Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip- great grandchildren of Queen Victoria

Queen Elizabeth II was born on 21st April 1926. Her parents were George, the Duke of York who was the King’s second son and Elizabeth Bowes Lyon. Elizabeth and her sister Margaret spent their early years growing up in their quiet family home but  by the time of her marriage in November 1947 Elizabeth was heir to the throne. Her father , now King George VI succeeded to throne   following the abdication of King Edward in 1938 after he had declared his intention of marrying a divorced American woman Wallis Simpson. Elizabeth married Lieutenant Phillip Mountbatten in an austerity wedding at Westminster Abbey, yet who was he this man deemed fit to partner our future queen?

 The young Lieutenant Mountbatten had a royal inheritance, his  father was Prince Andrew of Greece whilst his mother was Princess Alice of Battenberg. During the first world war her father Prince Louis, changed the family name to Mountbatten and was created the Marquis of Milford Haven, following the example of King George V who changed the family name to Windsor as it was more British sounding. On his naturalisation as a British subject Prince Philip adopted the family name of Mountbatten.

Princess Alice of Battenberg was the great granddaughter of Queen Victoria and was born in her Great grandmother’s presence at Windsor Castle. Her grandmother Princess Alice was the second daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, so the young royal had British family connections.  Prince Phillip was the youngest of five children, the others being female and all made political marriages.  The children’s lineage was such that they could trace their ancestry from Queen Victoria to Tsar Nicholas 1.


Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip visiting America
Credit: By Photo Credit: NASA/Paul E. Alers [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark was born in 1921 and in the year after his birth his uncle, King Constantine of Greece abdicated and Prince Andrew, his father, was banished from the country. Remembering the failure of the British to rescue the Russian royal family a cruiser HMS Calypso was sent to Greece and Prince Andrew and his family were rescued and found refuge in Paris in a house owned by relatives. Thus the young Philip did not suffer the fate of his Romanov cousins.

Whilst in Paris Princess Alice was diagnosed with schizophrenia and the young Philip was sent to live with his maternal  grandmother, Princess Victoria of Hesse, at Kensington Palace in London. He attended school in England until 1933 when he was sent to Germany to be educated . This education in Germany did not last long as the school’s  head teacher was a jew ; who fled to Scotland to escape the Nazi oppression. In Scotland   he founded a school at Gordonstoun and the young Prince quickly followed him there to resume his studies.

Inspecting the trooping of the coours
Credit: By Carfax2 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

In 1939 Philip left school at Gordonstoun and joined the Royal Navy, war was approaching and as the senior service it was a fitting appointment for even a distant member of the Royal family.  The King was visiting the Royal Naval College and asked the young Prince to escort his daughters, Elizabeth and Margaret, around the college. It is at this point that the 13 year old future queen fell in love with her dashing prince and the couple started to exchange letters. Philip had a distinguished career during the war and was present at the signing of the surrender at Tokyo.

By 1947 Philip had changed both his name and nationality, denouncing any claims that he might have to the Greek or Danish thrones and the way was clear for him to marry Princess Elizabeth. There was initially some opposition to the marriage from her parents on the grounds that Elizabeth was too young but the young couple managed to persuade the King and Queen that the marriage should go ahead.  On the day of his marriage King George V1 granted Philip the titles of Duke of Edinburgh , Earl Merioneth and Baron Greenwich which followed the granting of the title His Royal Highness which had been made on the eve of the marriage.Prince Phiip is the Queen's consort and like Prince Albert has never been given the title of King.

The Royal wedding of  20th November 1947 at Westminster Abbey involved two of Queen Victoria’s grandchildren, who were third cousins and has proven to be a very stable marriage lasting over 65 years- The couple had four children, Anne, Charles, (Prince of Wales) Andrew and Edward and currently have eight grandchildren and two great grand children although William and Kate are expecting their first baby in the summer of 2013.

 Long may this  love affair continue.