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PEOPLE Prince Philip

PEOPLE Prince Philip

PEOPLE Prince Philip

With Prince Philip’s passing at age 99, People pays tribute to history’s longest-serving royal consort in a photo-filled commemorative edition. The day of Queen Elizabeth’s 1953 coronation, her husband, Philip Mountbatten, also took a vow: To stand by the monarch, who happened also to be the love of his life. With intimate family pictures and glorious historical moments, this special issue looks at Philip’s life, from his turbulent childhood through his decades of public duty to the Crown. The son of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg served his adopted country first as a naval officer and then as the “strength and stay” of the queen, to whom he was wed for 73 years. Father to Princes Charles, Andrew and Edward and to Princess Anne, he was a grandfather to eight (including Princes William and Harry), and a great-grandfather of nine. Flinty and frank, he was known for the occasional verbal gaffe but also for being someone the queen “can have a laugh with,” according to an insider. People’s unparalleled royal coverage tells the story of a royal romance that weathered good years and bad. As a bridesmaid at their 1947 wedding told People when Elizabeth and Philip approached their platinum anniversary, “I can think of very few couples as united.”

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in this issue

5 min
wed to the queen

ONE MUST SYMPATHISE NOT only with the grieving daughter but with the young woman who has to put her youth aside,” The New York Times wrote of the new Queen. “She picks up a burden whose weight will be hard to bear.” Arriving in London from Kenya, Elizabeth, dressed in black, her eyes reddened, descended the aircraft steps alone. Philip followed a few paces behind. “When the late King died,” he explained to one biographer, “everything changed.” Back home at Clarence House, Elizabeth’s 84-year-old grandmother would pay a visit, curtsying to her granddaughter, her new Queen. As a swirl of ceremony enveloped his wife into a world he could not constitutionally enter, Philip was left on the outside. His role was naturally destined to be a supporting one now that he…

4 min
in good times…

WHEN PRINCE Charles emerged on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on July 29, 1981, and kissed his new bride, the country was euphoric. The union had ended more than a decade of press speculation over who would wed the next King of England. (“The Prince and the Proper Girl: Who and Where Is She?” a People headline wondered back in 1974 when Charles was pushing 26.) But for Charles’s parents the marriage was cause for a different sort of joy, one tinged with relief. By then Elizabeth and Philip were already grandparents twice over to Princess Anne’s young children Zara and Peter with her husband, equestrian Captain Mark Phillips. But what of their firstborn and heir? When Charles chose Lady Diana Spencer, just 19, a daughter of the Queen’s former…

4 min
newlyweds to new parents

PENNING LETTERS BY THE FIRE ON their honeymoon in Scotland, the young marrieds couldn’t contain their happiness. “Cherish Lilibet? I wonder if that word is enough to express what is in me,” Philip wrote to his new mother-in-law. “Philip,” Elizabeth wrote to her, “is an angel…. Having him around all the time is just perfect.” Upon returning to London, however, all was not perfection. “Philip is terribly independent, and I quite understand the poor darling wanting to start off properly without everything being done for us,” Elizabeth had written to her mother, adding that her new husband needed to feel he’s the “boss in his own home.” But that wasn’t easy since the couple didn’t have a proper home of their own. Awaiting renovations on Clarence House, they moved into Buckingham Palace,…

4 min
a princess meets her future

TEN-YEAR-OLD PRINCESS Elizabeth was at home when she heard the cheers from the London streets below: Her uncle King Edward VIII had just given up the crown to be with “the woman I love,” and a crowd was hailing the new King—her father. Rushing upstairs, she told her younger sister the news. “Does that mean that you will have to be the next Queen?” asked Margaret. “Yes, someday,” Elizabeth replied. “Poor you,” concluded her sister, according to biographer Sally Bedell Smith in Elizabeth the Queen. The future Queen, however, accepted her fate in silence. At age 2, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary already had, in the words of Winston Churchill, “an air of authority and reflectiveness astonishing in an infant.” Yet until her father’s brother relinquished the throne, she grew up unburdened by…

6 min
…and in bad

A SMALL FIGURE stood in the courtyard of Windsor Castle the afternoon of Nov. 20, 1992, watching a painful scene as hundreds of firefighters rushed to battle flames engulfing her childhood home. “It was the most shaken I ever saw her,” an adviser recalls of the Queen. Elizabeth called her husband, in Argentina at the time, and the couple spoke at length about the tragedy on what should have been a day of celebration—their 45th wedding anniversary. Then she phoned her mother and wept. In a year plagued by royal scandal and the breakdown of the marriages of three of the couple’s four children, the blaze was “a cruel metaphor,” Time magazine wrote. Four days later the Queen stood before a room gathered to honor her 40 years on the…

7 min
philip, before elizabeth

THIS,” SAID A FAMILY FRIEND, introducing the tow-headed 4-year-old at his side to a stranger, “is Prince Philip. His grandfather is a king of Greece.” Indignant, the little boy shot back, “No! I’m Philip—just Philip, that’s all!” Prince Philippos of the royal house of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg was born June 10, 1921, in Corfu, Greece. He didn’t have a drop of Hellenic blood—his paternal grandfather, King George I, was a Danish prince who had been installed on the Greek throne at age 17 and had eight children, including Philip’s father, Prince Andrew, a general in the Greek army. Philip’s mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, was born in Windsor Castle, a great-granddaughter of Britain’s Queen Victoria. (Yes, that made Philip a distant cousin of his wife; see family tree, page 36.) Alice’s father, Admiral…