Still beside the queen at 99: Prince Philip to mark birthday

Jun 9, 2020, 7:02 AM | Updated: 7:04 am
Prince Philip Birthday...
FILE - In this June 19, 1962 file photo, Britain's Prince Philip and his wife Queen Elizabeth II arrive at Royal Ascot race meeting, England. There certainly won’t be fuss. Count on that. When Britain’s Prince Philip reaches the grand age of 99 on Wednesday, he will spend it quietly and in much the same way he’s spent most of his adult life: beside Queen Elizabeth II. (AP Photo/File)
(AP Photo/File)

LONDON (AP) — There certainly won’t be fuss. Count on that.

When Britain’s Prince Philip reaches the grand age of 99 on Wednesday, he will spend it quietly and in much the same way he’s spent most of his adult life: beside Queen Elizabeth II.

The stalwart consort plans a quiet lunch at Windsor Castle, where the senior royals have been sheltering due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some family members may call but the palace is saying little more than that. Britain is still under coronavirus restrictions that limit the size of gatherings and Philip and the 94-year-old queen are well into the over-65 age group most vulnerable to coronavirus.

The last year hasn’t been an easy one for Philip, who retired from public life in 2017 after 65 years of supporting the queen.

In November, his second son, 60-year-old Prince Andrew, was forced to step away from all royal public duties because of concerns about his links to Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted American sex offender who died in a New York prison. Two months later, Prince Harry, Philip’s grandson, and his wife, the former Meghan Markle, caused further controversy when they announced they were stepping away from royal duties so they could seek financial independence in North America.

Wednesday’s birthday is just the latest milestone for the man born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark on June 10, 1921, amid the upheaval that led to a military coup that overthrew his uncle, King Constantine of Greece, a few months later.

His parents were Princess Alice of Battenberg, a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria, and Prince Andrew of Greece.

England’s King George V sent a Royal Navy cruiser to evacuate Philip’s family, and the infant prince was whisked to safety in a cot made from an orange box. The young Philip went to school in Germany and Britain and rarely saw his parents when he was growing up.

In 1939, Philip joined the British military as a cadet at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth. It was there he was asked to escort then-Princess Elizabeth and her sister on a visit to the facility.

He served in the Royal Navy throughout World War II, winning mention in dispatches for service aboard the battleship HMS Valiant at Cape Matapan, on Greece’s Peloponnesian peninsula. Philip rose to the rank of commander, but his career ended when his wife became Queen Elizabeth II after the death of her father, King George VI, in 1952.

Philip had married the future queen at Westminster Abbey in 1947 when she was 21 and he was 26. He renounced his Greek title and King George VI made him the Duke of Edinburgh. At Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953, Philip swore to be his wife’s “liege man of life and limb,” and he settled into a life supporting the queen.

Together they had four children — Charles, the Prince of Wales and heir to the throne, Anne, Andrew and Edward; eight grandchildren, including Prince William, second-in-line to the throne and Harry; and eight great-grandchildren.

At the time he retired from public life, Philip was the patron, president or a member of more than 780 organizations, including many charities. He had given 5,496 speeches, written 14 books and gone on 637 solo visits overseas, in addition to hundreds of trips accompanying the queen.

“I think probably a lot of people don’t know what he’s done because he doesn’t like adulation,’’ said Ingrid Seward, editor of Majesty Magazine. “He doesn’t like fame. He just gets on with it.’’

To many, Philip has been the man, a step or two behind the queen, who told off-color jokes and occasionally made headlines for being a tad inappropriate.

He is not without controversy. Newcomers to the House of Windsor, such as the late Princess Diana and Prince Andrew’s ex-wife, the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, have reportedly clashed with him.

But Seward said such disagreements arose out of Philip’s sense of duty to the monarchy as an institution.

He is, after all, a man who gave up his own independence and a promising naval career to marry the future queen at a time the royal family was still recovering from the abdication of King Edward VIII a decade earlier. Elizabeth’s father only became king because his older brother, later known as the Duke of Windsor, refused to rule without the American divorcee who became his wife — a move some saw as shirking his duty to the nation.

But Seward said Philip’s contributions to the monarchy have been profound. He’s been credited with modernizing the House of Windsor behind the scenes, making the royal estates profitable and being a redoubtable supporter of the monarch.

“I think he shaped the queen’s reign very subtly, and people don’t really know what he’s done,″ she said. “So he’s managed to do things without being noticed, which is what he wants.’’


Associated Press Writer Hilary Fox contributed.

Today’s Top Stories


A female bison and calf are seen near the Yellowstone River in Wyoming's Hayden Valley, on Wednesda...
Mark Jones

2nd visitor in 3 days gored by Yellowstone National Park bison

In less than a week, two visitors to Yellowstone National Park have been gored by bison. Park officials say to stay at least 25 yards away from a bison.
3 days ago
Travelers wait in for a TSA security check at the Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles,...

Pre-pandemic sized crowds descend on US airports for holiday

TSA is reporting crowds of pre-pandemic size are traveling this Independence Day.
3 days ago
Residents stand in front of building destroyed by missiles in Ukraine...
FRANCESCA EBEL Associated Press

Russian missiles kill at least 19 in Ukraine’s Odesa region

The Ukrainian president's office said three Kh-22 missiles fired by Russian bombers struck an apartment building and a campsite.
3 days ago
Ketanji Brown Jackson takes the oath for the Supreme Court....
MARK SHERMAN Associated Press

Jackson sworn in, becomes 1st Black woman on Supreme Court

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, 51, will be sworn as the court's 116th justice Thursday, just as the man she is replacing, Justice Stephen Breyer, retires.
4 days ago
The Supreme Court is pictured. The court just limited the EPA...
MARK SHERMAN Associated Press

Supreme Court limits EPA in curbing power plant emissions

The Supreme Court on Thursday limited how the nation's main anti-air pollution law can be used to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.
4 days ago
President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference on the final day of the NATO summit in Madrid, ...

Biden says transatlantic alliance has adapted to new threats

Biden's comments came at a press conference in Madrid at the conclusion of the annual meeting of NATO leaders and after he attended a summit with the Group of Seven advanced democratic economies in the Bavarian Alps.
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Still beside the queen at 99: Prince Philip to mark birthday