Prince Philip: Greek native with a turbulent upbringing

The Duke of Edinburgh, husband to Queen Elizabeth II, was originally a Greek native, born in Corfu as Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark in 1921.

The 99-year-old prince is the only son and youngest child of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg, Germany.

Philip Eade, author of Young Prince Philip, told Town & Country Magazine: “Whereas the Queen experienced a very close-knit and happy family life, apart from the abdication in 1936, Philip’s childhood was far more turbulent.”

In 1922 Prince Philip’s uncle, King Constantine I of Greece, was forced to abdicate the throne following the Greco-Turkish war, and the duke’s father was then forced into permanent exile from Greece by a court.

For the next decade, Prince Philip moved to France with his family and settled in Saint-Cloud, Paris, as the family’s exile from Greece had a crippling impact on his mother.

Eade noted in his book: “His mother’s nerves had been badly strained by the family’s exile from Greece, and because of this the children were regularly packed off to friends and relations.”

In 1931, Princess Alice suffered from a nervous breakdown and was admitted to a psychiatric institution in Switzerland, while Prince Andrew re-located to the south of France.

The duke had no contact with his mother between summer 1932 and spring 1937.

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Prince Philip was left alone as his four older sisters settled in Germany, where they married German aristocrats.

In an interview Prince Philip said: “It’s simply what happened. The family broke up. My mother was ill, my sisters were married, my father was in the south of France. I just had to get on with it. You do. One does.”

His mother’s family, the Milford Havens and the Mountbattens, took over the role as his guardians.

Prince Philip attended a school in England and briefly went to a school in Germany that was owned by one of his sister’s husbands.

Within less than a year the prince returned to Britain and was sent to Gordonstoun, a Scottish boarding school.

In 1947, Prince Philip gave up has right to the Greek and Danish thrones as he became a British subject, taking his mother’s surname as Mountbatten.

Check out all of SWL’s Prince Philip coverage here.

Featured image credit: Carfax2 via Wikipedia Commons

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