Was Prince Philip Greek? Why the Duke of Edinburgh was exiled from Greece – and Denmark links explained

The young Prince Philip, who died on 9 April 2021 aged 99, was exiled from Greece as an infant

The prince, who was married to Queen Elizabeth II for 73 years, was born into the Greek and Danish royal family line in 1921.

When he was just 18 months old, however, the prince and his family were forced into exile, fleeing Greece and initially settling in France.

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Why was Prince Philip exiled from Greece?

Prince Philip was evacuated from Greece at just 18 months old (Photo: Chris J Ratcliffe/AFP/Getty)

Prince Philip was the only son and youngest child of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg.

His mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, was the great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria.

Shortly after Philip was born, his father, Prince Andrew, and his uncle, King Constantine I of Greece became embroiled in the Greco-Turkish war.

The war went badly for Greece, with King Constantine blamed for the defeat and the royal family overthrown as a result.

A revolutionary court banished Philip’s father, Prince Andrew, from Greece for the rest of his life, with the entire family forced to flee the country.

Famously, Prince Philip was evacuated from Greece in a cot made from a fruit box.

Prince Philip was subsequently educated in France, Germany and the UK, attending Scottish boarding school, Gordonstoun, which was famous for its strict education.

How did Prince Philip end up marrying Queen Elizabeth?

Prince Philip first met Queen Elizabeth in the summer of 1939 when the future monarch was just 13.

At the time, the prince was a cadet at the Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth and was five years older than the future Queen.

Prince Philip escorted both young Elizabeth and Margaret while their parents toured the college, with Elizabeth said to be impressed by the prince’s “viking” good looks.

Following their first meeting, the pair exchanged letters for several years as Philip served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War.

The relationship developed as the war raged on, with the young princess said to be very fond of the prince.

It wasn’t until the summer of 1946 that Prince Philip sought permission from Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, to become engaged.

What happened to Prince Philip’s family?

Philip was said to have a lonely childhood, with his parents’ marriage disintegrating early in his life.

When the prince was just eight years old, in 1930, his mother suffered a nervous breakdown and was committed to a secure psychiatric centre. She later retreated to join a religious order.

His father, meanwhile, took up a mistress in the French Riviera while Philip’s maternal relatives helped to raise him.

In 1937, one of Philip’s sisters, Cecilie, died in a plane crash while she was heavily pregnant.

She had recently joined the Nazi party, and when Philip attended the funeral he walked through the streets of Germany to a crowd of people giving ‘Heil Hitler’ salutes.

"It's simply what happened," Prince Philip later said of his childhood. "The family broke up. My mother was ill, my sisters were married, my father was in the south of France. I just had to get on with it. You do. One does."

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