5 Things You Never Knew About Queen Elizabeth's Husband, Prince Philip
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, has stood by wife Queen Elizabeth’s side for more than 70 years—an impressive feat with or without a royal title. But aside from being a prominent fixture on Netflix’s The Crown and a longtime partner to Britain’s reigning monarch, Philip’s story is largely bypassed in the royal news cycle.
Scroll down below to learn everything you need to know about the 96-year-old prince.
He’s Not From England
Despite his prominence in the British Royal family, Prince Philip isn’t originally from the region. He was born in Greece, into the Greek and Danish royal families, but was forced to exile alongside his family when he was just an infant. Ahead of his marriage to Queen Elizabeth, Philip gave up his Greek and Danish titles and adopted his mother’s maiden name, Mountbatten.
Queen Elizabeth Is His Cousin
Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth are both descendants of Queen Victoria. Elizabeth is her great-great granddaughter on her father’s side, while Philip is her great-great grandson on his mother’s side. When all is said and done, Philip and Elizabeth are third cousins.
His Sisters Were Not Invited to His Wedding for a Frightening Reason
Regardless of their close-ish family ties (see above), Prince Philip’s living sisters (Princess Margarita, Princess Theodora, and Princess Sophie) were not invited to Philip’s wedding to Princess (soon-to-be Queen) Elizabeth.
When Philip went away to boarding school in England at the age of 9, a lot changed in the length of his absence. His mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, was diagnosed with schizophrenia and institutionalized at a private facility in Switzerland; his father took up with another woman and moved to the South of France; and all four of his sisters married German princes—three of whom were thought to share pro-Nazi sentiment and affiliation. With World War II’s end just years prior, and tensions still high in Europe, Philip’s sisters’ possible relation to the Third Reich got them scratched off the royal wedding guest list.
Years later, Philip spoke of the Nazi rumors surrounding his sisters, telling European history scholar Jonathan Petropoulus that although there was jealousy in the family over the success of the Jewish people (sounds a little anti-Semitic to me … ), he was never “conscious of anybody in the family actually expressing anti-Semitic views.”
He Changed the Royal Surname
At the beginning of Queen Elizabeth’s reign, royal protocol dictated that the house name (House of Windsor) was to substitute as a last name for descendants without official royal titles. However, Prince Philip fiercely objected to the idea of his descendants not adopting his last name, Mountbatten. In 1960, a compromise was reached—the house would remain House of Windsor, but male-line descendants without royal titles would take on the surname Mountbatten-Windsor.
He Has an Unconventional Sense of Humor
Philip is known to speak his mind, often making risky and politically incorrect jokes during royal engagements. When he met Malala Yousafzai (who was shot by a member of the Taliban in 2012 because of her education-based activism), he told her, “[Children] go to school because their parents don't want them in the house." Luckily, Malala found his joke funny and giggled in return.
Other jokes that he's made haven't gone down quite as well.