Corsham: The place where Prince Philip's life changed forever

  • Watch Caron Bell's report.

Throughout his 99 years, Prince Philip lived in many places and travelled through many countries.

But it was during his time stationed in the Wiltshire town of Corsham that he chose his most significant path in life; to marry the then Princess Elizabeth.

In 1947 Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten was stationed at HMS Royal Arthur in Corsham, helping to train fellow Royal Navy officers.

The 26-year-old had already proved himself in the Second World War, mentioned in dispatches for his actions at the decisive Battle of Cape Matapan in 1941.

Prince Philip's first-ever royal engagement was in Corsham. Credit: Pathé

When off duty, Lieutenant Mountbatten liked to take his red MG sports car for a spin round the country lanes. He was also partial to a game of skittles in Corsham's Methuen Arms.

Handsome, clever, and well-connected, the stage was set for a glittering naval career and a lifetime of freedom and adventure.

But while in Corsham, the young Philip would make a decision that would change his life forever. On 9 July 1947, his engagement to HRH The Princess Elizabeth was announced.

In marrying the heiress to the throne, Philip was signing away his freedom and, in the long-term, his naval career.

Instead he would take his place on the global stage, in the world's most famous family.In a taste of what now lay ahead, Prince Philip's first-ever royal engagement was in Corsham.

On 1 November 1947 - three weeks before his wedding - he opened the memorial wall and garden of remembrance on Station Road. It was the start of seven decades of dedicated royal service.

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