The Great Love Story of the Late Prince Philip
Just two months shy of 100 years old, the world watched the ever-stoic Queen of England lay her extraordinary husband, Prince Philip to rest.
Their love story began with letter correspondence, and fittingly, she sent her beloved off with a letter laid upon the flowers of his casket, which smart tech photography have revealed to say, “I love you.”
Philip wasn’t extraordinary because he was a Prince — he was extraordinary despite having to be one. After 73 years of loyal duty, which make him nigh on impossible to rival, he deserved the tribute paid him.
This tribute has the purpose of providing glimpses into the extraordinary love between two extraordinary people living in extraordinary times.
Giving up a Mistress for the Queen
The child that became the man we know as Prince Philip, came from what would today be called a traumatic childhood. But that history is accessible to anyone. The epitome of what it was like for him was reflected in what BBC News reported regarding Philip when he went to Monte Carlo to collect what was left of his father’s belongings after learning that he had been killed during the war, “I don’t think anybody thinks I had a father.”
It was on the north coast of Scotland, at Gordonstoun, a private school, where his mettle was truly forged. There, he matched the stress placed on physical and mental excellence. The school’s ethos of respect for the individual, teamwork, responsibility, and community service became his own.
“The essence of freedom is discipline and self-control…. the human spirit should not be stifled by easy living,” he would later say in his speeches.
At Dartmouth Naval College, his love of the sea was born. “It is an extraordinary master or mistress, it has such extraordinary moods,” he said.
Enter Princess Elizabeth on tour to the Naval College with her father King George VI. A few short years later, she became the love of his life. For two intoxicating years in Malta, Phillip had both his loves unchallenged — command of a ship and the beautiful Princess Elizabeth of England.
The death of Princess Elizabeth’s father that catapulted her into the role of Queen changed everything inexorably forever. In a poignant letter written to Princess Elizabeth purportedly around 1946, according to Philip Eade, author of Young Prince Philip: His Turbulent Early Life, Prince Philip wrote:
“To have been spared in the war and seen victory, to have been given the chance to rest and to re-adjust myself, to have fallen in love completely and unreservedly, makes all one’s personal and even the world’s troubles seem small and petty.”
“It takes a man…” said Prince Philip
In those early days, the photographs of Queen Elizabeth resemble that of a deer caught in the headlights. She stepped up gallantly then, with the same stoicism we saw as she sat alone under COVID-19’s pandemic restrictions, in the pew at Prince Philip’s funeral service. The same photographs show the love and support – albeit ever so proper since Queen Elizabeth would have it no other way, of an adoring husband who gave up the navy to be at her side for 73 years.
Does the world know it has witnessed one of the greatest love stories in human history?
The Duke of Edinburgh was very confident in his masculinity. Did he flirt? Sure. But his body language tells the true story of an enviable love of a man who gave up his job for Queen Elizabeth, gave up his name to the children she would bear him, and walked behind his Queen in public.
“It takes a man to have a boy,’ he’d said on the happy occasion of the birth of their first son, Charles. But we say, ‘It takes a man to give up so much and take up a role for which there was no precedent, no manual, and no one to guide him.’
Prince Phillip Forges Ahead
Not shy of innovation and eventually finding suitable avenues for his intelligence, Prince Philip became known for encouraging technological advancement. While supporting his Queen, he most certainly didn’t lose himself.
He learned to fly, loved playing sport, swam, rowed, sailed, rode horses, and drove carriages in his later years. He exercised his love for research and industrial interests. He described global warming before the word had even been coined.
He spoke his mind, and clearly, his Queen had to stifle a few giggles with a poker face of propriety when others failed to understand his humour. Always at her side during engagements, his attention was only on Queen Elizabeth with whom he could crack a smile and share a secret look.
Prince Philip Behind Closed Doors
If Prince Philip deferred to his queen in public, it was she who deferred to him in private. She honoured him as head of the family and concurred with his wishes for the education of their children.
For a man to be so utterly in tune with the needs of his wife, who happened to be the Queen is the basis of a love story the whole world can learn from.
We can but mourn his loss with his beloved Queen as she adjusts to long days without the man who was a ray of sunshine in England’s frosty climate.