On the eve of his 90th Birthday, HRH Prince Philip has spoken of his sadness at having to prematurely end his navy career. In 1947 he married the then Princess Elizabeth, not knowing that he would have to sacrifice his own career to focus on the supervision of his children's governesses and any other young female staff in the Royal Household he could lay his hands on.
Philip's early naval career was exemplary. He served with distinction in the Kaiser's Navy and saw action aboard the German pocket battleships Tirpitz, Graf Spee, Scharnhorst, Admiral Scheer and Deutschland. Of course, in those days he was known simply as Midshipman Stavros Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksberg.
By 1944, however, having realised that he was on the losing side, the young Greek renounced his German roots and transferred to the Royal Navy, where he was given the rank of Commander. He also took the moniker of Philip Mountbatten. He cut a dashing figure on the London society scene and soon caught the eye of the young Elizabeth. The rest, as we know, is history.
Philip had a tear in his eye when he described his decision to end his naval career", saying "It was really a choice between an endless stream of cabin boys, or the delights of the English roses who were the children's governesses. Not a hard choice for some, but a man soon gets used to the comforts available to him".
Philip recounted how his son, Prince Charles, had also agonised over giving up on his naval career. He, however, had sought solace amongst the footmen of the Royal Household.
Philip will celebrate his 90th birthday on the 10th of June this year, unless a bloke in a black gown and carrying a scythe comes knocking first.