The incredible life of Prince Philip, who just turned 97

PA / GettyHats off to Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip, who has retired from the public eye at the age of 95.

The Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip turned 97 on Sunday after retiring from public life at the age of 95 last year.

While he no longer carries out public engagements – and doesn’t accept new invitations – he made an appearance at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in May.

However, Philip has had quite the life in the public eye, so it’s little wonder he has decided to put his feet up more often as he approaches his centenary on Earth.

From a career in the Royal Navy to his life standing by the side of wife Queen Elizabeth II and being a figurehead for organisations like the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), he has truly lived a full life.

Scroll down for a look at the incredible life of Prince Philip.

This is Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and the husband of Queen Elizabeth II.

Jeff Spicer / Getty

He was born as ‘Prince of Greece and Denmark’ in Corfu on June 10, 1921, the only son of Prince Andrew of Greece. His mother was Princess Alice of Battenberg.

His family left Greece for France when Philip was only 18 months old due to political instability. Here he is (second from the right), pictured on holiday in Romania in September 1928.

Source: The Royal Family

Philip was educated at an American school in Paris, Cheam School in Hampshire, and Schule Schloss Salem in Germany. He also attended the public school of Gordonstoun in Elgin, Scotland, where he is pictured below.


Prince Philip joined the Royal Navy as a cadet in 1939 after he left Gordonstoun.


He was promoted to sub-lieutenant, then became the first lieutenant of the destroyer HMS Wallace in 1942, at the age of 21. He was promoted to commander in 1952, the same year he left the navy.

Source: The Royal Family

The Prince has always been athletic. Here, he’s shown batting in the nets during cricket practice while in the Royal Navy in July 1947.

During the World War I, Prince Philip’s grandfather, Prince Louis of Battenberg, changed the family’s name to Mountbatten, a title Philip adopted.

Source: The Royal Family

Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip met when they were children, at a wedding in 1934. In July 1947, the couple announced their engagement.

Phillip renounced his Royal Mountbatten title in order to marry her.

The couple were married on November 20, 1947 at Westminster Abbey. Philip gained the titles Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, and Baron Greenwich.

They spent part of their honeymoon at Broadlands in Hampshire.

For the next few years, the couple lived in Malta, where Prince Philip was stationed with the Royal Navy. There, in 1949, they had their first son, Prince Charles. Princess Anne followed in 1950.

In this more candid image, they’re pictured with Prince Charles and Princess Anne at Clarence House in August 1951.

Aged 25, Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth in 1953, directly following the death of her father, King George VI. At this point, Philip left the Navy.


Still, he managed to maintain interests outside of his new royal duties. After qualifying as a pilot in 1953, Philip was the first member of the Royal family ever to fly out of Buckingham Palace Garden in a helicopter.


Here, he controls a Boeing 757 airliner during a demonstration flight near Seattle.

He has also maintained his military connections as Colonel, Grenadier Guards.

He and the Queen waited until 1960 to have their third child, Prince Andrew. Their fourth and final child, Prince Edward, was born in 1964.


Prince Andrew looked pleased to be riding with his father to Windsor Castle for Christmas in 1964.

S&G/S&G Barratts/EMPICS Archive

The couple also have eight grandchildren, including Prince William, who is second in line to the throne. Six great-grandchildren are also part of the family.

William and Philip appear to have a close relationship.

Ever since she took the throne, Philip has stood by the side of Queen Elizabeth II…

…no matter where it has taken him. Here, the couple step out for a Royal Tour of Canada in 1951.

He visited the Salman Centre for the breeding of falcons in Bahrain in 1979…

Ron Bell / PA

…greeted children on the island of Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands in 1982…

Ron Bell / PA

…and visited Abu Dhabi as part of a state trip to the Middle East in 2010.

He carried out 100 public engagements in 2016, more than many of the younger royals. Here he is during a visit to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool.


He has sat beside Her Majesty as she has delivered speeches in Parliament…

…and has made countless public appearances. In this image, the people of London wave to the couple in celebration of the Queen’s 90th birthday.

Life in the public eye can surely be exhausting, and there have been moments where Philip has lost his patience.

In 2015, he was caught on camera swearing at a photographer to “take the f****** picture.”

To a car park attendant who didn’t recognise him in 1997,he reportedly snapped: “You bloody silly fool!”

He has also faced tragedy. Philip and Queen Elizabeth dealt with the unexpected death of their former daughter-in-law, Princess Diana, in 1997.


Just a few years later, Queen Elizabeth lost her mother and only sister within the span of just two months.

But he’s certainly had some fun along the way. Philip is renowned for his cheeky, and sometimes offensive, sense of humour.

Anwar Hussein/EMPICS Entertainment

Some of his gaffes – of which there are many – have been garnered unwanted attention.

In 2002, he asked Aboriginal leader William Brin in Queenslad: “Do you still throw spears at each other?”

A year later, in a conversation with President of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo, who was in national dress, Philip said: “You look like you’re ready for bed!”

But Philip also makes jokes at his own expense. On the day his retirement was announced, Sky News had footage of him sharing this laugh with one well-wisher.

Sky News

Philip was patron, president or a member of over 780 organisations as of his 96th birthday last year. He founded the prestigious Duke of Edinburgh’s Award youth programme, which gives young people opportunities for self-improvement.

He became the UK president of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in 1961, and international president from 1981 to 1996, when he retired. His grandsons Prince Harry and Prince William have also been involved with the organisation.

He has remained a keen sportsman, with a love of polo, carriage driving, and sailing. Here, he attends the Royal Windsor Horse Show.

He’s met celebrities — or rather, celebrities have met him. Tom Cruise has got the royal handshake…

…and he’s spent time with former US President Barack Obama.

Not all of his trips have been so extravagant, though. He recently visited a zoo where he fed the elephants…

…took a ride on a cable car in Brighton…

…and travelled on board a steam train near Coleraine, Northern Ireland.

A trip to the pub also hasn’t gone amiss.

The Duke of Edinburgh announced his retirement from public life last year at the age of 95, with the plan to no longer carry out public engagements or accept invitations — ┬ábut that didn’t stop him from attending Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding in May.

While the public may have mixed opinions on the Duke of Edinburgh, it’s undeniable that he has been fully committed to his life in the Royal spotlight.

Hats off to the Duke of Edinburgh…


…congratulations on your 97th birthday.

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