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Early life

Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark was born on the Greek island of Corfu on 10 June 1921, to Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark (1882–1944) and Princess Alice of Battenberg (1885–1969). Following their marriage, Princess Alice was often referred to as ‘Princess Andrew of Greece and Denmark’, her correct married name.

Princess Alice was born at Windsor Castle on 25 February 1885, in the presence of her great-grandmother, and godmother, Queen Victoria (in a room off the Grand Corridor). Princess Alice grew up mostly at her parents’ residences in Germany, but visited Windsor Castle regularly and Queen Victoria’s Journals have several references to her being taken out for drives with the queen. Prince Andrew was an army officer, a son of George I, King of Greece, and grandson of King Christian IX of Denmark.

The couple had five children: four daughters, Princess Margarita (1905–81), Princess Theodora (1906–69), Princess Cecile (1911–37) and Sophie (1914–2001), and their only son, Prince Philip. The Greek royal family were exiled from Greece in 1922.

Photograph showing, from left to right: Queen Victoria, seated, smiling; Beatrice, Princess Henry of Battenberg, standing; Victoria, Princess Louis of Battenberg, seated, with Princess Alice of Battenberg on her lap.
Despite her great sorrow at the death

The Four Generations: Queen Victoria, Princess Beatrice, Princess Louis of Battenberg and Princess Alice of Battenberg ©

This photograph shows four generations of Prince Philip’s mother’s family: Queen Victoria, Prince Philip’s great-great-grandmother, is seated to the left; Princess Alice of Battenberg, Prince Philip’s mother, as a young child, sits on the lap of her mother, Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine; and standing beside the queen is one of her daughters, Princess Beatrice, Prince Philip’s great-great-aunt.

Prince Philip was educated in France, England, Germany and Scotland, and he entered the Royal Navy just before the start of the Second World War. He married Princess Elizabeth, now Queen Elizabeth II, on 20 November 1947. Following Princess Elizabeth’s accession to the throne in 1952, Prince Philip supported The Queen in her official duties, as well as undertaking solo engagements and tours aligned with his interests and patronages.

During the Second World War, Prince Philip served in HMS Ramillies, HMS Kent, HMS Shropshire, HMS Valiant and HMS Wallace. In 1941 his actions in operating HMS Valiant’s searchlights during the Battle of Cape Matapan in the Mediterranean were mentioned in dispatches. His final wartime posting was in HMS Whelp, part of the British Pacific Fleet, and he was present in Tokyo Bay when Japan ceased hostilities in September 1945. His subsequent training postings were as an instructor at the Petty Officers’ Training School in Corsham, Wiltshire, at the Admiralty in Whitehall, London, and further study at the Royal Naval Staff College, Greenwich.

Photograph of Prince Philip, later HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, facing the viewer. He stands in a field and wears football kit. Photograph taken at Gordounstoun school.

Prince Philip at Gordonstoun, c.1937 Royal Collection Trust/All Rights Reserved

Queen Victoria (1819–1901) transcribed by Princess Beatrice (1857–1944)

Queen Victoria’s Journal