LONDON – Over the course of Prince Philip’s 99 years, he was portrayed as a modernizer, a frustrated consort to the monarch and later an occasionally irritable old man, speaking his mind, making some memorable mistakes and promoting the UK so much at home. as in the surroundings. the world.
More recently, Philip was in the news for his illness rather than his achievements, and a fictional and exaggerated version of him was introduced to millions of viewers of the Netflix series “The Crown.”
But how much of the public’s perception of him is based on reality?
When Felipe married then-Princess Elizabeth in 1947, the couple likely assumed that it would be decades before she assumed the crown. But in 1952, Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, died at 56 and she became queen at 25.
In “The Crown”, Philip is depicted struggling with his new role and facing the restrictions of real life. This was probably the case in reality early in the queen’s reign, although she established herself in her position as the years passed, according to Clive Irving, author of “The Last Queen: How Queen Elizabeth II Saved the Monarchy.”
Irving points to Philip’s 1956 tour of the Commonwealth countries as evidence of his need for a breather.
“It’s understandable that as a hot-blooded young man, as soon as he entered the orbit of the horrible royal court and all the lackeys told him what to do, it didn’t suit him,” he said. “No wonder the pile went bad and he went on the ship for six months. He wanted to get away from the terrible atmosphere of the court in which he felt limited. “
However, as time passed, Philip was able to make the job his own. In addition to accompanying the queen on her trips abroad and serving as a sponsor to hundreds of organizations, he also founded awards for design and industry, instituted interfaith dialogue, and was the first president of the World Wildlife Fund-UK.
Later in life, he also said that his main job was to support his wife in her role as monarch.
Philip’s arrival in the British royal family coincided with the beginning of television, a medium he was eager to adopt. He is said to have been involved in the decision to televise the queen’s coronation in 1953 and was the first member of the royal family to give a television interview, in 1961, during which he promoted the benefits of technical skills and training.
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In 1969 he appeared on “Meet the Press” and defended the monarchy when asked about it as a system of government.
“With us, it turns out that we simply choose the son of the father. Someone has to do the job, why not do it that way? “, He said.
Tight-lipped, the queen hardly gives interviews or even offers a glimpse into her thoughts. Felipe, however, said a lot to keep the royal observers busy. Over the course of his nearly 10 decades, he became known for comments that caused offense on many occasions, particularly on the racial issue.
In 1999, Philip asked British politician John Taylor: “And what exotic part of the world do you come from?” Taylor, whose parents were from Jamaica, replied that she was from Birmingham, one of the largest cities in England.
One of Philip’s most famous quotes was made in China in 1986, when he told a British student that “if you stay here much longer, you will go home with your eyes narrowed.”
Other comments have been brutally honest, like one he made in 1967 when asked if he would like to go to Moscow to help ease Cold War tensions.
“I would very much like to go to Russia, even though the bastards murdered half my family,” he replied. Philip is related to the Romanovs, who ruled Russia until Nicholas II and his family were executed by the Bolsheviks in 1918.
Philip also noticeably lost his patience while fulfilling royal responsibilities, telling a photographer in 2015 during a photoshoot to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain to “just take the damn picture.”
Philip is often referred to as an “outsider” when he married Elizabeth in 1947. While he was not a member of the traditional British aristocracy or nobility, he was certainly familiar with the customs of royalty who had been born into a family real. . Furthermore, he and Elizabeth were cousins and great-great-grandchildren of Queen Victoria.
Felipe was born in Corfu, Greece, where his uncle was king. Philip’s family fled when he was a baby after his uncle was forced to abdicate. His family initially went to Paris and then Philip went to live with his grandmother in Kensington Palace, without his parents. Although the family no longer had their royal positions, they had their titles. Felipe gave up his when he married Isabel.
He attended British schools and later joined the Royal Navy. Despite his royal lineage, as a member of the lesser royalty, there was no plan for him to spend a lifetime in the service of the crown. He was going to need to support himself.
According to Irving, there were “many doubts in the court and the palace as to whether he was the right match.”
Looking back at how he supported the queen during her marriage, members of the royal family say the opposite is true.
“For her, having found someone like him, I don’t think she could have made a better choice,” her daughter-in-law, Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, told ITV in 2016. “They make each other laugh, which is half the battle. , not?