THE LIFE AND TIMES OF PRINCE PHILIP THE DUKE OF EDINBURGH
By Josephine Agbonkhese
The British royal family was last Friday thrown into mourning as Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II and the longest-serving British consort, took a bow at the age of 99.
Though the Duke of Edinburgh had a successful naval career, his most prominent role, however, was that of a dedicated husband who supported his wife as she served as head of the Commonwealth since 1952.
Born the Prince of Greece and Denmark on June 10, 1921, Prince Philip had a tumultuous childhood which, no doubt, shaped his personality and lifestyle; one which was somewhat later constricted by his role in the British Royal Family.
The Duke of Edinburgh known to have adapted quickly and capably to his work in support of the Queen whom he married in November 1947, had accompanied her on countless royal visits and tours where he gained a reputation for his unexpected and blunt remarks.
Throughout, the Prince Philip remained a dedicated husband to the Queen and played an active role in his public duties.
He was the patron or president of 780 organisations, including The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, which he founded in 1956. The award operated in more than 140 countries and celebrates young people serving in their communities.
Prince Philip and the Queen became the first couple in the Royal Family to celebrate their diamond wedding or 60th anniversary.
As a steady figure in the Royal Family for more than half a century, Prince Philip’s contribution to the monarchy was perhaps best summed up by the Queen herself.
“He is someone who doesn’t take easily to compliments,” she said during a lunch to mark their 50th wedding anniversary in 1997.
“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,” she added.
The queen, a very private person not given to extravagant displays of affection, also once called him “her rock” in public.
His bluntness didn’t take away from his sweetness though, as, in private, Philip called his wife Lilibet; but referred to her in conversation with others as “The Queen.”
Together, the couple raised four children and have eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
Prince Philip will forever be remembered as a supportive husband who cut short his career to stand beside his wife as Queen of England.
His was an extraordinary life of service and duty. He was The Queen’s crown.