TV, on 26 May 1961.

    He was interviewed by Richard Dimbleby and talked about the Commonwealth Technical Training Week.