Prince Philip Revealed (Also titled Prince Philip: A Biography) by Ingrid Seward

It’s been a few weeks since I reviewed a book about the British royal family, and I’m writing this when season 4 of Netflix’s The Crown has just premiered. Have no fear, it’s time for another one! Prince Philip Revealed (Amazon) (AbeBooks) was released in November and is supposedly the most comprehensive biography of the Duke of Edinburgh’s life.

From the publisher:

“The son of Greek and Danish royalty, consort to the queen, and the grandfather of Princes Harry and William, Prince Philip has been at the heart of the royal family for decades—yet he remains an enigma to many.

Now, Ingrid Seward, the editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine, brings her decades of experience covering the royal family to this fascinating and insightful biography of Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, and father, grandfather, and great-grandfather of the next three kings of England. From his early childhood in Paris among aristocrats and his mother’s battle with schizophrenia to his distinctive military service during World War II and marriage to Elizabeth in 1947, Seward chronicles Philip’s life and reveals his many faces—as a father, a philanthropist, a philanderer, and a statesman. Though it would take years for Philip to find his place in a royal court that initially distrusted him, he remains one of the most complex, powerful, yet confounding members of Britain’s royal family.”

Prince Philip Revealed (Amazon) (AbeBooks) is an interesting and informative book about the man who always has to stay two steps behind his wife. The book gives much insight into the early life of Philip. His ancestry can be tied to the Danish and Russian royal families, and his family was installed as Greek royalty. His early life was settled in Paris until the age of 8, when he was sent to boarding school in Great Britain.

Philip’s early life and family connections were explored. His father was forced into exile, his mother had mental health problems and was almost deaf since birth, his older sisters all married German men, some of whom ranked rather high in the Nazi hierarchy. But Philip, being mostly raised in England, wanted to become an English citizen.

Philip was a revelation to the British royal family when he started spending time with them. Young Princess Elizabeth claims to have fallen in love with him when she was 13, and that love only deepened as they corresponded when she got older and he was stationed on a British naval ship during World War II. King George was not too keen on Philip because of his family situation, but the Queen Mother seemed to have no problems while Elizabeth and Philip were courting. She’d have problems with him later on, though.

Fiercely ambitious, Philip thought he’d have years in the royal navy and had just been given command of the ship Magpie when King George fell ill and he and Princess Elizabeth had to take on more royal duties. In Prince Philip Revealed, the Duke of Edinburgh, as he’s also known, is shown as someone who modernized the monarchy when his wife rose to position of Queen.

One thing’s for sure: Philip was a bit of a jerk of a father to Charles, doted on Anne, let Andrew run wild, and bonded with Edward. He is shown to have made mistakes, as all of us do, in the raising of his children. His relationship with them as adults is much better, but it took a long time to get there.

Philip has worked tirelessly for too many causes to count, and has always supported the queen in her duties. But he’s a bit prickly and has been shown time and time again how rude or politically incorrect he’s been. And it hasn’t gotten better with age, either.

The weird thing about Prince Philip Revealed (Amazon) (AbeBooks) is that it started out as a chronological book of the Duke’s life, then about the mid-1980s, the book turns to a thematic approach. There were times when my eyes glazed over discussing cricket or polo or shooting or carriage driving because they hold no personal interest to me and the stories were rather repetitive.

The author of Prince Philip Revealed (Amazon) (AbeBooks) doesn’t believe any of the extramarital rumors that have surfaced on rare occasion, nor does she believe the stories of wild parties at various residences when Philip was hanging out with his men friends and the Queen was away.

Prince Philip Revealed (Amazon) (AbeBooks) is clearly pro-monarchy, but tries its best to be a balanced portrait of a man who has lived close to a century, been married more than 70 years, and supported Queen Elizabeth in her duties since 1952.

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