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Passages – Prince Philip

ā€œSmooth seas do not make skillful sailors.ā€

ā€• African Proverb

Prince Philip was born a Prince of Greece and Denmark on June 10, 1921, in Corfu Greece. In 1922, while he was an infant, the September revolution removed the Greek monarchy and forced the entire family into exile. This set Philip on a childhood and young adulthood of stateless travel. He grew up in France and Great Britain, learning a bit of all languages but speaking primarly in English. His parents had few cash resources, and lived separately. As a result, family life fell apart. His sisters married German aristocrats, his father wandered from country to country, and his mother eventually returned to Greece.

Philip, seven years younger than his next oldest sister, was moved along from relative to relative. Although he was lucky to be enrolled in British public schools, he lived off of funds gifted by extended family, and was left to fend for himself a great deal.

He found his first stable home in the British navy, which he joined in 1938. He was involved in action in the Mediterranean and Pacific. He was one of the youngest first lieutenants on the HMS Whelp, one of the ships that took part in the formal surrender of Japanese forces on September 2, 1945.

Most of his public life as the consort of Her Majesty the Queen is well documented. He served that role well from the time of his marriage in 1947 until his retirement in 2017. The royal world can be demanding, but given the instability of his early years it was at least predictable. He lived an extraordinarily privileged life, but not one that was always emotionally and physically easy.

A salute and hat tip to you, Prince Philip. Rest easy after your long journey.

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