Prince Philip, who announced on Thursday he was stepping back from public life, has been Queen Elizabeth II’s loyal consort for almost 70 years, but has often hit the headlines for his salty off-the-cuff comments.
The 95-year-old has attended countless British and foreign engagements, as well as being patron or president of almost 800 organisations.
Officially known as the Duke of Edinburgh, the gaffe-prone former Royal Navy officer has often been in the news for the wrong reasons. But the queen emphasised his importance in a 1997 speech marking their golden wedding anniversary, saying he “has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years”.
Observers said he was the glue that held the royal family together during a series of divorces by three of his four offspring. The late Princess Diana addressed him as “Dearest Pa” in letters in which he offered solace over her deteriorating marriage to Prince Charles.
Philip met the then Princess Elizabeth just before the World War II, and they exchanged letters while he served with the Royal Navy. After their marriage in 1947, they spent time in Malta, where he was posted — only for their lives to be changed overnight by the premature death of her father, king George VI, in 1952.
He once admitted the curtailment of his career was “disappointing”, but said that “being married to the queen, it seemed to me that my first duty was to serve her in the best way I could”....