As the husband of the United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip has obviously been photographed countless times. In fact, having been in the spotlight for so long, his personality has been a source of great interest. His public persona paints the man as something of a gaffe-prone joker, but there’s much more to him than that. Indeed, a number of rare photographs might help to shed some light on his character. Here, Philip is pictured in costume for a Gordonstoun school production of Macbeth in Scotland.
Before he was a British prince, Philip was actually a member of both the Greek and Danish royal families. Born in 1921 on the Greek island of Corfu, he and his family were forced to flee Greece the following year as a result of his uncle, King Constantine I, being overthrown and driven into exile following a coup d’etat. Consequently, Philip spent his early years growing up in France, Germany and the U.K.
Philip had decided to sign up to the British Royal Navy when he turned 18. In addition, around this period, he started to keep in touch with a young Princess Elizabeth. However, the advent of World War II soon ensured that he was sent to the Mediterranean and the Pacific. During the war, he climbed the ranks, even becoming a first lieutenant at the young age of 21. Here he’s pictured in 1949, on board HMS Chequers, dancing with a young Wren, Patricia Kelly.
Returning from wartime service, Philip was given permission by George VI to marry Princess Elizabeth, which he did in 1947. When Elizabeth was made queen in 1952, Philip retired from the Navy as a commander. Abandoning his Greek and Danish royal titles, he officially became a British prince five years later.
Over the course of their long marriage, Prince Philip and and Queen Elizabeth have raised four children – Charles, Anne, Edward and Andrew. Here, the royal couple are pictured together in the midst of a royal tour of the Commonwealth in the 1950s. Nowadays, however, Philip’s touring days have come to an end. He retired from his royal obligations in 2017 at the grand old age of 96.