Prince Philip, 1st Duke of Edinburgh
Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Philip, with their 4 children -
(left to right) - Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales;
Prince Edward, later The Earl of Wessex,
Prince Andrew, later The Duke of York
& Princess Anne, later The Princess Royal at Buckingham Palace in 1972
An official photograph of
Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Philip, 1st Duke of Edinburgh
for The Queen's Golden Jubilee 2002
In June 2012, following spending the day in the cold rain onboard the Royal Barge 'Spirit of Chartwell' for The Diamond Jubilee Thames River Pageant, Philip was taken to hospital with a bladder infection which forced him to pull out of the subsequent Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral and the Jubilee Concert. Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales (b.1948) said at the Concert - "The only sad thing about this evening is that my father couldn't be with us because, unfortunately, he was taken ill but if we shout loud enough he might hear us in hospital... As a nation, this is our opportunity to thank you and my father for always being there for us, inspiring us with your selfless duty and service and for making us proud to be British." As expected with a man of his advanced years, from time to time, Philip had several health problems, and in June 2017 he was taken to hospital and missed accompanying The Queen to the State Opening of Parliament and Royal Ascot.
Queen Elizabeth II awarding Philip the insignia of
a Knight of the Order of Australia (AK)
The insignia of a Knight of the Order of Australia (AK)
Throughout the reign of Queen Elizabeth II (1926(1952- ), Philip has been constantly at The Queen's side. He has undertaken many solo engagements, but more often seen by the wider public as Consort to The Sovereign at many of the annual State occasions, State Visits and family events. Much has been said that Philip may not have been the most outwardly sensitive father to his children, but there is no doubt that despite his forthright views, he has always cared for them and been interested in their development and future, especially during the various bad times that have eclipsed the Royal Family over the years. In 1997, Philip said - "Like all families we went through the full range of the pleasures and tribulations of bringing up children. I am naturally somewhat biased but I think our children have done rather well under very difficult and demanding circumstances, and I hope we can be forgiven for feeling proud of them. I am also encouraged to see what a good start the next generation is making." At the Golden Wedding Anniversary celebrations on 20th November 1997, The Queen and Philip were guests of honour at a luncheon at Banqueting House, Whitehall, London. In her speech about their remarkable fifty years of marriage, in a rare moment of public praise, The Queen said of Philip - "He is someone who doesn't take easily to compliments but he has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know."
Over recent years, ill heath has frequently dogged Philip - resulting in a great deal of speculation on his long term health issues. The Prince is known not to want fuss and of course Buckingham Palace refuse to discuss his health. However, following his admission to the King Edward VII Hospital, London for a few days in April 2008 with a chest infection - one newspaper subsequently printed that Philip had prostate cancer and Buckingham Palace unusually complained that the story invaded his privacy and forced the newspaper to accept the story was not true and they retracted the item.
Prince Philip following the Service of Thanksgiving
at St Paul's Cathedral, London for The Queen's Golden Jubilee 2002
Other honours have come to Philip, including being appointed - Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom on his 90th Birthday (10th June 2011); an Additional Member of the Order of New Zealand (ONZ) on 29th June 2012 in the Diamond Jubilee Honours - an Extraordinary Commander of the Order of Canada (CC) on 23rd April 2013.
Philip was appointed a Knight of the Order of Australia (AK) on 7th January 2015 (Australia Day Honours) by The Queen, as Queen of Australia upon the recommendation of The Hon. Tony Abbott (b.1957), the Prime Minister of Australia. However, the award caused considerable controversy because Abbott was extremely unpopular and his personal recommendation was met with scorn from many among the Australian public who questioned the Prince's contributions to Australia and pointed out that as a member of the British Royal Family, he was a symbol of another country and nothing more than a "foreigner". Abbott (a staunch Monarchist) had restored Knights and Dames to Australia’s honours system in early 2014, nearly 30 years after they were abolished in 1986. Ultimately the appointment precipitated a leadership crisis, which Abbott lost and on 15th September 2015, he was replaced as Prime Minister by The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull (b.1954), who as a Republican requested that The Queen cease to create Knights and Dames within the Australian honours system stating that they were "no longer appropriate" although existing holders of the honour would not be affected. At the time of his death in April 2021, Philip was one of the last 4 remaining Knights of the Order of Australia.