More than a bloody amoeba

A remembrance of the life of Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh

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Katie Lohr, Copy Editor

By now the news has struck nearly every corner of the earth- Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and husband of Queen Elizabeth II, has died. 

Prince Philip was born on June 10, 1921, in Greece. Descending from Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg, his original title was Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark. Not long after his birth, a war in his home country required the command of his father and uncle. His uncle, King Constantine I, was blamed when the war did not play out in Greece’s favor. He was forced to renounce his throne, and Prince Andrew along with several other of their comrades were arrested. In December 1922, Prince Andrew and his family were banished from Greece for life. They settled in Paris, France under the luxurious loans of Philip’s aunt, Princess George of Greece and Denmark.

Prince Philip began his education in Paris by attending an American-speaking school where he was commended for his remarkable politeness and smart personality. At the age of nine, he was sent to the United Kingdom to attend school and live with his grandmother, Victoria Mountbatten. In the next seven years of his life, his mother was placed in an asylum for schizophrenia, his sister and her entire family were killed in an aircraft accident, his uncle and guardian of the time died of bone cancer, and he endured the travesties of Nazi Germany.  

In 1939, Prince Philip became a cadet of the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth. He served British forces in World War II and was appointed an officer of low rank in 1940. Philip climbed his way to the top, claiming the title sub-lieutenant in 1941 and lieutenant in 1942. He fought to the end of World War II and was recognized for his leadership roles and problem-solving qualities on multiple occasions. 

Prince Philip secured his future when he became a British citizen in 1947, relinquishing his rights to the Greek and Denmark thrones and becoming Philip Mountbatten after his mother. The previous year, Philip asked for Princess Elizabeth’s hand in marriage. He had known Elizabeth for years before this. In fact, she was the reason for his sudden change in nationality. They were both descended from Queen Victoria, making them third cousins, and they met through a funeral of a shared family member. Elizabeth fell quickly, writing love letters at the meager age of thirteen. It wasn’t until Prince Philip gave up his titles and Elizabeth turned 21 that her father, King George VI, granted his blessing for their marriage. Prince Philip and Princess Elizabeth wed on November 20, 1947, embarking their journey to the longest marriage in a British sovereign.  

With marriage comes great responsibility, and great controversy. A debate broke out over who would take over the name of the house- Elizabeth or Philip’s side of the family. Philip argued for House of Mountbatten after his mother’s side or House of Edinburgh after himself, but, with the counsel of her mother, Queen Elizabeth II declared the name to be House of Windsor. 

“I am nothing but a bloody amoeba,” responded the agitated prince.

Prince Philip proved to do slightly more than an amoeba throughout his life. He was a member of over 800 different organizations and earned several honorary titles and awards throughout his life. Among his greatest accomplishments was his title of longest-serving British royal consort. 

“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,” said Queen Elizabeth II on their fiftieth wedding anniversary. 

After multiple battles with cancer and heart disease, Prince Philip died at the age of 99 on April 9, 2021, just two months before his 100th birthday. According to Buckingham Palace, he was comfortable in his home at Windsor Castle. 

A funeral was held on April 17, 2021, marking another historic event at the hands of the pandemic. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, only 30 members of his family and close friends were permitted to attend the event in person. Among the attendees were his children, grandchildren, and their extended families. The funeral was broadcast live and is available on several websites to view. 

Prince Philip’s profound impact will be missed by millions around the world. As he said himself after being voted Consort of the Year, “There is nothing like it for morale to be reminded that the years are passing- ever more quickly- and that bits are dropping off the ancient frame. But it is nice to be remembered at all.”