Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

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Prince Philip
Duke of Edinburgh (more)
File:Prince Philip March 2015 (cropped).jpg
Prince Philip in 2015
Consort of the British monarch
Tenure6 February 1952 – present
Born (1921-06-10) 10 June 1921 (age 101)
Mon Repos, Corfu, Greece
(m. 1947)
FatherPrince Andrew of Greece and Denmark
MotherPrincess Alice of Battenberg
SignaturePrince Philip's signature
Military career
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch Royal Navy
 British Army
 Royal Air Force
Years of service1939–1952
(end of active service)
RankAdmiral of the Fleet
Field Marshal
Marshal of the Royal Air Force
Commands heldHMS Magpie
Battles/warsSecond World War
AwardsMentioned in dispatches
Croix de Guerre with Palm
Greek War Cross

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark,[1] 10 June 1921)[fn 1] is the husband and consort of Queen Elizabeth II.

A member of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, Philip was born into the Greek and Danish royal families. He was born in Greece, but his family was exiled from the country when he was an infant. After being educated in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, he joined the British Royal Navy in 1939, aged 18. From July 1939, he began corresponding with the 13-year-old Princess Elizabeth, his second cousin once removed, whom he had first met in 1934. During the Second World War he served with the Mediterranean and Pacific fleets.

After the war, Philip was granted permission by King George VI to marry Elizabeth. Before the official announcement of their engagement in July 1947, he abandoned his Greek and Danish royal titles and became a naturalised British subject, adopting the surname Mountbatten from his maternal grandparents. He married Elizabeth on 20 November 1947. Just before the wedding, he was created Baron Greenwich, Earl of Merioneth and Duke of Edinburgh. Philip left active military service when Elizabeth became monarch in 1952, having reached the rank of commander, and was formally made a British prince in 1957.

Philip has four children with Elizabeth: Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward. He has eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Through a British Order in Council issued in 1960, descendants of Philip and Elizabeth not bearing royal styles and titles can use the surname Mountbatten-Windsor, which has also been used by some members of the royal family who do hold titles, such as Prince Andrew, Princess Anne and Prince Edward.

A keen sports enthusiast, Philip helped develop the equestrian event of carriage driving. He is a patron, president or member of over 780 organisations and serves as chairman of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award for people aged 14 to 24. He is the longest-serving consort of a reigning British monarch and the oldest-ever male member of the British royal family. Philip retired from his royal duties on 2 August 2017, at the age of 96, after having completed 22,219 solo engagements since 1952.

Early life

Mon Repos, the birthplace of Philip

Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark was born in Mon Repos on the Greek island of Corfu on 10 June 1921, the only son and fifth and final child of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg.[2] Philip's four elder sisters were Margarita, Theodora, Cecilie, and Sophie. He was baptised into the Greek Orthodox Church. His godparents were Queen Olga of Greece (his paternal grandmother) and the Mayor of Corfu.[3]

Shortly after Philip's birth, his maternal grandfather, Prince Louis of Battenberg, then known as Louis Mountbatten, Marquess of Milford Haven, died in London. Louis was a naturalised British citizen, who, after a career in the Royal Navy, had renounced his German titles and adopted the surname Mountbatten during the First World War. After visiting London for the memorial, Philip and his mother returned to Greece where Prince Andrew had remained behind to command an army division embroiled in the Greco-Turkish War (1919–1922).[4]

The war went badly for Greece, and the Turks made large gains. On 22 September 1922, Philip's uncle, King Constantine I, was forced to abdicate and the new military government arrested Prince Andrew, along with others. The commander of the army, General Georgios Hatzianestis, and five senior politicians were executed. Prince Andrew's life was believed to be in danger, and Alice was under surveillance. In December, a revolutionary court banished Prince Andrew from Greece for life.[5] The British naval vessel HMS Calypso evacuated Prince Andrew's family, with Philip carried to safety in a cot made from a fruit box. Philip's family went to France, where they settled in the Paris suburb of Saint-Cloud in a house lent to them by his wealthy aunt, Princess George of Greece and Denmark.[6]

Because Philip left Greece as a baby, he does not have a strong grasp of the Greek language. In 1992, he said that he "could understand a certain amount".[7] Philip has stated that he has thought of himself as Danish, and his family spoke English, French, and German.[7]



Philip studied at Gordonstoun School, Scotland.

Philip was first educated at The Elms,[8] an American school in Paris run by Donald MacJannet, who described Philip as a "know it all smarty person, but always remarkably polite".[9] In 1928, he was sent to the United Kingdom to attend Cheam School, living with his maternal grandmother, Victoria Mountbatten, Dowager Marchioness of Milford Haven, at Kensington Palace and his uncle, George Mountbatten, 2nd Marquess of Milford Haven, at Lynden Manor in Bray, Berkshire.[10] In the next three years, his four sisters married German noblemen and moved to Germany, his mother was placed in an asylum after being diagnosed with schizophrenia,[11] and his father moved to a small flat in Monte Carlo.[12] Philip had little contact with his mother for the remainder of his childhood.[13] In 1933, he was sent to Schule Schloss Salem in Germany, which had the "advantage of saving school fees" because it was owned by the family of his brother-in-law, Berthold, Margrave of Baden.[14] With the rise of Nazism in Germany, Salem's Jewish founder, Kurt Hahn, fled persecution and founded Gordonstoun School in Scotland. After two terms at Salem, Philip moved to Gordonstoun.[15] In 1937, his sister Cecilie, her husband Georg Donatus, Hereditary Grand Duke of Hesse, her two young sons and her mother-in-law were killed in an air crash at Ostend; Philip, then sixteen years old, attended the funeral in Darmstadt.[16] The following year, his uncle and guardian Lord Milford Haven died of bone marrow cancer.[17]

Naval and wartime service

After leaving Gordonstoun in 1939, Philip joined the Royal Navy, graduating the next year from the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, as the best cadet in his course.[18] During the Second World War, he continued to serve in the British forces, while two of his brothers-in-law, Prince Christoph of Hesse and Berthold, Margrave of Baden, fought on the opposing German side.[19] Philip was appointed as a midshipman in January 1940. He spent four months on the battleship HMS Ramillies, protecting convoys of the Australian Expeditionary Force in the Indian Ocean, followed by shorter postings on HMS Kent, on HMS Shropshire and in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).[12] After the invasion of Greece by Italy in October 1940, he was transferred from the Indian Ocean to the battleship HMS Valiant in the Mediterranean Fleet.[20]

HMS Valiant
Philip served aboard HMS Valiant in the Battle of the Mediterranean.

On 1 February 1941,[21] he was commissioned as a sub-lieutenant after a series of courses at Portsmouth, in which he gained the top grade in four out of five sections of the qualifying examination.[22] Among other engagements, he was involved in the Battle of Crete, and was mentioned in dispatches for his service during the Battle of Cape Matapan,[8] in which he controlled the battleship's searchlights. He was also awarded the Greek War Cross of Valour.[18] Duties of lesser glory included stoking the boilers of the troop transport ship RMS Empress of Russia.[23] In June 1942, he was appointed to the V and W-class destroyer and flotilla leader HMS Wallace, which was involved in convoy escort tasks on the east coast of Britain, as well as the Allied invasion of Sicily.[24]

Promotion to lieutenant followed on 16 July 1942.[25] In October of the same year, he became first lieutenant of HMS Wallace, at 21 years old one of the youngest first lieutenants in the Royal Navy. During the invasion of Sicily, in July 1943, as second in command of HMS Wallace, he saved his ship from a night bomber attack. He devised a plan to launch a raft with smoke floats that successfully distracted the bombers, allowing the ship to slip away unnoticed.[24] In 1944, he moved on to the new destroyer, HMS Whelp, where he saw service with the British Pacific Fleet in the 27th Destroyer Flotilla.[26][27] He was present in Tokyo Bay when the instrument of Japanese surrender was signed. In January 1946, Philip returned to the United Kingdom on the Whelp, and was posted as an instructor at HMS Royal Arthur, the Petty Officers' School in Corsham, Wiltshire.[28]


Philip's monogram

In 1939, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth toured the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth. During the visit, the Queen and Earl Mountbatten asked Philip to escort the King's two daughters, Elizabeth and Margaret, who were Philip's third cousins through Queen Victoria, and second cousins once removed through King Christian IX of Denmark.[29] Elizabeth fell in love with Philip and they began to exchange letters when she was thirteen.[30] Eventually, in the summer of 1946, Philip asked the King for his daughter's hand in marriage. The King granted his request, provided that any formal engagement be delayed until Elizabeth's twenty-first birthday the following April.[31] By March 1947, Philip had abandoned his Greek and Danish royal titles, had adopted the surname Mountbatten from his mother's family, and had become a naturalised British subject. The engagement was announced to the public on 10 July 1947.[32] Though Philip appeared "always to have regarded himself as an Anglican",[33] and he had attended Anglican services with his classmates and relations in England and throughout his Royal Navy days, he had been baptised in the Greek Orthodox Church. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher, wanted to "regularise" Philip's position by officially receiving him into the Church of England,[34] which he did in October 1947.[35] The day preceding his wedding, King George VI bestowed the style of Royal Highness on Philip and, on the morning of the wedding, 20 November 1947, he was made the Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, and Baron Greenwich of Greenwich in the County of London.[36] Consequently, being already a Knight of the Garter, between 19 and 20 November 1947 he bore the unusual style His Royal Highness Sir Philip Mountbatten and is so described in the Letters Patent of 20 November 1947.[36]

Philip and Elizabeth were married in a ceremony at Westminster Abbey, recorded and broadcast by BBC radio to 200 million people around the world.[37] However, in post-war Britain, it was not acceptable for any of the Duke of Edinburgh's German relations to be invited to the wedding, including Philip's three surviving sisters, all of whom had married German princes, some with Nazi connections. After their marriage, the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh took up residence at Clarence House. Their first two children were born: Prince Charles in 1948 and Princess Anne in 1950. Their marriage is now the longest of any British sovereign.[38][39]

After his honeymoon at the Mountbatten family home, Broadlands, Philip returned to the navy at first in a desk job at the Admiralty, and later on a staff course at the Naval Staff College, Greenwich.[40] From 1949, he was stationed in Malta (residing at Villa Guardamangia) after being posted as the first lieutenant of the destroyer HMS Chequers, the lead ship of the 1st Destroyer Flotilla in the Mediterranean Fleet.[41] On 16 July 1950, he was promoted to lieutenant commander and given command of the frigate HMS Magpie.[42][43] On 30 June 1952, Philip was promoted to commander,[44] though his active naval career had ended in July 1951.[45][46]

With the King in ill health, Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh were both appointed to the Privy Council on 4 November 1951, after a coast-to-coast tour of Canada. At the end of January 1952, Philip and his wife set out on a tour of the Commonwealth. On 6 February 1952, when they were in Kenya, Elizabeth's father died and she became queen. It was Philip who broke the news of her father's death to Elizabeth at Sagana Lodge, and the royal party immediately returned to the United Kingdom.[47] In 1952, Philip became a freemason, joining the United Grand Lodge of England.[48]

Consort of the Queen

Coronation portrait of Queen Elizabeth II with the Duke of Edinburgh, June 1953, by Cecil Beaton.

Royal house

The accession of Elizabeth to the throne brought up the question of the name of the royal house. The Duke's uncle, Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, advocated the name House of Mountbatten, as Elizabeth would typically have taken Philip's last name on marriage; however, when Queen Mary, Elizabeth's grandmother, heard of this suggestion, she informed the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who himself later advised the Queen to issue a royal proclamation declaring that the royal house was to remain known as the House of Windsor. Churchill's strong personal antipathy to Lord Mountbatten, whom he considered a dangerous and subversive rival who had lost India, may have contributed to this. Prince Philip privately complained, "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."[49]

On 8 February 1960, several years after the death of Queen Mary and the resignation of Churchill, the Queen issued an Order in Council declaring that Mountbatten-Windsor would be the surname of her and her husband's male-line descendants who are not styled as Royal Highness or titled as Prince or Princess.[50] While it seems the Queen had "absolutely set her heart" on such a change and had it in mind for some time, it occurred only eleven days before the birth of Prince Andrew (19 February), and only after three months of protracted correspondence between constitutional expert Edward Iwi (who averred that, without such a change, the royal child would be born with "the Badge of Bastardy") and Prime Minister Harold Macmillan who had attempted to rebuff Iwi.[51]

After her accession to the throne, the Queen also announced that the Duke was to have "place, pre-eminence and precedence" next to her "on all occasions and in all meetings, except where otherwise provided by Act of Parliament". This meant the Duke took precedence over his son, the Prince of Wales, except, officially, in the British parliament. In fact, however, he attends Parliament only when escorting the Queen for the annual State Opening of Parliament, where he walks and sits beside her.[52]

Contrary to rumours over the years, the Queen and Duke are said by insiders to have had a strong relationship throughout their marriage, despite the challenges of Elizabeth's reign.[53][54] The Queen referred to Prince Philip in a speech on the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee in 2012 as her "constant strength and guide".[54]

Duties and milestones

As consort to the Queen, Philip supported his wife in her new duties as sovereign, accompanying her to ceremonies such as the State Opening of Parliament in various countries, state dinners, and tours abroad. As Chairman of the Coronation Commission, he was the first member of the royal family to fly in a helicopter, visiting the troops that were to take part in the ceremony.[55] Philip was not crowned in the service, but knelt before Elizabeth, with her hands enclosing his, and swore to be her "liege man of life and limb".[56]

The Duke of Edinburgh visits Brisbane, Australia, in 1954

In the early 1950s, his sister-in-law, Princess Margaret, considered marrying a divorced older man, Peter Townsend. The press accused Philip of being hostile to the match, to which he replied "I haven't done anything." Philip had not interfered, preferring to stay out of other people's love lives.[57] Eventually, Margaret and Townsend parted. For six months, over 1953–54, Philip and Elizabeth toured the Commonwealth; again their children were left in the United Kingdom.[58]

In 1956, the Duke, with Kurt Hahn, founded the Duke of Edinburgh's Award in order to give young people "a sense of responsibility to themselves and their communities". In the same year, he also established the Commonwealth Study Conferences. From 1956 to 1957, Philip travelled around the world aboard the newly commissioned HMY Britannia, during which he opened the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne and visited the Antarctic, becoming the first royal to cross the Antarctic Circle.[59] The Queen and the children remained in the UK. On the return leg of the journey, Philip's private secretary, Mike Parker, was sued for divorce by his wife. As with Townsend, the press still portrayed divorce as a scandal and eventually Parker resigned. He later said that the Duke was very supportive and "the Queen was wonderful throughout. She regarded divorce as a sadness, not a hanging offence."[60] In a public show of support, the Queen created Parker a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order.[61]

Further press reports claimed that the Queen and the Duke were drifting apart, which enraged the Duke and dismayed the Queen, who issued a strongly worded denial.[62] On 22 February 1957, she granted her husband the style and title of a Prince of the United Kingdom by Letters Patent, and it was gazetted that he was to be known as "His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh".[63]

Philip was appointed to the Queen's Privy Council for Canada on 14 October 1957, taking his Oath of Allegiance before the Queen in person at her Canadian residence, Rideau Hall.[64] Remarks he made two years later to the Canadian Medical Association on the subject of youth and sport were taken as a suggestion that Canadian children were out of shape. This was at first considered "tactless", but Philip was later admired for his encouragement of physical fitness.[65] In Canada in 1969, Philip spoke about his views on republicanism:

It is a complete misconception to imagine that the monarchy exists in the interests of the monarch. It doesn't. It exists in the interests of the people. If at any time any nation decides that the system is unacceptable, then it is up to them to change it.[66]

Philip at the opening of the World Championship Coach-and-fours in 1982

Philip is patron of some 800 organisations, particularly focused on the environment, industry, sport, and education. He was President of the National Playing Fields Association (now known as Fields in Trust) for 64 years, from 1947 until his grandson Prince William took over the role in 2013.[67] He served as UK President of the World Wildlife Fund from 1961 to 1982, International President from 1981, and President Emeritus from 1996.[59] In 1952, he became patron of The Industrial Society (since renamed The Work Foundation).[8] He was President of the International Equestrian Federation from 1964 to 1986,[68] and has served as Chancellor of the Universities of Cambridge, Edinburgh, Salford, and Wales.[69] In 2017, the British Heart Foundation thanked Prince Philip for being its patron for 55 years, during which time, in addition to organising fundraisers, he "supported the creation of nine BHF-funded centres of excellence".[70]

At the beginning of 1981, Philip wrote to his eldest son, Charles, counselling him to make up his mind to either propose to Lady Diana Spencer or break off their courtship.[71] Charles felt pressured by his father to make a decision and did so, proposing to Diana in February.[72] They married six months later.

Photograph by Allan Warren, 1992

By 1992, the marriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales had broken down. The Queen and Philip hosted a meeting between Charles and Diana, trying to effect a reconciliation, but without success.[73] Philip wrote to Diana, expressing his disappointment at both Charles's and her extra-marital affairs, and asking her to examine both his and her behaviour from the other's point of view.[74] She found the letters hard to take, but nevertheless she appreciated that he was acting with good intent.[75] Charles and Diana separated and later divorced.

A year after the divorce, Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris on 31 August 1997. At the time, the Duke was on holiday at Balmoral with the extended royal family. In their grief, Diana's two sons, Princes William and Harry, wanted to attend church and so their grandparents took them that morning.[76] For five days, the Queen and the Duke shielded their grandsons from the ensuing press interest by keeping them at Balmoral, where they could grieve in private.[76] The royal family's seclusion caused public dismay,[76] but the public mood changed after a live broadcast made by the Queen on 5 September.[77] Uncertain as to whether they should walk behind her coffin during the funeral procession, Diana's sons hesitated.[77] Philip told William, "If you don't walk, I think you'll regret it later. If I walk, will you walk with me?"[77] On the day of the funeral, Philip, William, Harry, Charles and Diana's brother, Earl Spencer, walked through London behind her bier.

Over the next few years, Mohamed Fayed, whose son Dodi Fayed was also killed in the crash, claimed that Prince Philip had ordered the death of Diana and that the accident was staged. The inquest into the Princess of Wales's death concluded in 2008 that there was no evidence of a conspiracy.[78]

Prince Philip receives a Parliamentary annuity (of £359,000 since 1990[fn 2]) that serves to meet official expenses in carrying out public duties. The annuity is unaffected by the reform of royal finances under the Sovereign Grant Act 2011.[79][80] Any part of the allowance that is not used to meet official expenditure is liable for tax. In practice, the entire allowance is used to fund his official duties.[81]

21st century

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, June 2012

During his wife's Golden Jubilee in 2002, the Duke was commended by the Speaker of the British House of Commons for his role in supporting the Queen during her reign. The Duke of Edinburgh's time as royal consort exceeds that of any other consort in British history;[82] however, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother (his mother-in-law), who died aged 101, has had the longest lifespan to date.

In April 2008, Philip was admitted to King Edward VII's Hospital for "assessment and treatment" for a chest infection, though he walked into the hospital unaided and recovered quickly,[83] and was discharged three days later to recuperate at Windsor Castle.[84] In August, the Evening Standard reported that he was suffering from prostate cancer. Buckingham Palace, which usually refuses to comment on rumours of ill health, claimed that the report was an invasion of privacy and issued a statement denying the story.[85] The newspaper retracted the report and admitted it was untrue.[86][87]

In June 2011, in an interview marking his 90th birthday he said that he would now slow down and reduce his duties, stating that he had "done [his] bit".[88] His wife, the Queen, gave him the title Lord High Admiral for his 90th birthday.[89] While staying at the royal residence at Sandringham, Norfolk, on 23 December 2011, the Duke suffered chest pains and was taken to the cardio-thoracic unit at Papworth Hospital, Cambridgeshire, where he underwent successful coronary angioplasty and stenting.[90] He was discharged on 27 December.[91]

On 4 June 2012, during the celebrations in honour of his wife's Diamond Jubilee, Philip was taken from Windsor Castle to the King Edward VII Hospital, London, suffering from a bladder infection.[92][93] He was released from hospital on 9 June.[94] After a recurrence of infection in August 2012, while staying at Balmoral Castle, he was admitted to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary for five nights as a precautionary measure.[95] In June 2013, Philip was admitted to the London Clinic for an exploratory operation on his abdomen, spending 11 days in hospital.[96] On 21 May 2014, the Prince appeared in public with a bandage on his right hand after a "minor procedure" was performed in Buckingham Palace the preceding day.[97] In June 2017, he was taken from Windsor to London and admitted to King Edward VII Hospital after being diagnosed with an infection.[98] He spent two nights in the hospital and was unable to attend the State Opening of Parliament and Royal Ascot.[99][100]

Prince Philip retired from his royal duties on 2 August 2017, meeting Royal Marines in his final solo public engagement. Since 1952 he had completed 22,219 solo engagements. Prime Minister Theresa May thanked him, via Twitter, for "a remarkable lifetime of service".[101][102] On 20 November 2017, he celebrated his 70th wedding anniversary with the Queen, which made her the first British monarch to celebrate a platinum wedding anniversary.[103]

On 3 April 2018, Philip was admitted to the King Edward VII Hospital for a planned hip replacement, which took place the next day. This came after the Duke missed the annual Maundy and Easter Sunday services. On 12 April his daughter, Princess Anne, spent about 50 minutes in the hospital and afterwards said her father was "on good form". He was discharged the following day.[104]

Personality and image

File:Her Majesty the Queen at Breakfast.jpg
Her Majesty the Queen at Breakfast painted by her husband in 1957. Biographer Robert Lacey described the painting as "a tender portrayal, impressionistic in style, with brushstrokes that are charmingly soft and fuzzy".[105]

Philip played polo until 1971, when he started to compete in carriage driving, a sport which he helped expand; the early rule book was drafted under his supervision.[106] He was a keen yachtsman, striking up a friendship in 1949 with Uffa Fox in Cowes. He and the Queen regularly attended Cowes Week in HMY Britannia. His first airborne flying lesson took place in 1952; by his 70th birthday he had accrued 5,150 pilot hours.[107] He was presented with Royal Air Force wings in 1953.[108] In April 2014, it was reported that an old British Pathe newsreel film had been discovered of Philip's 1962 two-month flying tour of South America. Filmed sitting alongside Philip at the aircraft's controls was his co-pilot Captain Peter Middleton, the grandfather of the Duke's granddaughter-in-law, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.[109][110]

He has painted with oils, and collected artworks, including contemporary cartoons, which hang at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Sandringham House, and Balmoral Castle. Hugh Casson described Philip's own artwork as "exactly what you'd expect ... totally direct, no hanging about. Strong colours, vigorous brushstrokes."[111]

His down-to-earth manner was attested to by a White House butler who recalled that, on a visit in 1979, Philip had engaged him and a fellow butler in a conversation, and poured them drinks.[112] As well as a reputation for bluntness and plain speaking,[113] Philip is noted for occasionally making observations and jokes that have been construed as either funny, or as gaffes: awkward, politically incorrect or even offensive, but sometimes perceived as stereotypical of someone of his age and background.[114][115][116][117][118] In an address to the General Dental Council in 1960, he jokingly coined a new word for his blunders: "Dontopedalogy is the science of opening your mouth and putting your foot in it, a science which I have practised for a good many years."[119] Later in life he suggested his comments may have contributed to the perception that he is "a cantankerous old sod".[120] The historian David Starkey has described him as a kind of "HRH Victor Meldrew".[121] For example, in May 1999 British newspapers accused Philip of insulting deaf children at a pop concert in Wales by saying, "No wonder you are deaf listening to this row."[122] Later Philip wrote, "The story is largely invention. It so happens that my mother was quite seriously deaf and I have been Patron of the Royal National Institute for the Deaf for ages, so it's hardly likely that I would do any such thing."[123] When he and the Queen met Stephen Menary, an army cadet blinded by an IRA bomb, and the Queen enquired how much sight he retained, Philip quipped: "Not a lot, judging by the tie he's wearing." Menary later said: "I think he just tries to put people at ease by trying to make a joke. I certainly didn't take any offence."[124] During a state visit to the People's Republic of China in 1986, in a private conversation with British students from Xi'an's North West University, Philip joked, "If you stay here much longer, you'll go slit-eyed."[125] The British press reported on the remark as indicative of racial intolerance, but the Chinese authorities were reportedly unconcerned. Chinese students studying in the UK, an official explained, were often told in jest not to stay away too long, lest they go "round-eyed".[126] His comment had no effect on Sino-British relations, but it shaped his own reputation.[127]

Titles, styles, honours and arms

The Duke of Edinburgh, Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Canadian Regiment, presenting the 3rd Battalion with their Regimental Colours in April 2013

Philip has held a number of titles throughout his life. Originally holding the title and style of a prince of Greece and Denmark, Philip abandoned these royal titles prior to his marriage, and was thereafter created a British duke, among other noble titles. The Queen formally issued letters patent in 1957 making Philip a British prince.[63]

When addressing the Duke of Edinburgh, as with any male member of the royal family except the monarch, the rules of etiquette are to address him the first time as Your Royal Highness, and thereafter as Sir.[128]

Honours and honorary military appointments

Ni-Vanuatu with pictures of Philip

The Duke of Edinburgh was appointed by King George VI to the Order of the Garter on 19 November 1947, the eve of his wedding. Since then, Philip has received 17 different appointments and decorations in the Commonwealth, and 48 from foreign states. The inhabitants of some villages on the island of Tanna, Vanuatu worship Prince Philip as a god; the islanders possess portraits of the Duke and hold feasts on his birthday.[129]

Upon his wife's accession to the throne in 1952, the Duke was appointed Admiral of the Sea Cadet Corps, Colonel-in-Chief of the British Army Cadet Force, and Air Commodore-in-Chief of the Air Training Corps.[130] The following year, he was appointed to the equivalent positions in Canada, and made Admiral of the Fleet, Captain General Royal Marines, Field Marshal, and Marshal of the Royal Air Force in the United Kingdom.[131] Subsequent military appointments were made in New Zealand and Australia.[132] In 1975, he was appointed Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, a position he handed over to his son Andrew in 2017.[133] On 16 December 2015, his role as Honorary Air Commodore-in-Chief was handed over to the Duchess of Cambridge.

To celebrate his 90th birthday, the Queen appointed him Lord High Admiral of the Royal Navy (the highest title in the organisation)[134] and Canada appointed him to the highest ranks available in all three branches of the Canadian Armed Forces.[135]

On their 70th wedding anniversary, 20 November 2017, the Queen appointed him Knight Grand Cross (GCVO) of the Royal Victorian Order, making him the first British national since his late uncle, the first Earl Mountbatten of Burma, to be entitled to wear the breast stars of four orders of chivalry in the United Kingdom.[136]


Coat of arms of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Coat of Arms of Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.svg
Following his marriage to Princess Elizabeth until 1949, Prince Philip's arms featured a differenced version of the royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom, derived from his ancestor Princess Alice.[137]
Unlike the arms used by other members of the royal family, the Duke's arms no longer features the royal arms of the United Kingdom, as he was granted new arms by King George VI in 1949. However, they do feature elements representing Greece and Denmark, from which he is descended in the male line; the Mountbatten family arms, from which he is descended in the female line; and the City of Edinburgh.
19 November 1947
Issuant from a ducal coronet Or, a plume of five ostrich feathers alternately Sable and Argent;
Mantling Or and ermine
Upon a coronet of a son of the sovereign Proper, the royal helm Or[138]
From 1949:
Quarterly: First Or, semée of hearts Gules, three lions passant in pale Azure (For Denmark), Second Azure, a cross Argent (For Greece), Third Argent, two pallets Sable (For Battenberg or Mountbatten), Fourth Argent, upon a rock Proper a castle triple towered Sable, masoned Argent, windows, port, turret-caps and vanes Gules (For Edinburgh), the whole surrounded by the Garter.[138]
Dexter, a representation of Hercules girt about the loins with a lion skin, crowned with a chaplet of oak leaves, holding in the dexter hand a club Proper (from the Danish and Greek royal coat of arms); sinister, a lion queue fourchée ducally crowned Or and gorged with a naval coronet Azure;
The Order of the Garter ribbon
(Shamed be he who thinks evil of it)
Royal Standard of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.svg A banner of the Duke's arms is used as his personal standard.[139]
The arms of Denmark and Greece, represent the Duke of Edinburgh's familial lineage. The arms of the City of Edinburgh represent Philip's dukedom. The naval crown collar alludes to the Duke's naval career.
Previous versions
Arms of Philip Mountbatten (1947-1949).svg

From 1947 to 1949:
"Arms of Greece surmounted by an inescutcheon of the arms of Denmark; and over all in the first quarter the arms of Princess Alice, daughter of Queen Victoria, viz, the Royal Arms differenced with a label of three points argent, the middle point charged with a rose gules and each of the others with an ermine spot. The shield is encircled by the Garter and ensigned with a princely coronet of crosses pattée and fleurs-de-lis, above which is placed a barred helm affronte, and thereon the crest; out of a ducal coronet or, a plume of five ostrich feathers alternately sable and argent. The supporters are, dexter, the figure of Hercules proper, and sinister, a lion queue fourche ducally crowned or, gorged with a naval coronet azure."[137]


Name Birth Marriage Their children Their grandchildren
Date Spouse
Charles, Prince of Wales 14 November 1948 29 July 1981
Divorced 28 August 1996
Lady Diana Spencer Prince William, Duke of Cambridge Prince George of Cambridge
Princess Charlotte of Cambridge
Prince Louis of Cambridge
Prince Henry of Wales None
9 April 2005 Camilla Parker Bowles None
Anne, Princess Royal 15 August 1950 14 November 1973
Divorced 28 April 1992
Mark Phillips Peter Phillips Savannah Phillips
Isla Phillips
Zara Tindall Mia Tindall
12 December 1992 Timothy Laurence None
Prince Andrew, Duke of York 19 February 1960 23 July 1986
Divorced 30 May 1996
Sarah Ferguson Princess Beatrice of York None
Princess Eugenie of York None
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex 10 March 1964 19 June 1999 Sophie Rhys-Jones Lady Louise Windsor None
James, Viscount Severn None


In 1993, scientists were able to confirm the identity of the remains of several members of Empress Alexandra of Russia's family, more than seventy years after their massacre in 1918, by comparing their mitochondrial DNA to living matrilineal relatives, including Prince Philip, her maternal grandnephew. Philip, Alexandra and her children are all descended from Princess Alice of the United Kingdom, the daughter of Queen Victoria, through a purely female line.[140]

Portrayals in film and literature

Philip has been portrayed by several actors including Stewart Granger (The Royal Romance of Charles and Diana, 1982), Christopher Lee (Charles & Diana: A Royal Love Story, 1982), David Threlfall (The Queen's Sister, 2005), James Cromwell (The Queen, 2006), In The Crown (2016 onwards), he has been portrayed by Matt Smith and Finn Elliot and he will be played by Tobias Menzies in future episodes.[142]

Prince Philip appears as a fictional character in Nevil Shute's novel In the Wet (1952), Paul Gallico's novel Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Moscow, Tom Clancy's novel Patriot Games, and Sue Townsend's novel The Queen and I.[143] A fictionalised Philip (in his capacity as a World War II naval officer) is also a minor character in John Birmingham's Axis of Time series of alternate history novels.


  • Selected Speeches – 1948–55 (1957, revised paperback edition published by Nabu Press in 2011) ISBN 978-1245671330
  • Selected Speeches – 1956–59 (1960)
  • Birds from Britannia (1962) (published in the United States as Seabirds from Southern Waters) ISBN 978-1163699294
  • Wildlife Crisis with James Fisher (1970) ISBN 978-0402125112
  • The Environmental Revolution: Speeches on Conservation, 1962–1977 (1978) ISBN 978-0846414537
  • Competition Carriage Driving (1982) (published in France 1984, second edition 1984, revised edition 1994) ISBN 978-0851315942
  • A Question of Balance (1982) ISBN 978-0859550871
  • Men, Machines and Sacred Cows (1984) ISBN 978-0241111741
  • A Windsor Correspondence with Michael Mann (1984) ISBN 978-0859551083
  • Down to Earth: Collected Writings and Speeches on Man and the Natural World 1961–87 (1988) (paperback edition 1989, Japanese edition 1992) ISBN 978-0828907118
  • Survival or Extinction: A Christian Attitude to the Environment with Michael Mann (1989) ISBN 978-0859551588
  • Driving and Judging Dressage (1996) ISBN 978-0851316666
  • 30 Years On, and Off, the Box Seat (2004) ISBN 978-0851318981

Forewords to:

  • Royal Australian Navy 1911–1961 Jubilee Souvenir issued by authority of the Department of the Navy, Canberra (1961)
  • The Concise British Flora in Colour by William Keble Martin, Ebury Press/ Michael Joseph (1965)
  • Kurt Hahn by Hermann Röhrs and Hilary Tunstall-Behrens (1970)
  • The Art of Driving by Max Pape (1982) ISBN 9780851313399
  • National Maritime Museum Guide to Maritime Britain by Keith Wheatley, (2000)
  • The Royal Yacht Britannia: The Official History by Richard Johnstone-Bryden, Conway Maritime Press (2003) ISBN 978-0851779379
  • 1953: The Crowning Year of Sport by Jonathan Rice, (2003)
  • British Flags and Emblems by Graham Bartram, Tuckwell Press (2004) ISBN 978-1862322974
  • Chariots of War by Robert Hobson, Ulric Publication (2004) ISBN 978-0954199715
  • RMS Queen Mary 2 Manual: An Insight into the Design, Construction and Operation of the World's Largest Ocean Liner by Stephen Payne, Haynes Publishing (2014)
  • The Triumph of a Great Tradition: The Story of Cunard's 175 Years by Eric Flounders and Michael Gallagher, Lily Publications (2014)


  1. He was born on 10 June 1921 according to the Gregorian calendar. Until 1 March 1923, Greece used the Julian calendar, in which the date is 28 May 1921
  2. The amount was set by the Civil List (Increase of Financial Provision) Order 1990. It was initially set at £40,000 in the Civil List Act 1952, raised to £65,000 by the Civil List Act 1972, and raised to £165,000 by the Civil List (Increase of Financial Provision) Order 1984.


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  3. Yvonne's Royalty Home Page – Royal Christenings
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  5. "News in Brief: Prince Andrew's Departure", The Times: 12, 5 December 1922
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  7. 7.0 7.1 Rocco, Fiammetta (13 December 1992). "A strange life: Profile of Prince Philip". The Independent. London. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Boothroyd, Basil (1971). Prince Philip: An Informal Biography (First American ed.). New York: McCall Publishing Company. ISBN 0841501165.
  9. Alexandra, p. 42; Heald, p. 34. Fellow pupils at the school included Princess Anne of Bourbon, who later married King Michael of Romania.
  10. Heald, pp. 35–39
  11. Brandreth, p. 66; Vickers, p. 205
  12. 12.0 12.1 Eade, Philip (2011). Prince Philip: The Turbulent Early Life of the Man Who Married Queen Elizabeth II (Kindle ed.). Henry Holt. ISBN 9781429961684.
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  14. Prince Philip quoted in Brandreth, p. 72
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  20. Heald, p. 60
  21. "No. 35455". The London Gazette. 13 February 1942. p. 715.
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  33. The Times, 10 July 1947, p. 4
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  38. "Queen celebrates diamond wedding". BBC News. 19 November 2007. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
  39. Rayner, Gordon (19 November 2012). "Queen and Duke of Edinburgh celebrate 65th wedding anniversary". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
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  44. "No. 39597". The London Gazette. 15 July 1952. p. 3821.
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  48. "Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, reaches 60 years as a member of the Craft". Freemasonry Today. 5 September 2013.
  49. Brandreth, pp. 253–254
  50. "Supplement to The London Gazette of Friday, 5th February 1960". The London Gazette. 8 February 1960.
  51. Travis, Alan (18 February 1999). "Queen feared 'slur' on family", The Guardian. Retrieved 17 April 2014
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  53. "Love and Majesty". Vanity Fair. January 2012.
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  55. Brandreth, p. 259
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  62. Brandreth, p. 288
  63. 63.0 63.1 "No. 41009". The London Gazette. 22 February 1957. p. 1209.
  64. Bousfield, Arthur; Toffoli, Gary (2002), Fifty Years the Queen, Toronto: Dundurn Press, p. 12, ISBN 1-55002-360-8
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  67. "Prince William succeeds the Duke of Edinburgh as he gives up royal role". Daily Express. 9 April 2013. Retrieved 7 December 2016.
  68. "Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Talks Love of and Involvement in Combined Driving". US Equestrian. US Equestrian Communications Department. Archived from the original on 12 December 2017. Retrieved 12 December 2017. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  69. The Duke of Edinburgh: Activities and interests, Official website of the British Monarchy, archived from the original on 6 November 2011, retrieved 19 October 2011 Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  70. "Our Chief Executive thanks Prince Philip for his commitment as Patron". News Archive. British Heart Foundation. Archived from the original on 30 December 2017. Retrieved 30 December 2017. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  71. Brandreth, p. 344; Lacey, p. 276
  72. Brandreth, p. 346; Lacey, pp. 277–278
  73. Brandreth, pp. 348–349
  74. Brandreth, pp. 349–351
  75. Brandreth, pp. 351–353
  76. 76.0 76.1 76.2 Brandreth, p. 358
  77. 77.0 77.1 77.2 Brandreth, p. 359
  78. "Duke 'did not order Diana death'". BBC News. 31 March 2008. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  79. "Royal Public Finances" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 February 2014. Retrieved 7 August 2014. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  80. "Living off the State, A critical guide to UK Royal Finance", Jon Temple, 2nd edition 2012
  81. "Sovereign grant Act 2011: Tax". Retrieved 7 August 2014.
  82. "Prince Philip reaches milestone". BBC News. 18 April 2009. Retrieved 7 June 2013.
  83. Duke of Edinburgh is in hospital, BBC News, 4 April 2008, retrieved 12 October 2008
  84. Prince discharged from hospital, BBC News, 6 April 2008, retrieved 12 October 2008
  85. Statement From Buckingham Palace Following the Evening Standard's Story Entitled 'Prince Philip Defies Cancer Scare', Buckingham Palace, 6 August 2008, archived from the original on 2 December 2010, retrieved 20 April 2010 Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  86. British Paper Retracts Story Claiming Prince Philip Has Prostate Cancer, Fox News, 8 August 2008
  87. "Paper apologises for Prince Philip story", The Sydney Morning Herald, 8 August 2008
  88. Prince Philip turns 90 and vows to 'slow down', BBC News, 10 June 2011, retrieved 11 June 2011
  89. "New title for Duke of Edinburgh as he turns 90". BBC News. 10 June 2011. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
  90. Peter Hunt (24 December 2011), Prince Philip has heart procedure at Papworth Hospital, BBC News, retrieved 24 December 2011
  91. Duke of Edinburgh leaves hospital, BBC News, 27 December 2011, retrieved 27 December 2011
  92. "Duke of Edinburgh hospitalised". ITN. 4 June 2012. Retrieved 5 June 2012.[dead link]
  93. "Prince Philip in hospital and to miss Diamond Jubilee concert". BBC News. 4 June 2012. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  94. "Britain's Prince Philip released from hospital in time for his birthday". CNN. 9 June 2012.
  95. "Prince Philip leaves Aberdeen hospital after five nights". BBC News. 20 August 2012.
  96. "Prince Philip leaves hospital, will recuperate at Windsor Castle". CNN. 17 June 2013. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
  97. "Duke of Edinburgh has 'minor procedure' on hand". BBC News. 21 May 2014. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
  98. Furness, Hannah (21 June 2017). "Prince Philip admitted to hospital with infection and misses State Opening of Parliament". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
  99. Davies, Caroline (21 June 2017). "Prince Philip to spend second night in hospital". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
  100. Mackintosh, Eliza (22 June 2017). "UK's Prince Philip discharged from hospital after treatment for infection". CNN. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
  101. "Prince Philip carries out final royal engagement before retirement". Sky News. 2 August 2017.
  102. "Prince Philip carries out final official engagement". BBC News. 2 August 2017.
  103. "Queen and Prince Philip portraits released to mark 70th anniversary". The Guardian. 20 November 2017. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
  104. "Duke of Edinburgh leaves hospital". BBC News. 13 April 2018. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  105. Lacey, p. 368
  106. Heald, pp. 212–214
  107. Heald, pp. 148–149
  108. Monarchy, British. "The Royal Air Force". Official website of the British Monarchy. Archived from the original on 17 June 2013. Retrieved 6 May 2013. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  109. Sparkes, Matthew (22 April 2014). "Royal couples' grandparents' jet-age meeting". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  110. Tominey, Camilla (14 February 2016). "Truth behind Prince George's love of aviation". Daily Express. UK. Retrieved 19 February 2015. It (the photograph) shows the Duchess of Cambridge's grandfather, Captain Peter Middleton, with Prince Philip in 1962...
  111. Heald, p. 253
  112. Goodwin, Christopher (18 January 2009). "I'm tickled to death. I never thought I'd see such a thing". The Guardian. London.
  113. "Prince Philip at 90 on a lifetime of speaking his mind". BBC News. Retrieved 22 April 2016.
  114. Caught on tape: Infamous gaffes, BBC News, 19 September 2006, retrieved 12 October 2008
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  116. AM – Prince Philip reminded of blunders on his 85th birthday, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, retrieved 12 October 2008
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  118. Duggan, Paul, "Prince Philip Has a Mouthful Of a Title. And, Often, His Foot", The Washington Post, retrieved 12 October 2008
  119. Dolby, Karen The Wicked Wit of Queen Elizabeth II, Michael O'Mara Books, London 2015, p44
  120. Prince Philip quoted in Brandreth, p. 7
  121. Starkey, speaking on BBC News Radio Four, 10 June 2011
  122. Brandreth, p. 46
  123. Letter of 4 June 1999 quoted in Brandreth, p. 46
  124. Leach, By Ben. "Duke of Edinburgh gaffes by mocking blind boy". The Telegraph. Retrieved 22 April 2016.
  125. Heald, pp. 244–245; Lacey, p. 303
  126. Lacey, p. 304; see also Heald, p. 245 for a Hong Kong version of the "round-eyed" joke.
  127. Heald, p. 246; Lacey, p. 304
  128. Debrett's: section on everyday Etiquette: royalty
  129. Squires, Nick (10 June 2007), Is Prince Philip an island god?, London, UK: BBC News, retrieved 12 October 2008
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  131. Heald, pp. 264–267
  132. Brandreth, pp. 407–408; Heald, pp. 264–267
  133. "The Duke of York is appointed Colonel of the Grenadier Guards". Royal Household. 1 December 2017.
  134. "The Duke of Edinburgh appointed Lord High Admiral". 10 June 2011. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  135. Office of the Prime Minister of Canada (10 June 2011). "PM announces the appointment of His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh to the highest ranks of the Canadian Armed Forces". Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
  136. Furness, Hannah (20 November 2017). "Queen grants new honour to Prince Philip for 70th wedding anniversary". The Telegraph. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  137. 137.0 137.1 Boutell's Heraldry. (1973) ISBN 0-7232-1708-4.
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  140. Gill, Peter; Ivanov, Pavel L.; Kimpton, Colin; Piercy, Romelle; Benson, Nicola; Tully, Gillian; Evett, Ian; Hagelberg, Erika; Sullivan, Kevin (February 1994). "Identification of the remains of the Romanov family by DNA analysis". Nature Genetics. 6 (2): 130–135. doi:10.1038/ng0294-130. PMID 8162066.
  141. Louda, Jiří; Maclagan, Michael (1999) [1981]. Lines of Succession: Heraldry of the Royal Families of Europe (2nd ed.). London: Little, Brown. p. 34. ISBN 978-0-316-84820-6.
  142. "The Crown: Tobias Menzies cast as new Prince Philip". BBC. 29 March 2018. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  143. Cassidy, Suzanne (25 December 1993). "The British Novelist Who Turned A Class System Upside Down". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 September 2015.


External links

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Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Born: 10 June 1921
British royalty
Preceded by

as queen consort
Consort of the British monarch
6 February 1952 – present
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Duke of Edinburgh
The Prince of Wales
Academic offices
Preceded by
Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh
Succeeded by
New institution Chancellor of the University of Salford
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Chancellor of the University of Cambridge
Succeeded by
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Grand Master of the Order of the British Empire
24 March 1953 – present
Preceded by
Air Commodore-in-Chief of the Air Training Corps
Succeeded by
Military offices
Preceded by
Lord High Admiral
10 June 2011 – present
Lines of succession
Preceded by
Line of succession to the British throne
(descended from Alice, daughter of Queen Victoria)
Succeeded by
Order of precedence
Preceded by
Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom Followed by
The Prince of Wales,
Duke of Rothesay

Template:Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

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