From Travelling in an Orange Box to being a God in Vanuatu - Curious Facts About HRH Prince Philip
A Legend is Gone
On April 9th, just two months before turning 100, HRH Prince Philip quietly passed away in his home. The world lost a truly fascinating person. His difficult childhood and his career in the Royal Navy made him a tough, some may even say "rude", but in the same time naturally close to the ground person. And while we all know he is the longest-serving Prince Consort of the United Kingdom, there are many curious things about his life, that remain kind of in the background and that we would like to share with you now.
A Kitchen Table and an Orange Box
It was June 10th, 1921. A woman was giving birth on a kitchen table in her home on the isle of Corfu. Her name was Alice of Battenberg. The father was Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark, brother of the ruling king of Greece - Constantin I. The baby was called Philip and immediately became Prince Phillip of Greece and Denmark. This all happened in the middle of the Greco-Turkish war that ended as a disaster for Greece a year later. Philip's uncle was forced to abdicate and his father's life was only spared under the condition, the family would leave the country. They had to do this so quickly, that the little Philip had to travel in an improvised cot made from an orange box.
What Do We Do for Love?
In the summer of 1939 King George VI, accompanied by his wife and his two young daughters - Margaret and Elizabeth visited the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth. His nephew Philip was a cadet there and was asked to escort the two princesses, who happened to be his third cousins (Queen Victoria was their common great, great grandmother). The 13-year-old Elizabeth fell in love with the handsome young cadet and they started exchanging letters.
Soon Philip went to war. Reportedly Elizabeth kept a photograph of him on her bed table. Upon return, in 1946 Philip asked the King for his daughter's hand. They agreed that the formal engagement will be postponed until after the Princess turns 21 in April 1947. By March 1947, Philip has given up his Greek and Danish royal titles and has changed his surname to the surname taken by his grandfather Louis - Mountbatten - the exact English version of Battenberg. He was now a naturalized Brit and ready to get married on November 20 1947 and to give a start to the longest ever marriage of a British monarch - 73 years.
Prince Philip Movement
And while for all of us Philip was a Prince, for the small Kastom people around Yaohnanen village on the southern island of Tanna in Vanuatu he is God. According to their beliefs, the son of a mountain spirit has traveled to a land far away and married a powerful woman, but will someday return to them. After they saw how much respect the colonial authorities pay to Queen Elizabeth II, they concluded, that Prince Philip should be that spirit. He is ever since considered a deity and worshiped on the small island.
SWS Society would like to express deep condolences to the Royal family! HRH Prince Philip was a great friend of science and environmentalism and his legacy will live in all of us.