Pilot Profile: Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Pilot Profile: Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

By on Feb 16th 2018

Born in Greece, Prince Philip has gone through a lot in life-to say the least-and has a truly remarkable story. 

He is the oldest living great-great-grandchild of Queen Victoria, the oldest-ever member of the British royal family, the longest-serving consort of a reigning British monarch, and a retired pilot (among many other things).

The early years of the Duke of Edinburgh

When he was just a child, his family was exiled from Greece after the war with Turkey. He and his family traveled to different countries for some time, then his parents split, and his mother was put in psychiatric care.

In moving around the world, he earned parts of his education in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom before he joined the Royal Navy when he was 18 years old.

He became a prominent figure in the Navy and was a war hero. He served with both the Mediterranean and Pacific fleets during WWII.

He married the future Queen of England in 1947 and left active military service in 1952 when she became the queen. Before their marriage, he had abandoned his Greek and Danish royal titles to become a naturalised British subject. He adopted his maternal grandparents' surname, Mountbatten.

Becoming a pilot: a goal becomes reality

If you've watched The Crown at all, you know that the Prince had a hankering for getting up in the air, and the show didn't make that up. Prince Philip received his first flying lesson in 1952 and his instructor was Flight-Lieutenant Caryl Ramsay Gordon. They flew in a De Havilland Chipmunk, but he switched to flying the North American Harvard after some time.

He received his Royal Air Force wings the following year with the rank of Marshal and his Harvard aircraft had five stars signifying his RAF rank. 

Before earning his Private Pilot's License in 1959, he gained his helicopter wings with the Royal Navy in 1956. He was the first Royal family member to ever fly out of Buckingham Palace Garden in a helicopter. He served as the Grand Master of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators from 1952 until 2002.

His flying career lasted 44 years. In that time he'd flown 59 types of aircraft and logged over 5,000 pilot hours. He stopped flying in August of 1997.

This post only touches on very few of the Prince's accomplishments over the years. He's led a truly amazing and inspiring life!


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