Bright Side

The Story of Prince Philip: From His Tough Childhood to Being the 99-Year-Old Duke

The longest-serving companion of a British Monarch, Prince Philip, turned 99 years old earlier this month. He still keeps a smile on his face even though, over the years, he has lost his family, faced money struggles, and sacrificed the things he loved the most from his career to his last name.

Bright Side would like to share the unknown side of Prince Philip’s story with our readers.

Greek roots and family problems

Philip was born on the Greek island of Corfu in 1921 in the succession of thrones of Greece and Denmark, but things didn’t go very well. Shortly after his birth, Philip’s uncle, King Constantine I, was forced to renounce the throne and Prince Philip’s family had to flee to France. He was carried in a makeshift crib, made from a fruit box. Later, Prince Philip’s mother was committed to a psychiatric institution and was diagnosed with schizophrenia. His father moved away and barely kept in touch with his family.

A bright student with a promising career in the Navy

In his youth, Philip was described as a, “know it all smarty person, but was always remarkably polite.” For the sake of saving money, he also attended a school in Germany which was owned by the family of one of his brothers-in-law. Unfortunately, just a few years later, his sister and her family, including 3 young children, were all killed in a plane crash. His uncle and guardian, Lord Milford, died of bone marrow cancer the next year.

Graduating against all odds, he enrolled in the Royal Naval College and excelled as “the best cadet” of the group, becoming one of the youngest first lieutenants in the Royal Navy.

Young love that bloomed into marriage

In 1939, Prince Philip escorted the 2 princesses of the royal family and that is when Princess Elizabeth fell for him. The couple exchanged love letters for years until 1946, when Philip asked the King for his blessing to marry Elizabeth. The King initially didn’t approve of him, since Philip was considered “poor” by Royal standards.

He was a Greek Prince, had Nazi relatives, and the King found him “blunt and irritating.” Being really close to her father, Elizabeth eventually convinced King George, but Philip had to give up his Royal titles, naturalize as a British citizen, renounce his religion, and adopt his mother’s last name “Mountbatten.” On his wedding day, he reportedly had 12 pence in his bank account.

The aftermath of being the Consort of the Queen

Upon King George’s death, an announcement was made declaring that the new Queen would not be taking her husband’s last name and would continue as a Windsor. This really upset the Duke — “I am nothing but a bloody amoeba. I am the only man in the country not allowed to give his name to his own children.”

Philip was also left with no choice but to give up his career in the Navy. “It was not my ambition to be president of the Mint Advisory Committee. I didn’t want to be president of WWF. I was asked to do it. I’d much rather have stayed in the Navy, frankly,” he told Independent in an interview.

Retirement and being the oldest male ever in the British Royal Family

Prince Philip completed 22,219 solo projects for the Queen until he retired in 2017, at age 96. He is currently the longest-serving and the oldest-ever male member of the royal family. The Duke is now 99 years old and his net worth is estimated to be around $30 million. Whereas, his wife’s numbers are standing strong at over $500 million, and their son Charles’ net worth is around $400 million. Now and even before his retirement, Philip engaged in charity work, especially that which involved wildlife conservation. Through his The Duke of Edinburgh Award, he trains thousands of young people every year across the globe.

Were you aware of these details about Prince Philip’s life? Who is your favorite member of the royal family and why?