When you marry a queen, much less the Queen of England, it is assumed that the spouse will take their rightful place behind the monarch. But as it is widely known, Prince Philip often struggled to let go of his independent mindset and had a challenging first couple of years (via Express). Acting as the queen’s consort was not always easy as the prince often had to come second and relinquish what little power he had to begin with.
The Duke of Edinburgh suffered numerous blows to his pride, but none was worse than when the palace refused to let his children take his surname of Mountbatten. Good Housekeeping reported that the old feud was due to the fact that Prince Philip’s last name was of German descent and royal officials wanted to steer clear of any affiliation with Germany since the World War had only just ended and was still fresh in their subject’s minds.
Made in the Royal Navy
The prince loved his work within the Royal Navy and was a talented naval officer, per Reader’s Digest. But he was expected to give up his work and job title within the military when he married Queen Elizabeth II. The prince joined the Navy in 1939 as a cadet after graduating from Gordonstoun. The royal then moved onto the battleship HMS Valiant in 1941 and was in charge of the searchlight, according to The Guardian. As a first lieutenant, he also helped trick a German Luftwaffe bomber, which had its sights set on destroying their ship during the Allied invasion.
While he may have felt most at home on the sea, he was still plagued by rumors. Prince Philip has often made the news for his inappropriate timing or outburst of opinions. People spoke with Commander Keith Evans in 2017, who explained that he met Lieutenant Mountbatten back in 1947, saying he was “a bit randy” on the ships. It was defeating for the spirited duke to take on a subordinate role and serve his wife since he naturally loved the hierarchy of military life.
An officer until the end
Prince Philip was not prepared for his career to end so early on. Like most others at the time, he just assumed his father-in-law, King George VI, would reign into his later days. Instead, the king passed away at the age of 56 (via TIME) and thus forced the newlyweds onto the throne. Sadly, his job now turned into acting as a full-time royal, and he was meant to support his new queen. The original plan for the duke to remain on active duty within the Navy was scrapped, and essentially the rug was pulled out from under him.
In 1992 he told The Independent, “I thought I was going to have a career in the Navy, but it became obvious there was no hope. There was no choice. It just happened. You have to make compromises. That’s life. I accept it. I tried to make the best of it.” But per the duke’s personality, he made clear his stance, saying, “I’d much rather have stayed in the Navy, frankly.”
Even though he may have had to give up a major part of his life, it is often agreed that Philip stood by the queen, which helped her become the ruler she is today. Further, Prince Philip’s suffering hasn’t all been in vain, since, in 2017, his wife and reigning monarch rewarded him with a knighthood for a job well done (via Town & Country).
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