The Duke's distinguished naval career and his connections to the south coast

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Before he married into the Royal family, the Duke of Edinburgh had a distinguished Naval career.

He joined the Navy at the age of 18. And almost 80 years later his last official solo public event before retirement was with the Royal Marines.  

Aug 2017

Prince Philip retired from public service

The Duke maintained his links to the senior service throughout his life and was described as a naval officer through and through. 

  • Admiral Sir Jonathon Band, First Sea Lord 2006-09

The Queen formally presented the Duke of Edinburgh with the title and office of Lord High Admiral of the Navy to mark his 90th birthday. It was a special gift, since the title is usually held by the monarch herself.

The Duke's links to the navy went back to 1939 when at the age of 18 he went to Britannia Royal Naval College at Dartmouth where he met his future wife for the first time. 

The Duke attended Britannia Royal Naval College at Dartmouth where he met his future wife for the first time

Following service in the Mediterranean and Pacific during the second world war the couple married, and for a time they lived in Malta where he was based.

His naval career ended in 1952 when she became Queen. Some say he regretted leaving the navy and struggled with his new role. But his years in the navy stayed with him.

1952

Duke of Edinburgh's naval career ended 

The ship the Duke spent most time on was the Royal Yacht Britannia
The Royal Yacht Britannia was launched by the Queen in 1953

The ship the Duke spent most time on was the Royal Yacht Britannia which was launched by the Queen in 1953.

Some of those who served aboard saw him more than most.

  • Allan Jones, Former Royal Yachtsman, and Dennis Green, Former Royal Yachtsman

The Navy has always had connections with the Royals, hence its title the Royal Navy. And the Duke's sons also have connections. Towards the end of the century Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, and Prince Andrew, the Duke of York joined the Royal Navy.

Queen Elizabeth II, Accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh, onboard HMS BANGOR, witnessing the review flotilla man and cheer ship in 2002. Credit: PA
The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh in Portsmouth before arriving at Gunwharf Quays during her Golden Jubilee Celebrations in 2002 Credit: PA

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