The Duke of Edinburgh Retires From Public Life

Britain bid a fond farewell to Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, who retired from public service on August 2nd.

At the age of 96, the Duke felt it was time to step back and let the younger generation manage the day-to-day engagements and patronages that are the center of royal life. Philip is also a big believer in going out while on top. The Queen is still steering the ship of monarchy, but even Her Majesty, 91, started scaling back a few years ago by ending her overseas travel and lengthy royal tours.

Prince Philip, who calls himself “the world’s most experienced plaque-unveiler” isn’t your typical royal. His events were always memorable thanks to his blunt statements, which have garnered both countless critics and a legion of fans. In a world where high-profile people are often scripted and politically correct, Philip has been the opposite. His so-called gaffes have led to published works such as The Duke of Hazard: The Wit & Wisdom of Prince Philip, a compilation of his best quotes throughout the years.

Who Is Philip?

Philip’s quick mind and rough-around-the-edges manner formed during his early years of family turmoil. Though Philip was born a prince of Greece and Denmark, his life was very un-royal as the family barely had any money. What they did manage to acquire was gambled away by their father, Prince Andrew, despite their family of five mouths to feed (four daughters and Philip, born in 1921). As if that wasn’t bad enough, Prince Andrew and Princess Alice had to escape Greece’s political upheaval and the family were evacuated on a warship sent by King George V. Philip was only a year old.

The breaking point came while Philip was away at Cheam, a boarding school in Berkshire, England. Prince Andrew ran off with his mistress, and Philip’s mother, Princess Alice, had a nervous breakdown and went away for treatment. He stayed with various relatives as he went through his school years, never getting a chance to form any roots. This likely established his pragmatic attitude: there’s no time for being sentimental or wistful.

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The prince’s sister Theodora decided to take a hand in Philip’s education and enrolled him in the Salem School in Germany. It was founded by her father-in-law and Kurt Hahn, a German-Jewish educator. When the Nazis came to power, Hahn fled to Scotland and Salem was closed. Philip followed him to Scotland and enrolled in Hahn’s new school, Gordonstoun. It was a highly structured environment in which Philip thrived. It was a blessing after the fractured early years of his life.

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July 1935: Schoolboy Prince Philip of Greece in costume for his school Gordonstoun’s production of Macbeth. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

After leaving Gordonstoun, Philip entered Dartmouth Royal Naval College at the urging of his maternal uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten. Mountbatten had evolved into Philip’s father-figure, and he steered Philip towards a naval education and career much like his own. Mountbatten had risen to the rank of First Sea Lord and he hoped for similar successes for Philip.

Young Philip Wins Elizabeth’s Heart

Princess Elizabeth met Philip during a visit with her parents to Dartmouth Naval College – she was 13 and Philip was 18. It was love at first sight for Elizabeth, who was taken by Philip’s golden tan and splash of blond hair. His rough jokes and devil-may-care attitude stood in stark contrast to Elizabeth’s genteel upbringing, but that was what Elizabeth found so exciting and she loved his high spirits. The king was not impressed, however. He thought Philip was coarse and loud.

As the years went by, the princess stayed in touch with Philip while he was overseas on duty. World War II delayed the courtship, but Elizabeth remained firm in her devotion to him. George VI had grown to like Philip and admired his active role in the Navy, his own choice of military career when he was the Duke of York. When on leave, Philip was invited to stay with the royal family and was also a regular guest of the Mountbattens. Philip had finally found family stability.

After the war had ended, the public was finally let in on the secret – Philip and Elizabeth were to be married. Philip presented Elizabeth with a ring whose diamonds had once been in one of his mother’s old tiaras. Princess Alice, at that time residing in London, had brought her diamonds to a jeweler in Bond Street to create the ring. It was too risky for Philip to do so in case he was recognized.

Though King George had relented over Elizabeth’s wish to marry Philip, he was bothered that his little family would no longer be “us four”. He was sad to lose his daughter to marriage, but after the magnificent wedding at Westminster Abbey, he was proud to see Elizabeth and Philip so happy.

Decades of Service

I believe that George VI would not only be incredibly proud of Elizabeth in her years as queen, but also of Philip’s devotion to the duties that came with his own role. It is to Philip’s credit that he has kept so many things updated and functioning smoothly, the royal residences being one example. He’s also been a key player in helping members of the family: he walked his sister-in-law, Princess Margaret, down the aisle for her wedding after the king died. Philip was known to try and cheer up Diana, Princess of Wales when she was struggling in her marriage, and he has helped bolster the Queen countless times when she probably felt exhausted or in need of a laugh. You can’t do all that without a good strength of character, which I feel Philip has in abundance.

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The Queen and Duke’s other “big day”.

It hasn’t always been easy for Philip, though. He blanched at losing his position as man of the house when the Queen ascended to the throne. No longer were they the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh; Elizabeth was The Queen, and Philip would have to walk behind her in public and be her support. He did this admirably, and part of that was because Elizabeth acknowledged that Philip needed to have a leading role to play. In private, therefore, he was the head of the family. He was also tasked with looking after renovations and improvements to royal homes. The Duke was also extremely active in his growing list of patronages and duties. His most well-known patronage was encouraged by Kurt Hahn himself – The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. This was a project that Philip managed and relished for decades.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award has helped countless young people on their sometimes difficult path to adulthood,” the Duke explained. As someone who experienced his own difficult path to adulthood, The D of E Award closed the circle for Philip. He found his stability and then began his own efforts to help others find theirs, too.

From your self-motivated path to excel to your naval service, all the way until August 2nd, 2017, I’m sure I speak for many people when I say “thank you, Prince Philip”. May you enjoy your retirement (though I doubt he will rest on his laurels any time soon)!

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Monaco Babies; Hired Help; Philip Returns; Kate’s a Princess | RoyaltyNow!

Remember when I mentioned that Charlotte Casiraghi might be pregnant? William and Kate don’t need a full time nanny… yet, and the Duke of Edinburgh is back! Hooray!

Monaco Babies; Hired Help; Philip Returns; Kate’s a Princess | RoyaltyNow!

Duke of Edinburgh Returns Home

After nearly two weeks in the hospital, the Duke of Edinburgh returns home.

The Queen’s 92-year-old husband was admitted for exploratory abdominal surgery on June 6. Though Philip spent his 92nd birthday (June 10) in the hospital, he was not left wanting for visitors; the Queen and other members of his family came to visit over the course of his 11-day stay.

The Duke has always had marvelous health, but despite his desire to carry on as usual, in recent years he has had to take extra care due simply to age. Buckingham Palace released a statement today stating that while the Duke is in “good condition and good spirits”, he will be taking “a period of convalescence of approximately two months”.

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RoyaltyNow! News: Jubilee Tour Joy; Feminist Takes On Princesses; Mental Floss Turns Royal

movie-icon RoyaltyNow! News presents: Jubilee Tour Joy; Feminist Takes On Princesses; Mental Floss Turns Royal. You don’t want to miss it!

2011: A look back for the Queen

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 11:  Queen Elizabeth II...

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This has been a banner year for Her Majesty. After two royal weddings and several successful tours, she now looks forward to her Diamond Jubilee in 2012.

Throughout the year, many events kept Her Majesty busy. We take a look back at 2011 in review:


  • 10th: Singer Charlotte Church apologizes for referring to the Queen as ‘an old woman [who] has no idea what’s going on’. The Queen, who at almost 85 is one of the most experienced leaders in the world, wasn’t bothered in the slightest. People begin asking, “Charlotte who? Casiraghi?”



  • 24th: Official visit to Wales by Prince William to introduce his fiancée and future Queen consort, Catherine Middleton.


  • 17th -18th: Prince William undertakes an official visit to New Zealand, representing The Queen.
  • 19th -21st: Prince William continues on an official visit to Australia.


  • 21st: The Queen turns 85.
  • 23rd: The christening of Savannah Phillips, Elizabeth’s first great-grandchild.

  • 29th: Her grandson and eventual heir, Prince William, marries Catherine. They become the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.


  • 3rd – 5th: The Prince of Wales represents Her Majesty on a visit to the United States.
  • 17th – 20th: State Visit to Ireland by The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh.
  • 24th – 26th: State Visit from the President of the United States and Mrs. Obama. The President and First Lady also meet with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.


  • 2nd: The 58th anniversary of Her Majesty’s coronation.
  • 10th: Prince Philip celebrates his 90th birthday.
  • 11th: Her Majesty’s official birthday and Trooping the Color.
  • 30th: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge begin their extensive tour of Canada, representing the Queen.


  • 1st – 8th: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge continue their Canadian tour, with a brief stop in Los Angeles, California in the USA.
  • 11th: The year was darkened by the loss of a lovely man. The Queen’s first cousin, Lord Harewood, dies at age 88.
  • 30th: The Queen’s eldest granddaughter, Zara Phillips, marries rugby captain Mike Tindall in Scotland.


  • 15th: Iranian media was caught publishing fake stories about an anti-monarchy uprising in the UK. The Guardian reports that the press for the Islamic regime used photos of the miners’ strike of 1984, a bloodied man who was involved in a football skirmish in 2010, among others, to pretend that there were anti-monarchy riots across Britain.


  • 12th: The BBC presents The Queen’s Palaces, a three-part landmark television series hosted by Fiona Bruce.


  • 19th – 29th: The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh tour Australia. A protocol controversy brews upon being met at the airport by Prime Minister Julia Gellard, who bowed instead of curtseying. The rest of the tour is a smashing success.


  • 2nd: Working visit to Copenhagen by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. They meet with Crown Prince Frederik and his wife, Crown Princess Mary.
  • 20th: The Queen and Prince Philip celebrate their 64th wedding anniversary.
  • 22nd – 24th: The President of the Republic of Turkey and Mrs. Gül paid a State Visit to the UK as the guests of Queen Elizabeth II.


  • The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh host one of the largest royal gatherings at Sandringham in years. A brief scare ensues when Prince Philip suffers chest pains and is taken to a nearby hospital. The Duke turns out to be fine, but requires a stent to open a blocked coronary artery.
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The Queen and Duke in AU – Wrap Up

October 23rd, a Sunday, saw the Queen attending church services in Brisbane. Her Majesty, along with Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, attended morning Worship at St. John’s Church.

That afternoon, a reception and lunch was hosted by the Governor-General for the royal couple.

October 24th was an “away day” in Brisbane. The Queen and the Duke hopped aboard a river boat and traveled up the Brisbane River to Southbank. Once ashore, they visited the Queensland Performing Arts Center.

That afternoon, the royals met with emergency response personnel and members of the communities affected by the floods. The Queen and Prince Philip attended a re-dedication Ceremony of Rainforest and the opening of Rain Bank.

The Queen and Prince Philip were back in Canberra on Tuesday, October 25th. They visited the Australian War Memorial and viewed the Afghanistan Memorial, where the Queen placed a wreath. Later, the royal couple met with Australian Defense Force Personnel at Orientation Hall.

October 26th: Prince Philip and The Queen participated in another Away Day, this time in Melbourne, where they opened the Royal Children’s Hospital. That afternoon they toured Melbourne, starting with a visit to the Ian Potter Centre, National Gallery of Victoria; a walk through Federation Square and a ride on a Melbourne Tram; attended a reception hosted by the Governor of Victoria at Government House. The Queen was resplendent in pink throughout.

After the Away Day activities, The Queen and The Duke departed Melbourne for Perth.

On Thursday, October 27th, the royals paid a visit to Clontarf Aboriginal College. The Duke of Edinburgh was especially keen to see the sporting facilities. Afterwards, they attended a Garden Party at Government House, where the Queen turned out in her second stunning turquoise and white ensemble for the day.

Approximately one hundred students from across Western Australia lined a path to the lower gardens, when the Duke stopped to chat. Philip asked why the students were in pairs, and when told it was because they were the head boys and girls, he said in his typical blunt fashion: “It’s obvious they didn’t choose the attractive ones then”. (!)

Premier Colin Barnett was pleased to have the royal visitors come to the country, and he thanked the Queen and Prince Philip for visiting WA and presented the royals with a gift – a book of drawings of wild flowers from the Eastern Goldfields by Phillipa Nikulinsky.

October 28th: Her Majesty arrived at the Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. The opening featured a vast array of leaders from around the world: 25 Prime Ministers, 10 Presidents, five Vice-Presidents, two Deputy Prime Ministers, one High Commissioner, a lord and the Sultan of Brunei.

“I have had the good fortune, together with Prince Philip, to attend many CHOGMs over many years. Their importance has always been in precise relationship to their relevance: always being attuned to the issues of the day, and always looking to the future with a sense of vision and practical action to match. In your deliberations over the days ahead, you have the encouragement of the whole Commonwealth to maintain this vital tradition.” – The Queen’s speech at the CHOGM

That evening, the royal couple attended a banquet at the Pan Pacific Hotel. For this occasion, the Queen busted out her best parure for the occasion – the brilliant aquamarine set in honor of the brilliantly blue ocean that surrounds Australia.

These gems are gifts from Brazil. The earrings and matching necklace were a Coronation gift to The Queen from the President and People of Brazil in 1953.

Well, hello there!

The stones sit inside a diamond and platinum setting. A few years later, in 1958, a bracelet and matching brooch were presented to The Queen by the Brazilian Government as a matching set to the original Coronation presents. Elizabeth then requested that royal jeweler Garrard complete the parure with a stunning tiara.

On Saturday, October 29th, the Queen and the Duke were feted by the Australian community during “The Big Aussie BBQ”. In the spirit of outdoor eating, the Queen topped off her elegant maroon and white outfit with a hat eerily reminiscent of a marshmallow. S’mores, anyone?

And so…

Elizabeth and Philip set off from Australia back to the U.K. after the barbeque. It was a highly successful visit and one that the Australian people will not soon forget. Her Majesty charmed everyone she met, and though there were one or two gaffes (Gillard’s curtsey controversy and Philip’s quips!) the royal couple made a happy and favorable impression on their Commonwealth neighbors. It also gave the United Kingdom a chance to present its history-making change to the succession law.

Vivat Regina! (And God Bless The Duke!)

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