It was recently announced that Prince Philip has officially retired from his royal duties. The 95-year-old public servant has decided that this summer will mark the last of his public engagements in service of the crown. His wife, Queen Elizabeth II, will continue to represent the Royal Family at these events.
As Prince Philip enjoys a much-needed respite from the public eye, let’s take a look at some interesting and downright shocking things you might not know about the aging monarch:
1. He Had A Bleak Childhood
Being born into royalty does not mean that your life is all tea and crumpets. Prince Philip’s mother spent most of his childhood in and out of psychiatric hospitals, and his father was largely absent as he chose to leave his children and live in the South of France. Meanwhile, Prince Philip was parceled out to relatives, not seeing or hearing from his parents for nearly five years.
2. He Met His Bride When She Was Just 8 Years Old
Prince Philip met Queen Elizabeth II at a royal wedding when she was just 8 years old. (He was 14 years old.) Of course, sparks didn’t fly just then…but five years later, when they met again at the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, the romance officially began.
3. He Is A War Hero
During World War II, Prince Philip served in the British Royal Navy as first lieutenant of HMS Wallace, making him one of the youngest first lieutenants to ever do so. His youth notwithstanding, Prince Philip proved himself equal to his elder peers when his quick thinking saved his ship (and countless lives) from German bombers.
4. He Wasn’t Afraid To Show A Little Leg
Prince Philip and his pals were famous for their “rip-roaring stag parties,” in which they would get together every Thursday and let loose. On one such occasion, Prince Phillip is rumored to have stripped naked, put on a small lace apron and served his guests (earning him the nickname “The Naked Waiter”). Oh my!
5. He Crashed The Castle To Woo His Lady
On one occasion, Prince Philip made the bold choice to show up at the Palace unannounced in a bid to see Queen Elizabeth (who was then just a Princess.) Later, he wrote her a letter apologizing for crashing her crib, saying that the move showed “monumental cheek.” However, he added, “Yet however contrite I feel, there is always a small voice that keeps saying ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’ – well did I venture and I gained a wonderful time.” Aw.
6. He Had To Renounce His Titles To Win British Favor
In order to curry favor with the British media and general public, Prince Philip opted to renounce his titles of Prince of Denmark and Prince of Greece. Due to anti-German sentiment following World War II, and his German ancestry, Prince Philip wanted to prove total allegiance to the British crown and to his love, Princess Elizabeth. He also converted from Greek Orthodoxy to Anglicanism.
7. He Has A Good Sense Of Humor
Ever wonder what Prince Philip calls his lifelong spouse in private? Maybe Liz, Lizzie, or sweetheart? Nope. He calls her “sausage” or “cabbage.” How funny!
8. He Once Dissed Elton John
Prince Philip is not one to get star-struck. Upon meeting the famous crooner Elton John, Prince Philip only had this to say: “Oh it’s you that owns that ghastly car is it? We often see it when driving to Windsor Castle.” Ouch.
9. He’s Not Afraid To Poke Fun At Himself
Prince Philip has never been afraid to keep it real. When asked how he felt to be approaching 90 years old, the funny monarch had this to say about aging: “Bits are beginning to drop off” and “I’m past my sell-by date.”
10. He Has Excellent Marital Advice
When a reporter asked him the secret to a long and successful marriage, Prince Philip gave a simple but smart answer: “Tolerance is the one essential ingredient.” He also added, “You can take it from me that the Queen has the quality of tolerance in abundance.”
11. He Embarrassed His Kids
Like any good dad, Prince Philip embarrassed his kids a time or two with his dad jokes. When a reporter asked Prince Philip about his daughter Princess Anne’s romantic prospects, her father had this to say: “If it doesn’t fart or eat hay then she isn’t interested.” (Princess Anne was a dedicated equestrian, so his joke made sense…but still, c’mon, Dad!)
There you have it. Enjoy your retirement, Prince Philip! You’ve certainly earned it.