Prince Philip is 99-years-old and though he is currently in the hospital recovering from heart surgery and an infection, he has remained a pillar in the British royal family since he married Queen Elizabeth II in 1947.
Though he has been in the royal spotlight for over 70 years, the Duke of Edinburgh has not been without his own controversies. He is known for his sharp tongue, there were rumors about his infidelity, and he isn’t afraid to throw his weight around when it comes to getting his way.
Yet, some might say that Prince Philip is the key to the British royal family’s success.
Why is Prince Philip not a king?
Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth’s romance began when they were just teenagers. Though the prince is of royal linage having been born, Prince Philipos of Greece and Denmark of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, his family fled Greece after his uncle was removed from the throne. Later, his siblings took up with Nazis.
Though the queen’s parents eventually agreed to her union with Prince Philip taking on the title of king was out of the question. The duke was 26-years-old when he married the 21-year-old queen (who was just a princess at the time).
Due to parliamentary law, Prince Philip was not allowed to take on the title of king. Over the course of British history, the husband of a queen born into the line of succession has not become a king. Though the prince was given the title of Duke of Edinburgh upon his wedding day, he did not become a prince of the U.K. until 1957, years after Queen Elizabeth ascended to the throne.
Prince Philip rules the royal family with an iron first
The early years of the Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth’s marriage were carefree. However, when her father, King George VI died unexpectedly in 1952 and the queen took the throne, things changed.
The couple had friction over the prince’s role as the queen’s helpmate and they even argued over children’s last name, eventually landing on Mountbatten-Windsor. “I am nothing but a bloody amoeba. I am the only man in the country not allowed to give his name to his own children,” he reportedly said via Jezebel.
While the queen was the public face of the royal family, Prince Philip took the lead at home in everything from the family life to Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward’s education. Sarah, Duchess of York, had her own opinion of her former father-in-law. “She always likes to say how he rules the Royal family with a rod of iron,” an insider told The Daily Beast. “They loathe each other, to put it frankly.”
Prince Philip may be the key to the British royal family success
Though he has been known for his brashness and his less than savory remarks, Prince Philip’s longevity and his willingness to take up his role beside Queen Elizabeth II might be the key to the royal family’s success.
He was also the first to suggest pulling back the veil on the British royal family when he pushed for television coverage of his the queen’s 1953 coronation. In 1969, he also the royal family recorded on camera in a docu-series of sorts to make them seem more approachable to the public.
Though Prince Philip has been controversial at times, he’s also been steadfast and unyielding. As Jezebel reports, “The longevity of Queen Elizabeth II herself is part of what rebuilt the monarchy’s image after the disasters of the 1990s, but the longevity of her marriage to Philip was part of the equation, too.”
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