Tribute to HRH, The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

It was with great sorrow that yesterday we heard of the passing of one of the greatest men of the 20th century, Prince Philip. A man who discreetly supported the greatest leader of the last century, Her Majesty the Queen. Not only was he a war veteran, a husband, father, and grandfather - but also a generous man who chaired hundreds of charities, went on hundreds of royal tours, and especially supported his wife day by day for over seventy years - both in times of joy and of sorrow, he was a rock to his family for the good part of an entire century. This is a tribute to him.

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich, born as Philip Mountbatten, Prince of Greece and Denmark, was born on the Greek island of Corfu on 10th June 1921. His father was Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark (1882-1944), a younger son of King George I of the Hellenes, his mother was Princess Alice (1885-1969), who was the eldest daughter of Louis Alexander Mountbatten, 1st Marquess of Milford Haven, and Princess Victoria of Hesse and the Rhine, granddaughter of Queen Victoria. A woman who lived through a difficult life, but not before becoming a righteous among nations after saving hundreds of Jewish refugees during WW2. The war was hard on his family and he was eventually exiled from Greece, finally finding refuge in Great Britain, with close relatives, who sponsored his education at Gardonstoun School, and at the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth. During the war he served in the navy, first in the Mediterranean campaign, against the Germans and the Italians, and then in the Pacific against the Japanese - scoring successful victories in the Battle of Crete, the Liberation of Italy, at the Battle of Okinawa, and others. At this time he began corresponding with a certain Princess Elizabeth. After the war he was stationed in Malta.

On 28th February 1947, Philip became a British subject, renouncing his right to the Greek and Danish thrones and taking his mother's surname, Mountbatten. His grand marriage to Princess Elizabeth took place in Westminster Abbey on 20th November 1947. On the eve of his wedding, he was designated a royal highness and was created a Knight of the Garter, Baron Greenwich, Earl of Merioneth, and Duke of Edinburgh. Prince Charles, their first son was born in 1948, followed by Princess Anne in 1950. In 1952, Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth II. Charles and Anne were followed by Prince Andrew in 1960 and Prince Edward in 1964.

Philip continued on active service with the Royal Navy, commanding the frigate Magpie, until Elizabeth's accession on 6th February 1952, from which time he shared her official and public life. He attended an average of 350 official engagements a year on behalf of the royal houseold. In 1957, she conferred on him the dignity of Prince of the United Kingdom, and in 1960 his surname was combined with the name of her family, as Mountbatten-Windsor. Philip also engaged in a variety of philanthropic endeavours - he served as president of the World Wildlife Fund from 1981 to 1996, and his revolutionary International Award programme allowed more than six million young adults to engage in community service, leadership development, and physical and fitness activities. 

In 2011, to mark his 90th birthday, the Queen conferred on him the title and office of Lord High Admiral, the titular head of the Royal Navy. In May 2017, it was announced that the prince, who was one of the busiest royals, with more than 22,000 solo appearances, would stop carrying out public engagements. His last solo event took place on 2nd August 2017. His spent the last years of his life doing what he has always done with constancy and in a discreet manner. He supported his wife, the Queen, fought for world's freedom, and became an example not only to his family and nation, but to the whole world. On their Golden Wedding Anniversary, the Queen said during a speech: He is someone who doesn't take easily to compliments but he has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know. The world mourns and pays tribute to this great man. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

O HEAVENLY Father, who by thy mighty power hast given us life, and in thy love hast given us new life in thy beloved Son: we entrust our brother, Philip, to thy merciful keeping, in the faith of the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who died and rose again to save us and now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, ever One God, world without end. Amen.


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