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Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh

His Royal Highness, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, will be celebrating his 90th birthday this coming June 10, 2011. There will be a great celebration to be organized in his honour.

Since his wife's accession to the throne in 1952, the Prince has played an important role in the national life of Britain and supported the Queen in her duties and responsibilities as the ruling sovereign of the United Kingdom and her realms. The duke is patron to more or less 800 organizations and at his age, continue performing his public duties.

The Queen has been in the throne for 59 years now, making Prince Philip the longest-serving Prince consort in British history. Originally intended to make Navy his lifetime career, this dream however cut short when his father-in-law, King George VI, died suddenly on February 1952 making his wife sovereign at the age of 25. Since then he became active in his role as Prince consort, representing Britain and the monarchy in many ceremonial functions. In 1956 he established The Duke of Edinburgh Award, aimed to honour the youth for their active participation in the community.

The Prince was born His Royal Highness Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, the youngest and only son of His Royal Highness Prince Andrew of Denmark (son of King George I of Greece) and Princess Alice of Battenberg (daughter of Prince Louis of Battenberg who was created Lord Louis Mountbatten, 1st Marquess of Milford-Haven in 1917). His parents were both first cousins of King George V through King Christian IX of Denmark and Queen Victoria of England making him third cousin and second cousin once removed to his wife, Queen Elizabeth II. He has four elder sisters who married German princes. He is especially close to his cousin, King Michael of Romania.
Prince Philip during his youth. He was often described before as "blindingly handsome, debonair and a real Prince Charming". Image from the Gallery of the official site of the British Monarchy

Prince Philip went to live with his maternal grandmother, Princess Victoria, at Kensington Palace in England when the marriage of his parents fell apart. His maternal uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten, the Earl of Burma,  stood as his father in his entire life. Lord Mountbatten advised him to take a career in the Navy. After he completed his naval training he was commissioned as a midshipman in 1940 and saw action during World War II aboard the battleship HMS Ramillies. At the course of the Second of World War, the Prince would serve many more battleships, later, he was awarded with the Greek War Cross of Valour. He was promoted to Sub-Lieutenant and subsequently First Lieutenant, making him one of the youngest first lieutenants in the Royal Navy. In 1947, he was obliged to renounce his Greek royal title for his impending marriage to the future British Queen. He became a British subject (though technically he was already a British subject at that time of his birth as he directly descended from Princess Sophia of Hanover) and switched his religion from Greek Orthodox to Anglican. Prince Philip took the name Philip Mountbatten.
HRH Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten during the announcement of their engagement (July 9, 1947). Image from the Gallery of the official site of the British Monarchy
The royal wedding in November 20, 1947
During the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II (June 1953). Image from garethrussellcidevant.blogspot.com

His engagement to Princess Elizabeth was announced on July 1947 and he presented his future bride with a platinum engagement ring taken from the Greek Tiara owned by his mother. They got married on November 20, 1947 at Westminster Abbey attended by all European royal members. He was created by King George VI as Duke of Edinburgh, Earl Marrioneth and Baron Greenwich and appointed to the Order of the Garter on the night before his wedding. They have four children: Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales (born 1948), Princess Anne, the Princess Royal (1950), Prince Andrew, the Duke of York (1960) and Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex (1964). Presently, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen have eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild (from Peter Phillips--son of Princess Anne).
The royal family in September 1979 while at Balmoral Castle.
From left: Prince Edward, Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Philip, the Queen and Prince Andrew. Image from the gallery of the British monarchy official site

In 1952 he was appointed by his wife as Admiral of Sea Cadet Corps and subsequently Admiral of the Fleet, Field Marshal and Marshal of the Royal Air Force. The Prince received many more appointments and decorations in the Commonwealth in succeeding years. According to one report in 2007, Prince Philip is being worshipped as a god by some inhabitants in small villages in Vanuatu, a small country in the South Pacific near Australia. The villagers has a portrait of the Duke in their villages and hold feasts annually on his birthday, but so far no official comment was heard about this issue from the palace.
Coat-of-Arms of Prince Philip with a prominent flag of Greece (white cross against blue shade)
The Prince's Arms feature the elements of the two royal houses in which he descended in the male-line, the royal houses of Denmark and Greece. It also features the elements of his maternal grandfather's house, the Battenberg or Mountbatten and Edinburgh City.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at the wedding of their grandson, Prince William

The Duke of Edinburgh has been known with his very strict almost authoritative behaviour in the royal circle because of his effort to make the monarchy appear dignified in public. He consciously guarded its mystic and became active in protecting the crown from malicious issues. His temper is legendary but his charm and appeal as one of the most irresistible royal princes in the European court often shrouded people's reservation. Though he made effort to modernize the monarchy and dismissed the ancient royal system as irrelevant, Philip still adheres to some royal traditions and practices. He is very vocal defending the image of the monarchy ensuring no scandal could damage the reign of his wife. His confidence eclipses that of Her Majesty and, except in official functions, the Queen often relied in his meticulous judgement and decisions.


  

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