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Happy Birthday, Prince Philip!

Happy birthday to one of my favorite members of the British Royal Family!

Today, June 10, 2012, is the 91st birthday of His Royal Highness, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and the happiest news is that, the Prince is in a very good condition. 

The Duke of Edinburgh's special day started with his discharged from King Edward VII hospital where he was confined for five days due to a bladder infection. His illness forced him to miss the end of the diamond jubilee celebration of the Queen. His last appearance was during the river pageant at Thames.

As the Queen celebrated her diamond jubilee on the throne, Prince Philip also celebrated his diamond jubilee as Prince Consort making him the only Prince Consort (and the longest surviving) in British history to reach such milestone. 

At 91, the Duke of Edinburgh is still very active and in high spirit. According to his grandchildren, he has been the Queen's rock and strength all through out her 60 years on the throne and that it would be too impossible for her to carry out the responsibilities as Head of State effectively without the support of her husband.

Born His Royal Highness, Prince Philippos of Greece and Denmark, Philip was forced to renounce his Greek royal title when he married the future Queen Elizabeth II in 1947, he adopted his maternal grandfather's name Mountbatten when he gave up his royal status. Mountbatten is not a family name actually, it was only the anglicized version of Battenberg. Berg in Germany means "Mountain".

Philip's maternal grandfather was a German Prince, Louis of Battenberg. He had served as a First Sea Lord of England at the outbreak of World War I, but due to bitter anti-German sentiments, King George V changed the name of his royal house from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor and admonished all his royal cousins living in England to give up their German royal titles and anglicized their names. Prince Louis of Battenberg became Lord Louis Mountbatten, the first Marquess of Milford-Haven.

Philip accustomed to many hardships and sacrifices in life. He was only 18 months old when his father, Prince Andrew, was sentenced to die in Greece because he was blamed of leaving his post under enemy's fire during Greek and Turkish war.

Andrew, the 7th child of King George I of Greece, was serving as a General in the Greek Army during the reign of his older brother, King Constantine I. Andrew's life was spared when his first cousin, King George V (grandfather of Queen Elizabeth II), sent a British war ship and forcibly took him and his family out of Greece. Prince Philip's mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, the great granddaughter of Queen Victoria, was born in Windsor Castle and especially close to King George V.

Philip grew up in Britain with his maternal grandmother, Princess Victoria of Hesse-Cassel, one of Queen Victoria's grandchildren. He joined the Royal Navy when he was 18 years old and quickly rose to a rank of a Lieutenant and fought under enemy's fire during World War II. He wanted to make navy as his lifetime career but when his father-in-law suddenly died in his sleep on February 9, 1952, he was forced to give up his naval career.

Asked how he felt about the circumstances, according to an interview, Prince Philip answered "...disappointing, but being married to the Queen is my first duty, so I would serve her the best way I could". He then actively doing his role as Prince Consort and had been at the Queen's side for the past 60 years.

Prince Philip has no commoner blood, he descended from royalty and grew up visiting different castles around Europe. Aside from being a great great grandson of Queen Victoria of England on his mother's side, he is also a great grandson of King Christian IX of Denmark and a great great grandson of Emperor Nicholas I of Russia on his father's side. His closest cousins are King Michael I of Romania and Queen Alexandra of Yugoslavia.

To date, the Duke of Edinburgh is the oldest living great great grandchild of Queen Victoria.

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