THE Duke of Edinburgh was one of the hardest working royals during his decades of service by Her Majesty’s side – conducting 22,219 solo engagements since 1952.
But Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was a Royal Navy man before he became involved with Princess Elizabeth and eventually became part of the Royal Family. So what exactly was his role in the military?
Prince Philip in the uniform of the Welsh Guards, Victoria Barracks[/caption]
Did Prince Philip serve in WW2?
Philip was born into the Greek and Danish royal families, but his family was exiled from his home country of Greece when he was just eighteen months old.
The young royal was educated in France, Germany and the United Kingdom before he joined the Royal Navy in 1939.
Philip completed a term as a cadet at the Royal Naval College, in Dartmouth, before entering into training for the Royal Navy.
During the Second World War Philip served with distinction in the Mediterranean and British Pacific fleets.
Two of his brothers-in-law, Prince Christoph and Hesse and Berthold, Margrave of Baden, fought on the opposing German side.
Earl Mountbatten of Burma (1900 – 1979) with Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who is his nephew[/caption]
Which regiment was Prince Philip in?
The Duke of Edinburgh was Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, the senior infantry regiment in the army, from 1975 to 2018.
A young naval officer, he was praised for his actions in the decisive Battle of Cape Matapan against the Italian fleet in March 1941.
Philip had been in control of the searchlights as the ship battled an Italian cruiser when he spotted an unexpected second enemy vessel nearby.
At the age of 21, Philip was one of the youngest officers in the Royal Navy to be made First Lieutenant and second-in-command of a ship, the destroyer escort HMS Wallace of the Rosyth Escort Force.
Had the duke not married Princess Elizabeth, some believe he would have been First Sea Lord, the professional head of the Royal Navy.
The Duke of Edinburgh in Naval uniform inspecting the guard of honour mounted by the Scots Guards,[/caption]
He once spoke of his fascination with the sea in a rare interview in 1998 to mark his 50 years as trustee of the National Maritime Museum.
What has Prince Philip said about serving in WW2?
Since Prince Philip’s passing, members of the royal family have posted photographs and videos, focusing on different aspects of his life.
One particular video which focused specifically on Prince Philip’s military service, features an interview with the prince himself, combined with historical footage.
Speaking of when the Royal Navy was stationed in Tokyo Bay, as the Japanese surrendered on September 2, 1945, Philip said: “Being in Tokyo Bay with the surrender ceremony taking place in a battleship which was, what, 200 yards away and you could see what was going on with a pair of binoculars,” Prince Philip said. “It was a great relief.”
In the clip, the Duke of Edinburgh also discussed retrieving a number of prisoners of war, captured by the Japanese. Once they arrived on the ship, Prince Philip and his fellow soldiers joined the liberated prisoners in the boat’s mess hall for tea.
“It was an extraordinary sensation because they just sat there and both sides, our own and them, just tears pouring down their cheeks. They just drank their tea—they really couldn’t speak. It was the most extraordinary sensation,” the Prince remembered.
Philip also discussed retrieving a number of prisoners of war who had been captured by the Japanese in the clip.
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The prisoners had come onto Phillip’s ship, where he and his fellow soldiers joined the prisoners in the boat’s mess hall for tea.
“It was an extraordinary sensation because they just sat there and both sides, our own and them, just tears pouring down their cheeks,” Philip said.
“They just drank their tea—they really couldn’t speak. It was the most extraordinary sensation.”