Death of Prince Philip: those family tragedies that marked the life of the Duke of Edinburgh

He passed away this Friday, April 9 at the age of 99. Prince Philip had spent more than 70 years in the British Crown, after marrying Queen Elizabeth II in 1947. Before becoming the patriarch of the royal family of England, the prince lived through young years of tragedy. family. He was born in 1921 in Corfu, from the union of André of Greece, Prince of Greece and Denmark, and Princess Alice of Battenberg. While Philip is barely 18 months old, the Greek revolution pushes the family into exile in Paris. In 1930, the prince’s mother, diagnosed with schizophrenia, began to hear voices and found herself interned in a psychiatric center when the boy was only nine years old. Due to an absent father, Philip was sent to school in England, and shared his school holidays with various family members, including his favorite uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten (who died in an IRA attack in 1979 ). Due to his young age and being the only boy, Philip grows up separated from his four older sisters, Margarita, Theodora, Cecilie and Sophie. Of the four, three of them married German aristocrats affiliated with the Nazi Party. Prince Philip did not find his family until his sister Cecilie’s funeral in 1937. The young woman, 26, was killed in a plane crash with her husband and two of her children while ‘she was 8 months pregnant. A drama that long pursues Prince Philip who, years later, declares: “I have the clearest memory of the deep shock with which I learned of the death of my sister and her family.”

Prince Philip’s mother, converted into a nun

In the 1940s, Alice de Battenberg, Philip’s mother, retired to Greece to live a religious existence and, in 1949, founded an institution as Mother Superior. In 1967, when a coup d’état struck Greece, Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II sent a plane to repatriate Alice from Battenberg, who then settled in Buckingham Palace until her death two years later. , in 1969. Just before her death, the latter wrote to her son: “Very dear Philippe, be courageous, and remember that I will never leave you, and that you will always find me when you need me the most. All my devoted love, your old mother. “

Prince Philip © Agency

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