PRINCE PHILIP has been described as the Queen’s “strength and stay”. But despite being her most loyal companion, why is the Duke of Edinburgh not a King, or a King Consort?
When Prince Philip married then-Princess Elizabeth more than 70 years ago, he gave up everything for the woman he loved: abandoning his Danish and Greek royal titles, and even his surname. It is well known Philip was furious at his lack of influence over the naming of his own children, saying: “I am nothing but a bloody amoeba. I am the only man in the country not allowed to give his name to his own children.”
But the now Duke of Edinburgh, popular among many for his crass sense of humour and off-the-cuff gaffes, has proved a loyal and lasting companion to our Queen.
So much so, their marriage remains strong more than 70 years after their grand wedding.
Giving a speech on their golden wedding anniversary in 1997, the Queen said of her doting husband Philip: “He is someone who doesn’t take easily to compliments but he has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years.
“And I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know.”
Prince Philip title: Why is Prince Philip not a King? (Image: GETTY)
Prince Philip title: Prince Philip has been by the Queens side through thick and thin (Image: GETTY)
Prince Philip also proved himself to be much more than a loyal sidekick, however.
The Duke was a hardworking member of The Firm, with The Duke of Edinburgh awards, which he set up in 1956 and are now awarded in 141 countries, being highlighted as one of his most striking achievements.
The Duke retired from public duties in August 2017, having attended a staggering 22,219 royal engagements.
Tributes to the longest-serving royal consort in British history quickly poured in following the announcement from Buckingham Palace, with then-prime minister Theresa May saying Philip had been a “steadfast support” to the Queen.
Prince Philip title: The Queen chats to Prince Philip through the car window (Image: GETTY)
Prince Philip title: Prince Philip is renowned for being able to make the Queen laugh (Image: GETTY)
Queen Elizabeth II officially named ‘Phil the Greek’ a British Prince ten years after they wed.
A statement released at the time read: “The Queen has been pleased by Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the Realm bearing date February 22, 1957, to give and grant unto His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, KG, KT, GBE, the style and titular dignity of a Prince of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Whitehall.
|The Queen has been pleased to declare her will and pleasure that His ‘Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh shall henceforth be known as His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.”
But despite his endearing charm and loyal support, Prince Philip is not a King – so why?
Prince Philip title: Prince Philip is always there to make the Queen smile (Image: GETTY)
Prince Philip title: Prince Philip completed more than 20,000 events as a working royal (Image: GETTY)
Why isn’t Prince Philip a King?
Prince Philip is not a King – or King Consort -because of historical and patriarchal traditions.
While the wives of British Kings tend to receive the ceremonial title of queen — or queen consort – the same is not said the other way round.
Instead, a Prince Consort is the husband of a Queen who is not himself a King in his own right.
So Prince Philip is the consort of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth realms, meaning he is a Prince of the UK – although this is not styled as a Prince Consort.
This distinction lies in the difference between the positions of prince consort and king, which are important in the British patriarchal hierarchical system.
Essentially, this is because a King holds a higher position in the British social hierarchy.
But in cases where the hereditary monarch is female, this power is attributed to the Queen, for she holds the highest position in the absence of a King.
But there are breaks to this tradition.
Prince Albert is the only spouse of a British queen to have held the title “Prince Consort”.
The title was awarded to him in 1857 by his wife, Queen Victoria, who wanted to make her husband Albert “King Consort”.
However, the British government refused to introduce a bill allowing it, as Albert was a foreigner – so she plumped for the lesser title instead.
This break in tradition is seen as a touching tribute to their everlasting love.
Unlike many royal marriages over the years, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s union was a real-life love story.
Prince Philip title: Prince Philip was given the title ‘Prince’ in 1957 (Image: GETTY)
Prince Philip title: Prince Philip was given the New Zealand order by the Queen (Image: GETTY)
Writing of her wedding night, Queen Victoria said: “My dearest dear Albert… and his excessive love and affection gave me feelings of heavenly love and happiness, I never could have hoped to have felt before.
“His beauty, his sweetness and gentleness… Oh! This was the happiest day of my life.’
after they tied the knot, Victoria fell pregnant almost immediately, giving birth to their first child nine months later.
A further eight children followed in the years later, proving their physical attraction never waned.
And after his death in December 1861, Victoria spiralled into a deep depression, unable to be happy without the love of her life.
She stayed in seclusion for many years, rarely appearing in public and mourned her husband by wearing black for the remaining forty years of her life.
Source: EXPRESS CO UK