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Prince Philip: These Were His Famous Royal Parents

Prince Philip: These Were His Famous Royal Parents
October 18, 2020 - 08:10 / Lucas Anderson

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was born a Prince of Greece and Denmark in Mon Repos on the Greek Island of Corfu in 1921. His royal parents had ties to the Greek, Danish, and British royal families, as well as royal houses with German roots. These were the parents of Prince Philip, Prince Andrew and Princess Alice of Greece and Denmark.

Prince Philip's early life was one of movement and instability. He was born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark on June 10, 1921 to parents Prince Andrew and Princess Alice of Greece and Denmark.

Despite Philip's birth into Greek and Danish royalty, his parents were of primarily German descent with some Danish and Russian ancestry. But as a boy, Philip was exiled with Andrew and Alice and later sent away from them as a result of Greek military conflict and his mother's health. He was educated mostly in England and Germany before serving with the Royal Navy in WWII and marrying the future Queen Elizabeth II in 1947.

Prince Philip: Who were his royal parents?

Philip's father, Prince Andrew, was born in 1882 to King George I of Greece and Olga Constantinova of Russia. He served as a military leader in the Greek Army, but spent much of his life in exile after losses in the Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922).

Andrew married Princess Alice of Battenberg in 1903 after meeting her at the coronation of King Edward VII. She was born to Prince Louis of Battenberg and Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria. The couple had five children together, Philip being the youngest and the only son.

Prince Philip's Parents: Prince Andrew and Princess Alice married in 1903

Following both WWI and the Greco-Turkish War, Prince Andrew and the family were banished from Greece and exiled first to Switzerland in 1919 and then France in 1922. In 1930, Alice suffered a nervous breakdown and was institutionalized in Switzerland with a paranoid schizophrenia diagnosis. Andrew fought for his wife, but this distance began their permanent estrangement. A young Prince Philip was sent to England after his mother's institutionalization.

In 1939, Philip, in his late teens, trained as a cadet at the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth. That year, he'd reunited with his mother in Athens, before returning to the UK and serving with the Royal Navy in WWII. 1939 was also the final time Philip saw his father, who died five years later in Monte Carlo on Dec. 3, 1944. In Greece, Alice sheltered a family of Jewish refugees during the Holocaust, an act for which she was recognized with the Righteous Among the Nations honorific. 

Prince Philip reunited with his mother at Buckingham Palace

After the war, Philip, then a lieutenant, married Princess Elizabeth in 1947, later becoming the Consort of the British Monarch and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh. His mother attended the wedding, but continued to live in Greece in the postwar period. In these years, she was known to be highly religious and founded a nursing order of Greek Orthodox nuns.

Princess Alice, Prince Philip's mother, visits Buckingham Palace, 1960

By the mid-1960s, her health was deteriorating, so the Queen and Prince Philip invited her to live at Buckingham Palace, where she spent her final years. She died at age 84 in 1969. 

Prince Andrew and Princess Alice's youngest child and only son, Prince Philip, has long outlived his four sisters, the last of whom passed away in 2001. He retired from royal duties in 2017, but has still been making the occasional public appearance ever since.  Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Duke of Edinburgh has been in quarantine with the Queen.