Facts about Philip as he turns 99

The Duke of Edinburgh is celebrating his 99th birthday on Wednesday.

Here are some facts about Philip.

– The duke is the longest-serving consort in British history, and also the oldest serving partner of a reigning monarch.

– Philip paints in oils – and signs his work with a Greek “P”.

– His affectionate nickname for the Queen is “cabbage”.

The Queen and Philip
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh (Fiona Hanson/PA)

– He avoids drinking wine – but his tipple is a very occasional beer or gin.

– He is known for his gaffes, once telling a teenager who wanted to go into space he was too fat to be an astronaut.

– He asked a successful Aboriginal entrepreneur “Do you still throw spears at each other?”, and told a female police officer in a bullet proof vest “You look like a suicide bomber”.

– He won team gold in the carriage driving world championships twice and competed until he was in his mid 80s, before carrying on non-competitively into his 90s.

Philip carriage driving
The Duke of Edinburgh carriage driving (Fiona Hanson/PA)

–  His parents were Prince Andrew of Greece and Princess Alice of Battenberg.

– He was born a prince of Greece and Denmark, on the kitchen table of his family home on the Greek island of Corfu, on June 10, 1921.

– His early years were marked by upheaval after the family went into exile following a military coup in Greece which overthrew Philip’s uncle, King Constantine I.

– George V, the Queen’s grandfather, ordered a Royal Navy cruiser to evacuate the family and 18-month-old Philip was carried to safety in a cot made from an orange box.

– Princess Alice suffered from mental illness and was confined to an asylum when Philip was a child.

A young Prince Philip
A young Prince Philip of Greece (left) with his cousin King Michael of Romania in 1928 (PA)

– She later founded an order of nuns and was also recognised as Righteous Among the Nations at Yad Vashem for saving Jews during the Holocaust.

– The family name of the Danish royal house from which Philip’s father was descended was Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg.

– Philip renounced his Greek royal title in 1947 before marrying Princess Elizabeth and became a naturalised British subject, picking Mountbatten as his new surname – an Anglicised version of Battenberg, his mother’s family name.

– As husband of the sovereign, Philip was not crowned or anointed at the coronation ceremony in 1953.

Trooping the Colour
The duke inspects troops outside Buckingham Palace during the annual Trooping the Colour parade in 2012 (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

– On the day of the coronation, he quipped to his wife “Where did you get that hat?”

– He speaks French, having lived in France for seven years as a child.

– The Queen was once spotted throwing a pair of tennis shoes and a racket at him in frustration during an Australian tour.

– Philip has had 14 books published on environmental, technological, equestrian and other issues.

– He collects contemporary cartoons, some featuring royal occasions. They are hung in Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Sandringham and Balmoral.

Philip
The Duke of Edinburgh next to a cartoon of the Queen standing behind the bar at the Old Vic pub from EastEnders at an exhibition (PA)

– He fulfilled 22,219 solo official engagements between 1952 and August 2 2017, when he officially retired from public duties.

– He set up the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme in 1956 to help young people gain essential skills, experience, confidence and resilience.

– Philip has eight great-grandchildren including Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis and Archie Mountbatten-Windsor.

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