A Life Well Lived

Philip Mountbatten was a man’s man and a gentleman’s gent. During 73 years of marriage to the Queen, he never wavered in his role as prince consort, and complained even less. He was authentically himself and shunned the spotlight of Royal favor upon his modestly attained, yet significant achievements. Such was his Duke’s duty, which he performed with humble grace as a model to all. Influenced by his un-coddled school days at Gordonstoun, he challenged young people to explore adventure outside of the classroom and to vigorously support their communities by example, and not just academic rhetoric. A Royal Naval Officer and an avid sailor, he was often seen competing during England’s Cowes Week where he participated in several one design regattas, including the Dragon class. When I was a crew member on the U.S. Admiral’s Cup team competing at Cowes, I recall a story that perfectly captured the Prince’s wry and subtle wit: on a close-hauled course in a rough Solent sea, Prince Phillip’s boat had tacked perhaps too close to another competitor and that skipper yelled across to Phillip, “You’re tacking in my water, Sir.” To which the Duke of Edinburgh, tiller-in-hand, stood up and hailed back: “WHO’s water?!”

Prince Philip with Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex.

Born into a modest tier of Greek royalty, he never fully bought into the pomp and often foppish ways of Royal protocol. Yet, he more than honored his oath sworn duty—to The Crown and to The Queen, the later often calling the Prince “her strength and her stay.” Exhibiting both the devotion he shared for the monarch, plus the drollness of his humor, he was once asked if during their long marriage he’d ever harbored second thoughts about marrying the future Queen of England. Phillip dryly replied: “Divorce? Never!” and then, after a momentary pause: “Murder? Often!”