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 Prince Philip, 1st Duke of Edinburgh  

Princess Elizabeth fell pregnant in early 1948 and as she was Heiress Presumptive to King George VI (1895(1936-1952) any child could inevitably inherit the Throne.  Normally the style and title of a child of a Sovereign's daughter would be determined by the style and title of the father, so to ensure that any issue would be Royal from birth, The King issued Letters Patent on 22nd October 1948 stating that all children of the marriage would be a Prince/Princess with the qualification of Royal Highness.  On the birth of their first child, Philip's grandmother - The Dowager Marchioness of Milford Haven wrote to Mountbatten and said - "Let us hope he may live in a more peaceable and prosperous time than we and live to be some sort of reigning King."

Philip and Princess Elizabeth had 4 children - 

  • Prince Charles Philip Arthur George of the United Kingdom,  born 14th November 1948 at Buckingham Palace, London.  Succeeded as Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, Prince & Great Steward of Scotland upon the accession to the Throne of his mother on 6th February 1952, and created on 26th July 1958 Prince of Wales & Earl of Chester.   From birth he was styled HRH Prince Charles of Edinburgh and  upon the death of his father on 9th April 2021, he succeeded as 2nd Duke of Edinburgh, 2nd Earl of Merioneth & 2nd Baron Greenwich.

  • Princess Anne Elizabeth Louise of the United Kingdom, born 15th August 1950 at Clarence House, London.  Created on 13th June 1987 Princess Royal.  From birth she was styled HRH Princess Anne of Edinburgh.

  • Prince Andrew Albert Christian Edward of the United Kingdom, born 19th February 1960 at Buckingham Palace, London.  Created on 23rd July 1986 Duke of York, Earl of Inverness & Baron Killyleagh.

  • Prince Edward Antony Richard Louis of the United Kingdom, born 10th March 1964 at Buckingham Palace, London.  Created on 19th June 1999 Earl of Wessex & Viscount Severn with the stipulation that following the death of both of his parents (once the title has merged with the Crown), he would subsequently be created Duke of Edinburgh.  Created on 10th March 2019 Earl of Forfar. 

Princess Elizabeth and Philip had planned to move into Sunninghill Park House within Windsor Great Park, but prior to the refurbishment commencing the house was burnt to the ground.  Their London home of Clarence House, on The Mall (a short walking distance from Buckingham Palace) was also undergoing refurbishment, so they rented out Windlesham Moor, Sunningdale, Berkshire where they lived until May 1949.


Windlesham Moor, Sunningdale, Berkshire

Philip had made it clear that following his marriage to The King's daughter, he would be returning to the Royal Navy and he was soon sent on a Naval Staff Course at Greenwich (a prerequisite for higher rank).  During this time Philip juggled his Royal duties with his Naval ones.  The King's health began to deteriorate which added to the ceremonial workload on Philip and he was forced to go onto half pay and his dream of returning to sea looked remote, however by the Autumn of 1949, The King's health greatly improved and  on 17th October 1949, Philip joined HMS Chequers as First Lieutenant at Malta, and Princess Elizabeth joined him there.  The Edinburghs time at Malta was one of their happiest times, with the Princess being a proper 'Navy Wife' and Philip under the command of Mountbatten, who was Commander of the 1st Cruiser Squadron in the Mediterranean Fleet.  The couple stayed at Villa Guardamangia.  On 29th July 1950, Philip was promoted to Lieutenant Commander and he was subsequently appointed to command the frigate HMS Magpie.



Princess Elizabeth & Prince Philip

at Villa Guardamangia during his posting in Malta


Edwina & Mountbatten with a young Princess Anne

& Prince Charles during their father's posting in Malta


The Royal Party - which included Mountbatten's youngest daughter Pamela as lady-in-waiting to Princess Elizabeth, arrived at the famous Treetops Hotel in Kenya on 5th February 1952 and they enjoyed the idyllic surroundings of the wild animals around the adjacent waterhole.  It was while they were staying there that news reached them that The King had died overnight in his sleep at Sandringham House, Norfolk.  Philip had been informed of the unconfirmed report and decided to keep the news from his wife until he received official confirmation.


Philip subsequently broke the devastating news to Princess Elizabeth - who was now The Queen, taking the regnal name of Queen Elizabeth II, and the Royal Party returned to London on 7th February 1952.   Nine days after The King had died, he was buried at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, Berkshire following a State Funeral.  Philip remained at his wife's side - the country had lost its King but his wife had lost her beloved father.  

The King's health sadly did not improve for long and more and more Royal duties were falling onto the shoulders of Princess Elizabeth.  The Edinburghs were then asked to fulfil a Royal Tour of Canada and the USA and in July 1951, Philip was ordered home.  He knew that this would be the end of his Naval career and when he said farewell to the crew of HMS Magpie - "The past eleven months have been the happies of my sailor life."   Just prior to The Edinburghs leaving for Canada, The King was diagnosed with lung cancer and he underwent surgery.  The Tour was a great success and by Christmas 1951, The King rallied and appeared to have recovered well after his surgery and it was decided that The Edinburghs could undertake The King's Tour of Australia & New Zealand, which had been cancelled twice due to his declining health.  On 31st January 1952, The King, accompanied by The Queen, The Mountbattens and various members of the Royal Family said their farewells to The Edinburghs as they set off from Heathrow Airport, London for Nairobi, Kenya on the aircraft Atalanta.  The ailing King stood bareheaded in the icy wind waving goodbye to his eldest daughter and son-in-law - it was the last time The King would see her.



ABOVE: King George VI (looking ill)

at Heathrow Airport saying farewell (for the last time)

to Princess Elizabeth & Philip

for the last time in January 1952

RIGHT: Queen Elizabeth II

followed by Philip

coming down the steps of BOAC Atalanta at Heathrow Airport, London on arrival back in the UK following the death of

King George VI


Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Philip in the Royal Procession at the State Opening of Parliament -

the first of the new reign in 1952



Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Philip, captured informally with their two children in 1952 - 

(left) Prince Charles, The Duke of Cornwall and (right) Princess Anne

In Honour Bound

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9 APR 2021