Early life and education

Born on the Greek island of Corfu on 10 June 1921, The Duke of Edinburgh was named Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark. His Royal Highness's early life has often been described as turbulent and he spent much of his younger years moving from home to home.

His Royal Highness was the only son of Prince Andrew of Greece, who was the younger brother of King Constantine I of Greece. His paternal family is of Danish descent, as Prince Andrew was the grandson of King Christian IX of Denmark. 

His mother was Princess Alice of Battenberg, the eldest child of Prince Louis of Battenberg and sister of Earl Mountbatten of Burma. Prince Louis became a naturalised British subject in 1868, joined the Royal Navy and rose to become an Admiral of the Fleet and First Sea Lord in 1914. 

During the First World War, Prince Louis changed the family name to Mountbatten and was created Marquess of Milford Haven.

Prince Philip adopted the family name of Mountbatten when he became a naturalised British subject and renounced his Greek and Danish Royal title in 1947. 

Prince Philip had four older sisters - Princess Margarita was born in 1905, Princess Theodora who was born in 1906, Princess Cécile who was born in 1911, and Princess Sophie, born in 1914.

In the early 1920s Greece was politically unstable and in 1922 the King of Greece, Constantine I, was forced to abdicate the throne. Prince Andrew was court-martialled and imprisoned but was pardoned on condition of perpetual banishment.

King George V ordered that a Royal Navy ship should evacuate the family from Corfu, and Philip was carried to safety in a cot made from an orange box in December 1922. He was just 18 months old. 

The family settled in Paris, first in the Bois de Boulogne, then in the St-Cloud district. 


Prince Philip started school in France but went to England to attend Cheam Preparatory School, Surrey in 1928.

He left at the age of 12 to spend a year at Salem School in southern Germany, run by the famous educationalist, Kurt Hahn.

His Royal Highness then went to the newly-opened Gordonstoun School in Morayshire (which all three of his own sons also attended), also founded by Kurt Hahn, who had moved to Scotland after being arrested by the Nazis for speaking out against their regime. At the start of his education at Gordonstoun, he was one of only 21 boys at the school. 

Prince Philip became Head of the School and Captain of Hockey and Cricket during his time at Gordonstoun. He also took part in sailing expeditions around the coast of Scotland and to Norway.