At the Queen’s Side: Prince Philip Through the Years

Prince Philip, confidante and companion of more than 70 years to Queen Elizabeth, is the longest-serving consort of any British monarch.

Queen Elizabeth II's husband, Prince Philip, will stand down from royal duties later this year, British officials announced on May 4.

A month ahead of his 96th birthday, he has decided it is time for a rest.

Here's a look back at the life of the man who has stood by the queen's side for more than 70 years. 

Above: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, pose at Windsor Castle just after Easter in 2016. 

Annie Leibovitz / AFP - Getty Images

Greek Prince

Born in Corfu, Greece in 1921, Prince Philip was a member of the Greek and Danish royal families. A year later, his uncle was forced to abdicate as king, leading the family to flee to France, where this picture was taken when he was attending the MacJannet American School in the Paris suburb of St. Cloud. 


Straight Shooter

Young Prince Philip, second from left, plays with friends at the MacJannet American School in France circa 1929. 


In the Navy

In 1928, Philip moved to England to continue his education, passing through a series of boarding schools.  In 1939, he joined Britain's Royal Navy, as second in command as a destroyer of the Pacific Fleet, where he saw service in the Far East and Mediterranean. 


"Like a Viking God"

Then Princess Elizabeth and then Philip Mountbatten pose together during their engagement in July 1947.

In 1939, when Philip was a cadet at the Royal Navy College, he began exchanging letters with Princess Elizabeth, the 13-year-old heir to the British throne. Her early correspondence about Philip tell the tale of a besotted teenager. She described him as looking "like a Viking god." The two, third cousins, eventually got engaged in the summer of 1947.

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Wedding Day

Elizabeth and Philip pose with King George VI, Queen Elizabeth (the future Queen Mother) and other members of the royal family at Buckingham Palace after their wedding on Nov. 20, 1947. Philip received the title Duke of Edinburgh on the morning of the wedding.

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Young Family

Then Princess Elizabeth, stands with her husband and their children Prince Charles and Princess Anne at Clarence House, the royal couple's London residence, in August 1951.


Coronation Day

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip waves to the crowd on June 2, 1953, after she was crowned at Westminster Abbey in London.

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And Baby Makes Five

In 1960, the family was joined by a third child, Prince Andrew, who is seen here with his parents and siblings outside Balmoral Castle in Scotland. 

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A Day at the Races

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip arrive for races at Royal Ascot on June 19, 1962. 


Friend to Animals

Prince Philip, meets Kumara, a 7-month-old elephant, during a visit to Whipsnade Zoo, near London in 1967. The Duke visited the zoo in his capacity as President of the London Zoological Society.

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Friend to the Poor

Prince Philip talks to Mother Teresa in Calcutta, India, on April 26, 1973. 

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The Americans

U.S. President Ronald Reagan and first lady Nancy pose with Elizabeth and Philip at a state dinner on March 3, 1983, at the M.H. de Young Museum in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.

Ed Reinke / AP

The Daughter-in-Law

As Philip looks on, Prince Charles and Princess Diana wave from the balcony of Buckingham Palace on their wedding day on July 29, 1981.

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Sideways Glance

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip attend the Beating the Retreat ceremony on Horseguards Parade on June 13, 1996.

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Death of a Princess

From left, Prince Philip, Prince William, Earl Spencer, Prince Harry and Prince Charles walk outside Westminster Abbey during the funeral service for Diana, Princess of Wales, on Sept. 6, 1997. 

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Easy Rider

Philip rides on a mini-motorbike during the Royal Windsor Horse Show at Windsor Castle on May 13, 2005.

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In the Shadows

Britain's Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip leave the Houses of Parliament following the annual State Opening of Parliament in London on Nov. 18, 2009.

Toby Melville / Reuters

Young at Heart

Prince Phillip attends the Presentation Receptions for The Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award holders in Edinburgh on July 16, 2010. Since 1958, The Duke of Edinburgh Awards has challenged over six million young people around the world to try new things, learn more about themselves and work together for their own benefit and that of their local communities.

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Long Shadows

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip walk back into the palace after attending the annual summer garden party held at Buckingham Palace in London on June 29, 2011.

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Royal Laughter

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip laugh after bidding farewell to the Irish President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina at Windsor Castle in 2014. 

Leon Neal / Reuters

Bearskin hat

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip leave the annual Trooping the Colour ceremony at Horse Guards Parade in central London on June 14, 2014. The ceremony is the official celebration of the queen's birthday. 

Luke MacGregor / Reuters

Queen's Confidante

Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip attend the Braemar Gathering in Braemar, central Scotland in 2014. 

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Growing Family

Queen Elizabeth II and members of the royal family stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace following the traditional Trooping the Colour Ceremony in 2015.

From left: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles, Prince George, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Andrew. Boy is unidentified. 


Facundo Arrizabalaga / EPA

Joking With Granddad

Prince Harry and Prince Phillip enjoy the atmosphere during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Final match between New Zealand and Australia at Twickenham Stadium in London on Oct. 31, 2015.

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The Obamas

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip greet President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama after landing by helicopter at Windsor Castle for a private lunch on April 22, 2016. 

Jack Hill / Getty Images

Birthday Parade

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip wave to guests attending the Patron's Lunch on the Mall, an event to mark her 90th birthday, in London on June 12, 2016. 

Toby Melville / Reuters

Gentle Touch

Prince Philip feeds an elephant during a visit to Whipsnade Zoo where Queen Elizabeth opened the new Centre for Elephant Care on April 11, 2017. 

Related: Prince Philip Is Retiring. Here's Why Queen Elizabeth II Never Will.

Hannah McKay / Reuters