Prince Philip of England died at the age of 99

Prince Philip of England died at the age of 99

After a slow and progressive deterioration in health that forced him to withdraw from public commitments in 2017, last March he underwent heart surgery. And today, at the age of 99, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II is dead

(Photo: Wikipedia) Buckingham Palace has recently announced: the Duke of Edinburgh Philip, consort of the Queen of England, is died today, April 9, at the age of 99. Married to Elizabeth II for 73 years, the prince has seen his health slowly deteriorate in recent years. In May 2017 he officially left his public commitments, making fun of himself that he could no longer stand up, and appearing for the last time in August of that year at a Royal Navy parade in front of Buckingham Palace. In April 2018 he underwent a hip replacement, in January 2019 he caused a car accident while he was behind the wheel and shortly thereafter, in December, he was hospitalized for previous illnesses; while last February he entered the hospital again as a precaution after an illness. Heart surgery in early March, he returned to Windsor Castle on March 16.

Born in Corfu on June 10, 1921 to Andrew of Schleswig-Holstein, Prince of Greece and Denmark, and Princess Alice of Battenberg , Philip was raised in France, Germany and eventually the UK after his family was driven out of Greece following the advent of the Colonels. His mother had several mental problems and his father, with the habit of gambling, was inundated with debts. During the Second World War, while his sisters were married to German men with clear connections to the Nazi regime, he fought in the Royal British Navy distinguishing himself in operations in the Mediterranean and with the Pacific fleet.

After the war, he received permission to marry Elizabeth Windsor, heir to the throne of George VI, with whom he corresponded since 1934. Upon the official announcement of the engagement, Philip renounced the titles of Greece and Denmark and he was admitted into the British nobility with that of Duke, not without clashing with the prejudices of the English aristocracy, who called him in a derogatory way “The Hun” - the hun. The couple married on November 20, 1947 and Elizabeth II ascended the throne in 1952; in 1957 she bestowed the title of prince on her husband. Philip and Elizabeth, as is well known, had four children: the Prince of Wales Charles, Princess Anne, the Duke of York Andrew and the Earl of Wessex Edward. To date, the royal couple also has eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Defining himself as "a disgraced Balkan prince without particular merits or particularities", he actually contributed substantially to the transformation of the United Kingdom into a monarchy more modern . Although never having had the official title of Prince Consort (and therefore excluded from most of the affairs of state that touch his wife), Philip has maintained for almost all his life a dense agenda of public commitments, carving out a space as one of the most energetic and charismatic figures in the British Crown. Which at the cost of appearing, especially in the eyes of the press he hated ("damned reptiles", he once called journalists), as an all too genuine and brazen person, prone to gaffes and offensive comments. Various events regarding alleged adulteries and alcohol abuse have periodically populated the tabloid media across the Channel.

Who has seen the Netflix series The Crown, which, although fictitious, reconstructs in a plausible way the facts of the royal family and where it was played by Matt Smith and Tobias Menzies, he knows him as a stubborn and independent figure, often intolerant of the dictates of the court and his always secondary role compared to the queen, but also capable of great ingenuity and subtle diplomacy. He was credited with various initiatives to rejuvenate the monarchy and bring it closer to the people, such as the abolition of the debutante system and the opening of lunches and garden parties to people from the most varied social backgrounds. According to internal sources, Elizabeth used to often ask for the informal opinion of her husband ("What does Philip think?", It would be a recurring phrase), who claims to be responsible for some historical decisions during her reign, such as that of paying taxes starting from his own private assets or writing the famous letter suggesting divorce to the unfortunate couple Carlo and Diana.

Marksman, aircraft pilot, sailor, painter, sportsman of the most versatile but particularly talented for the pole in which he distinguished himself at an international competitive level, Filippo was passionate about outdoor activities, and at the same time cultivated a voracious curiosity for science, space and technological innovations. Despite his jovial charisma, he is also remembered for frequent racist and misogynistic, and generally politically incorrect, outings, while some reconstruct his figure, especially in recent decades, as that of a man now out of his time.

In any case, the words of a former bishop of London, reported by the Guardian, remain: "If one of those ordinary English aristocrats had married the queen, we would all be bored to death." But above all the testimony of sincere love that she dedicated to him at their golden wedding anniversary, in 1997: "Even if he does not easily accept compliments, he has been quite simply my strength for all these years and I, as well as all my his family, this country and many others, we owe a much greater debt to him than he can ever claim or we realize ".

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