Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was born into two royalties, Greece and Denmark, and was married into a third, Great Britain. When he died on April 9, he was two months short of his 100th birthday. Last week, an appreciative nation he served all his life gave him a hero’s burial, a funeral like no other, partly arranged by the Prince himself. Philip was the husband of Queen Elizabeth II. Officially, he was the queen’s consort, which often put him in the image of just a companion. He was much more than a companion. The queen, who celebrated her 95th birthday on Wednesday, once reflected that Prince Philip was her rock and her stay and everyone seemed to understand her. The Prince met the Queen for the first time in 1934. And when in 1939 the Prince joined the Royal Navy, he began communicating with Princess Elizabeth through letters and, apparently, that was when their relationship warmed up enough such that at the end of the war, Philip sought and was granted permission by King George VI to marry Princess Elizabeth. Before the official announcement of their engagement in July 1947, the Prince gave up his Greek and Danish titles and styles to become a naturalised British subject, and adopted his maternal grandparents’ surname, Mountbatten. Just before the wedding, he was granted the style of His Royal Highness and created Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Marioneth and Baron Greenwich by the King. He married Elizabeth on November 20, 1947 and the marriage lasted for 73 years.
Prince Philip proved himself in leadership and courage during World War II. Numerous testimonies confirm his skill and military talents and his exemplary performance in battles. He was named to be in at least seven major battles: the Battle of Crete, the Battle of Cape Matapan, Allied Invasion of Sicily, Operation Dragon, Operation Robson, Operation Lentil, Battle of Okinawa. At the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1952, Prince Philip retired from the military, a field he loved very much. At his departure, he was not only a war hero but had also attained the ranks of Commander and Admiral of the Fleet, a Field Marshal in the Army, a Marshal of the Royal Air Force, Captain General of the Royal Marines. He had also commanded the HMS Magpie.
If his military service was intimidating, his civil works and service to the community and the Commonwealth as a British Prince since 1957 was exemplary. He will be remembered for his love for sports and his contributions to the development of equestrian sports. He is distinguished in pushing carriage-riding as a distinctive sport. Prince Philip was patron, president or member of more than 780 organisations. He also serves as chairman of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, a self-improvement programme for young people aged between 14 and 24 years. He was also the longest-serving consort of a reigning British monarch and the longest male member of the British Royal Family. He retired from royal duties on August 2, 2017 at the age of 96 within which he had completed 22,219 solo royal engagements and had delivered 5,493 speeches. His extraordinary service to the environment will forever be remembered. He led the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) for many years and ensured his son, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, is committed to the environment.