PRINCE PHILIP, 1st DUKE OF EDINBURGH
Princess Elizabeth fell pregnant in early 1948 and as 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 child's 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 - Victoria, The Dowager Marchioness of Milford Haven (1863-1950) wrote to Mountbatten - "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 four 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. 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. Upon his succession to the Throne, all of his titles will merge with the Crown.
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
An official photograph of
wearing the mess dress uniform
of a Lieutenant Commander
in the Royal Navy.
The photograph was taken by
the celebrated Canadian fashionable photographer - Stirling Nahum,
and simply as 'Baron'
Philip had made it clear that following the wedding, he intended to return to active service in 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 but The King's health began to deteriorate which added to the ceremonial workload on Philip and he was forced to go onto half pay. His dream of returning to sea looked remote, however by the Autumn of 1949, The King's health greatly improved and Philip joined HMS Chequers as First Lieutenant in Malta on 17th October 1949, and Princess Elizabeth joined him there. The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh's time in 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.
LEFT: Edwina & Mountbatten
with (left to right) Princess Anne
& Prince Charles (later The Prince of Wales)
during their father's posting in Malta
BELOW: Prince Philip, 1st Duke of Edinburgh
& Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II)
at Villa Guardamangia, Malta in 1950
The health of King George VI (1895(1936-1952) sadly did not improve for long, with more and more Royal duties 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, and 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 happiest of my sailor life." Just prior to The Duke & Duchess of Edinburgh 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 surgery and it was decided that The Duke & Duchess would 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 Queen Elizabeth, various members of the Royal Family including Mountbatten and Edwina said their farewells to The Duke & Duchess as they departed 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.
The Royal Party - which included Mountbatten's youngest daughter Pamela, who was 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 - 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 abd their lives would never be the same again.
King George VI (looking ill)
at Heathrow Airport
to bade farewell to
his eldest daughter
Duchess of Edinburgh
& Prince Philip,
1st Duke of
in January 1952
Queen Elizabeth II (followed by Prince Philip, 1st Duke of Edinburgh) coming down the steps
of a BOAC Atalanta aeroplane at Heathrow Airport following
the death of King George VI in February 1952
Following the death in 1952 of King George VI (1895(1936-1952) in 1952, Mountbatten in his usual 'tour de force' began to openly brag that the ruling House was no longer 'Windsor' but that of 'Mountbatten'. Apparently Mountbatten’s views were reported back to the aged Queen Mary (1867-1953), whose husband King George V (1865(1910-1936) had founded the House of Windsor in 1917. Perhaps his ambitious aims of greatness was just pride, but some saw it power crazed - either way, it forced Queen Elizabeth II (1926(1952- ) to seek advice from The Rt Hon. Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965), the then Prime Minister who had returned to office following the General Election in October 1951. In one of her first official announcements of the new Reign, the new Queen declared on 9th April 1952 her "Will and Pleasure that I and My children shall be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor, and that my descendants who marry and their descendants, shall bear the name of Windsor". Mountbatten’s hopes that the reigning Royal House would bear his own family name had been thwarted. Philip himself unhappy with the situation said - "I am nothing but a bloody amoeba. I am the only man in the country not allowed to give his name to his own children."
On 18th September 1952, The Queen issued a Royal Warrant to ensure that Philip's dignity was at least restored with regard to his positions in the Official Court Order of Precedence where he was outranked by his own children and the other Royal Dukes. The Royal Warrant (text shown right) stated that Philip have "upon all occasions and in all meetings except where otherwise provided by Act of Parliament... place, pre-eminence and precedence next to Her Majesty."
ABOVE: Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Philip
in the Royal Procession at the State Opening of Parliament in 1952 - the first of her Reign
BELOW: Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Philip
with their children (left to right)
Prince Charles, The Duke of Cornwall,
later The Prince of Wales
and Princess Anne (later Princess Royal)
Whitehall, 26th September 1952
The QUEEN has been graciously pleased by Warrant bearing date the 18th instant to declare and ordain that His Royal Highness Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Commander in the Royal Navy, shall henceforth upon all occasions and in all Meetings except where otherwise provided by Act of Parliament have, hold and enjoy Place, Pre-eminence and Precedence next to Her Majesty.
Further honours and appointments were to come to Philip including being appointed Ranger of Windsor Great Park on 31st March 1952, Chairman of the Coronation Commission in June 1952, working closely with the Earl Marshal - The Rt Hon. Sir Bernard Fitzalan-Howard, 16th Duke of Norfolk (1908-1975), who was in overall charge of the forthcoming ceremonial. Philip received his last 'active' promotion to the rank of a full Commander in the Royal Navy on 30th June 1952, but on 15th January 1953, The Queen promoted him to 5* rank in all of three of HM Armed Services - Admiral of the Fleet, Field Marshal and Marshal of the Royal Air Force - which were subsequently replicated in her other Realms of Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Prince Philip and his page -
Midshipman Nigel Grier-Rees,
in Coronation Robes for the Coronation
of Queen Elizabeth II in June 1953
The official film (narrated by Sir Laurence Olivier,
later Lord Olivier of the Coronation of
Queen Elizabeth II (Prince Philip pays homage
to The Queen at 42.33)
Queen Elizabeth II (1926(1952- ) was crowned at her Coronation at Westminster Abbey on 2nd June 1953. Philip was first of the Royal Dukes to swear fealty in the Oath of Allegiance - "to be Your liege man of life and limb and of earthly worship and faith and truth. I will bear unto You to live and die, against all manner of folks. So help me God." The Coronation of The Queen brought hope and raised the spirits of the Country and the Commonwealth. It marked the end of post-World War II austerity and brought a new hope of technological advances and modernity to many. The new Queen and Philip, a young attractive couple with two young children did much to raise the popularity of the institution of Monarchy and Philip did much to bring new ideas to the organisation of the Royal Household.
Prince Philip, 1st Duke of Edinburgh
in Coronation Robes during the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II
in June 1953