Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and consort of the Queen of England Elizabeth II, who passed away on Friday at the age of 99, has never officially visited Greece again after his father was exiled.
Philip’s refusal to visit his birthplace was always at odds with how his British subjects viewed him — after all his nick-name was “Phil the Greek.”
According to some British historians, Philip harbored not one jot of emotional attachment to the country of which he was one the prince.
“I certainly never felt nostalgic about Greece. A grandfather assassinated and a father condemned to death does not endear me to the perpetrators,” he was quoted as saying.
Philip’s father, Prince Andrew of Greece, was the fourth son of George I of the Hellenes, formerly Prince Wilhelm of Denmark, who was elected king of Greece following a protocol signed in 1863 by England, France and Russia, and who was to die from an assassin’s bullet.
Andrew’s brother, King Constantine I, was deposed by a military junta following the Greeks’ crushing defeat by the Turks in the war of Asia Minor in 1922.
Andrew was charged with treason, imprisoned, and sentenced to death before fleeing with his family to live in much reduced circumstances in Paris.
Prince Philip was spirited away from Greece hidden inside a crate of oranges. The exiled family eventually changed their surname to Mountbatten.
Royal historian Hugo Vickers believes it’s all down to the “fraught history” in the Greek monarchy, which affected the Duke of Edinburgh’s immediate family.
“Prince Philip doesn’t like Greece, because they put his father (Prince Andrew) on trial, and he might have been executed,” Vickers told BBC.
Philip’s experiences in Greece have also apparently influenced Queen Elizabeth. The Monarch has avoided making an official visit to the country.
Elizabeth has made official visits to a total of 120 countries — but has never visited Greece, which was characterized recently as a “glaring omission.”
Elizabeth did visit Greece in 1950 at the invitation of King Paul — Prince Philip’s first cousin once removed — but this was before she became Queen.
King Paul died and his son Constantine became Greece’s King.
King Constantine was ousted by Greece’s dictators in 1967 and the monarchy was abolished in 1974, when democracy was restored and Greeks voted against the return of the King in a referendum.