The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, died on April 9th at age 99 and whilst the nation is in mourning, we decided to take a look at 99 things Prince Philip did during his life that you probably never knew.
1. Prince of Greece and Denmark
Prince Philip was the son of Prince Andrew of Greece and Princess Alice of Battenburg, which made him a Prince in these countries as well as the UK. However, he had to give up these titles to be British and able to join the royal family. He even changed his last name to Mountbatten.
2. Four older sisters
Prince Philip had four older sisters, Princess Margarita, Princess Theodora, Princess Cecile and Princess Sophie, who all married German Prince’s. Philip outlived all of his sisters, but if you are a fan of The Crown, you will know Princess Cecile died in a tragic plane crash whilst pregnant.
3. His mum was a nun
Fans of The Crown are also sure to know that Princess Alice of Battenburg became a nun and dedicated her life to charity work and helping Greek refugees during the second world war.
One of Prince Philip’s favourite hobbies was birdwatching, which he apparently became interested in during the late 1950s whilst on a trip.
5. Wrote 14 books
In his spare time, Prince Philip was also a writer and is said to have written up to 14 books throughout his life.
6. He left Greece in a box
When the Greek royal family had to leave Greece and seek refuge in France, they had to use a fruit box to smuggle Philip out of the country safely.
7. Young Love
Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth met for the first time when he was 18, and she was just 13. It is said that she was head over heels in love despite what her family wanted and had to wait until she was 21 to marry him.
8. Wedding without family
When Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were finally able to get married, none of his German relatives were invited. This was because his sisters were married to German Prince’s, and the second world war had only just ended.
9. Quit Smoking
Prince Philip gave Queen Elizabeth an unusual wedding present, as he made her a promise that he would quit smoking for her.
10. Plum pudding
When Queen Elizabeth gave birth to their first son in 1948, Philip reportedly said that Charles looked like a plum pudding.
11. Longest-serving royal consort
Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth have been married since 1947, but he did not become her royal consort until she became Queen in 1952. This means that Prince Philip is the longest-serving royal consort in British history, serving almost 70 years.
12. Reported George VI’s death
When Queen Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, died in 1952, it was Prince Philip who broke the news to Elizabeth.
13. Old trousers
In 2008, Prince Philip asked his tailor to adjust a pair of trousers that he first received 52 years ago. Whilst this seems absurd, it makes more sense when you consider the upbringing Prince Philip had.
14. First royal family member to fly a helicopter
Prince Philip has been flying planes since 1952, but he is also the first British royal family member to ever fly a plane.
15. Oil Painter
Another hobby Prince Philip enjoyed was oil painting, which is the complete opposite of flying planes and helicopters.
16. Preferred coffee over tea
Whilst we all associate the royal family with the classic drink of tea, Prince Philip actually preferred coffee and enjoyed it black.
17. Diana’s funeral
At the funeral of Princess Diana, Prince Philip looked out for his grandsons, Prince William and Harry. He reportedly told them the following, “If you don’t walk, I think you’ll regret it later. If I walk, will you walk with me?”
18. Supported nearly 100 charities
During his lifetime, Prince Philip has been associated with helping 992 charities by presiding over them or being an honorary member.
19. Related to the Queen
Both Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip are great great grandchildren of Queen Victoria, which makes them third cousins.
20. His birthday isn’t his birthday
Prince Philip was born in Greece in 1921, but at the time, Greece was using the Julian Calendar and didn’t adopt the Gregorian Calendar until two years later. So whilst his birthday is June 10th, he was actually born on May 28th.
Prince Philip was born with the surname Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, which is the family name of his father. However, in 1947 Philip decided to begin using his mothers maiden name instead, which was Mountbatten.
22. Impressive Education
Despite having a rocky childhood, Prince Philip received an impressive education from schools in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
23. Fifth Male Consort in Britain
Whilst Prince Philip was the longest serving royal consort in Britain, he was also only the fifth male consort.
24. Duke of Edinburgh
Prince Philip was also only the fourth man to ever hold the title Duke of Edinburgh. Before Philip it was given by Queen Victoria to her son Alfred, and then King George VI gave it to Philip when he married Elizabeth.
25. Multiple titles
As well as being Prince Philip and the Duke of Edinburgh, Philip was also the Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich, a Privy Counsellor and a Knight of the Garter.
26. Joined the Navy
After the second world war broke out, Prince Philip joined the Royal Navy and was a midshipman on a battleship.
27. One of youngest Lieutenants in the Navy
After joining the Navy, Prince Philip quickly rose through the ranks, and by age 21, he was one of the youngest first lieutenants in the Royal Navy.
28. Antarctic Circle
Prince Philip was also the first member of royal family to cross the Antarctic Circle during his 40,000-mile mission on the Royal Britannia Yacht in 1957.
Whilst Prince Philip did grow up in Greece, he could only understand a small amount of Greek and didn’t speak Danish fluently either. However, during his lifetime, he became fluent in English, French and German.
30. Tiddlywinks Championships
In 1961 Prince Philip began awarding the Silver Wink award to the winner of the Cambridge University Tiddlywinks Championships.
31. Over 5000 speeches
As of 2017, Prince Philip had delivered close to 5500 speeches!
32. More than 22,000 events
By 2017, it was also reported that Prince Philip had attended more than 22,000 events as a member of the royal family
33. Longest royal marriage
The marriage of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip lasted 73 years which makes it the longest marriage in the history of the royal family.
34. Longest lived royal male
Prince Philip is also the longest-lived male member of the royal family and the third longest-lived after the Queens Mother and Princess Alice, who each passed 100 years old.
35. Greek War Cross of Valor
Towards the end of the second world war, Prince Philip helped to save the lives of two men whose plan had been hit by Japanese pilots. This act of heroism resulted in Philip receiving the Cross of Valor.
36. Visited over 140 countries
During his lifetime, Prince Philip had managed to travel to 143 countries.
37. Final flight in 1997
On August 11th 1997, Prince Philip made his final flight from Carlisle to Islay.
38. Fellowship of Engineering
The Royal Academy of Engineering was founded by Prince Philip in the 1970s, and Philip also started the Fellowship of Engineering, where he was a Senior Fellow.
39. Restoration of Windsor Castle
After a fire occurred in Windsor Castle in 1992, Prince Philip played a strong part in the castle’s restoration as he was head of the Restoration Committee.
40. President of International Equestrian Federation
Prince Philip was the longest-serving President of the International Equestrian Federation, as he served for 22 years from 1964 to 1986 before his daughter, Princess Anne, succeeded him.
41. Used an LPG-powered taxi cab
In his later years, Prince Philip used an LPG-powered taxi cab to get around London and avoiding the press, which was both efficient and eco-friendly.
42. The islanders of Tanna
Prince Philip was viewed as a god-like figure on the island of Tanna after he played a significant role in their lives.
43. More than 200 million people listened to his wedding
When Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth got married, the ceremony was recorded and broadcast by the BBC radio station, and more than 200 million people all over the world listened to it.
44. Founded the Duke of Edinburgh Award
In September 1956, Prince Philip and German educationalist Kurt Hahn founded the Duke of Edinburgh Award. The award was designed to encourage young people to take part in voluntary activities and learn new skills.
45. More than 4 million children have the DOE Award
Since Prince Philip founded the Duke of Edinburgh award, more than 4 million children across 90 countries have taken part in the award.
46. More than 5000 flying hours
During his lifetime, Prince Philip had spent 5986 hours flying across 59 different types of aircraft.
47. Enjoyed spicy food
One of Prince Philips favourite things to eat was spicy food.
48. Accompanied Queen Elizabeth on all 251 overseas tours
During his time as royal consort, Prince Philip also accompanied Queen Elizabeth on all 251 overseas tours she attended during his lifetime.
49. Many actors have played him in films/tv-shows
We have all seen The Crown, but Prince Philip has actually been portrayed in several tv shows and films, including The Queen, The Queen’s Corgi, Charles & Diana: A royal love story, The Queen’s sister, and The Royal Romance of Charles and Diana.
50. Edinburgh Green
Prince Philip enjoyed the colour green, especially the shade Edinburgh Green, which is the primary colour of the Duke of Edinburgh and their official livery colour.
51. The Royle Family Show
It has also been reported that Prince Philip used to enjoy watching the beloved sitcom series, The Royle family.
52. A year in Malta
After he and Elizabeth were married, but before the death of King George VI, Elizabeth and Philip spent a year living in Malta, where he was stationed in the Royal Navy.
53. Born at Mon Repos
Prince Philip was born at a villa named Mon Repos, which was the Greek royal families summer retreat on Corfu.
54. Dining table
Not only Prince Philip born in his families villa, but he was actually born on a dining room table.
55. His mother was forced to a psychiatric sanatorium
Princess Alice was forcibly confined to a psychiatric sanatorium in 1931 after she had a nervous breakdown.
56. Keen Carriage Rider
Another one of Prince Philips passions was carriage riding, a sport he not only enjoyed but helped pioneer.
57. First royal family member to be interviewed on TV
In 1961 Prince Philip became the first member of the British royal family to be interviewed on television, where he explained his views of the Commonwealth Technical Training Week.
58. Philip isn’t Philip
Technically, Prince Philips real first name is Philippos; who would have guessed?
59. Russian Blood
Prince Philip is also related to former Kings of Prussia and Emperors of Russia.
60. Enjoyed playing Polo
Prince Philip enjoyed many hobbies throughout his lifetime, one of which was playing polo. He started the hobby in 1949 when he was stationed in Malta and then became one of the best players in Britain.
61. More than 22,000 official engagements alone
Excluding royal engagements where Prince Philip accompanied the Queen, he had attended more than 22,000 solo engagements during his lifetime, with his last taking place in August 2017.
62. Present in Tokyo Bay for Japanese Surrender
During the end of World War 2, Prince Philip served in the HMS WHELP, which was a ship in the pacific. This meant he was present in Tokyo Bay when Japan surrendered in September 1945.
63. Member of the House of Lords
Until 1999, Prince Philip was a member of the House of Lords. But as the Queen must remain politically neutral, he never spoke there.
64. Trustee of the National Maritime Museum
In 1948 Prince Philip was appointed as a trustee for the National Maritime Museum due to his keen interest in Naval history.
65. Founder of the Commonwealth Study Conferences
These conferences were founded by Prince Philip in 1956 and have taken place every six years since. It allows people to examine specific aspects of the commonwealth.
66. Lived in France for 7 years
After he and his family had to leave Greece, Prince Philip spent 7 years in France.
67. President of the Royal Mint Advisory Committee
Prince Philip also has his say on the design of coins, seals and medals, as he was the President of the Royal Mint Advisory Committee for more than 40 years, from 1952 until 1999.
68. Prince Philip Designer’s Prize
Since 1959, Prince Philip was in charge of awarding a prize to the designer of the year. This is a huge competition and one that James Dyson won in 1997.
69. Veteran Public Speaker
Prince Philip is also a veteran public speaker and has made thousands of speeches at meetings, conferences and receptions throughout his lifetime.
70. The Queens Gallery
It was Prince Philips idea to build The Queens Gallery at Buckingham Palace, which was converted from a former chapel that had been bombed during the war.
71. RAF Wings
Prince Philip officially gained his Royal Air Force wings in 1953.
72. Helicopter Wings
A few years later, Prince Philip officially gained his helicopter wings in 1956.
73. Private Pilots licence
Then in 1959, Prince Philip received his private pilot’s license.
74. 4 weeks at King Edward VII hospital
During his later years of life, Prince Philip had a number of health scares. His longest hospital stay was in 2021, where he spent 4 weeks at King Edward VII hospital before being released back home to Windsor Castle.
Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth had been together for several decades, making it no surprise he had some unusual nicknames for her along the way, including Cabbage and Lilibet.
76. Princess Anne
It is believed that Princess Anne was his favourite child, as she was his only daughter and gave her kind nicknames like Sweetie. This was also suggested in an episode of The Crown.
Another one of Prince Philips hobbies was gardening, and he is said to have redesigned the gardens at the families Balmoral home, which included the addition of a water garden which he used a bulldozer to dig out himself.
78. President of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA)
Prince Philip has been President of the RSA since 1952, an organisation that promotes discussion and production of design, arts, education, environment and business.
79. He met Elizabeth at a wedding in 1934
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip met when she was just 13, but this was at the wedding of Prince George, Duke of Kent, and Princess Marina of Greece.
During a speech he made in November 1997, Prince Philip is reported to have said: “‘I think the main lesson we have learnt is that tolerance is the one essential ingredient in any happy marriage… You can take it from me, the Queen has the quality of tolerance in abundance”
81. 10 great grandchildren
Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth had ten great grandchildren when he died, with Meghan Markle expected to give birth to another in the next few months.
82. 8 grandchildren
Each of Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth’s children had two children of their own, which means the royal couple have 8 grandchildren.
Prince Philip attended the Scottish boarding school of Gordonstoun during his youth, where he was described as clever and naughty.
84. President of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
From 1981 to 1996, Prince Philip was the President of the World Wildlife Fund.
85. Was Sixth in line to Greek throne
When Prince Philip was born, he was sixth in line to the Greek throne.
86. Considered himself Danish
Despite being born in Greece, Prince Philip considered himself to be Danish rather than Greek.
87. Fought against family
During the Second World War, Prince Philip had to fight against his brothers in law, Prince Christoph of Hesse and Margrave of Baden, who fought for the German side.
88. The Proposal
When Elizabeth was 20 years old, Philip wrote to her asking for her hand in marriage, but this was postponed by her father, King George VII, until she was 21.
89. Engagement ring
Prince Philip designed the engagement ring he gave to Queen Elizabeth himself.
90. Kurt Hahn
Prince Philip and Kurt Hahn founded the Duke of Edinburgh Award, but before that, Philip and Kurt had met in Germany. Kurt was a teacher at Philips school who left Germany to set up Gordonstoun in Scotland, where Philip also attended.
91. Had a sense of humour
There are plenty of photos of Prince Philip making the Queen laugh, and even before they got married, she had been warned not to marry him because he was too funny.
92. President of Marylebone Cricket Club
Prince Philip served two terms as President of the Marylebone Cricket Club, which is no surprise as he was a fan of the sport.
93. Madame Tussaud’s Museum
Back in 1976, Prince Philip was immortalised as one of Madame Tussaud’s waxworks which remains in the museum.
Prince Philip officially retired from his public duties in August 2017 when he was 96 years old.
95. He pranked the queen
Since the death of Prince Philip, a photo of him dressed as a Palace Guard to prank Queen Elizabeth has gone viral.
96. Salmon Coulibiac
Aside from Spicy food, one of Prince Philips favourite things to eat was Salmon Coulibiac.
97. His uncle was killed in Ireland
In 1979, Louis Mountbatten, otherwise known as the first Earl of Mountbatten, was killed by an IRA bomb that had been planted on his fishing boat in Ireland.
98. Mountbatten vs Windsor
When Elizabeth became Queen, she had to choose her royal surname and decided to stick with Windsor rather than Prince Philips surname of Mountbatten.
This was the nickname Princess Alice had given Prince Philip whilst he was growing up.