On Friday, April 9, the sad news came from Buckingham Palace – the main residence of the British royal family.
“It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty the Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh,” said a statement released by the Palace press office.
In June of this year, Prince Philip was supposed to be one hundred years old. He did not live only a few months before this round date. With his wife, British Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke lived for almost 74 years; together they set the record for the longest nuptial union among British monarchs.
“All these years he was and remains my support”
Philip was the fifth child – and the only son of Prince Andrew, the son of the Greek king George I. He was also the great-great-grandson of the last Russian emperor Nicholas II.
The history of their relationship with Elizabeth began in 1939 when the future duke was 18 years old, and the future queen was 13. Philip, wishing to connect his life with the sea, went to study at the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, where one of the honorary graduates often came, then King of Great Britain George VI. In 1939, the monarch once again went there on a visit, taking in the company of both daughters – 13-year-old Elizabeth and 9-year-old Margaret.
All people close to the royal family and one way or another observing the relationship of young people confirm that Elizabeth almost immediately, at first sight, fell in love with Philip, and no other man in her life was interested in her anymore. Elizabeth and Philip got married ten years later; for this, in February 1947, Philip took British citizenship, renounced his previous titles and switched from Orthodoxy to Anglicanism.
In June 1953, after the death of King George VI, Elizabeth ascended the British throne. Philip was the first to swear allegiance to his wife.
Together they raised three sons – Andrew, Edward and Charles, and daughter Anna. By now, the couple already has eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
In 1997, telling reporters about her marriage to Philip on the anniversary of their golden wedding, the queen confessed: “All these years he was and remains my support.”
“How much space wasted!”
Journalists and biographers of the royal family have repeatedly noted that the marriage of Elizabeth and Philip might not have been so strong and happy if they did not have such a similarity of characters. In particular, this concerns a sense of humour, in relation to which the prince was considered a great master. The press now and then caught his witty, caustic statements, some of which were literally on the verge of a foul.
It is Philip, for example, who owns the famous phrase about the Chinese, or rather, about their culinary preferences. It was said in 1986 at a meeting of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). “The Chinese are happy to eat everything that has four legs (except for chairs), that flies (except for aeroplanes) and swims (except for submarines).” Philip and Elizabeth travelled a lot, so representatives of many countries were honoured with sarcastic and funny remarks from the prince.
In 1994, talking with the inhabitants of the Cayman Islands, the prince clarified: “Aren’t most of you descendants of pirates?” Shortly before this, in a conversation with a student travelling in Papua New Guinea, Philip asked: “How did you manage to stay uneaten?”
However, the prince also got it from “his own”, that is, the inhabitants of the United Kingdom. In 1995, talking to a driving instructor in Scotland, Elizabeth’s husband asked: “How do you manage to get local drivers not to drink long enough to pass the exam?” It is hardly worth reminding that in English folklore the Scots are often presented as a nation of alcoholics.
In 1981, the UK economy fell into recession, leaving thousands of people unemployed. Of course, this caused serious discontent in society.
“Previously, everyone vied with each other that they needed more rest, – stated Philip about this. “And now they are complaining that they are out of work.”
And in 2000, attending the opening ceremony of the new building of the British Embassy in Berlin, the arrangement of which cost £ 18 million, the prince told the guests: “How much space has been wasted!”