Why Prince Philip's title wasn't king

Erica Gonzales
·2-min read

Prince Philip passed away at age 99 yesterday after decades in the public eye dedicated in service to the crown. As the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, he was the longest-serving royal consort in British history, having stood by her side for more than 70 years. In his important role, he carried the title Prince Philip — instead of King Philip — following historical precedent and royal tradition. As the world remembers him, we're also taking a deeper look at his title and its significance.

Prince Philip was a prince consort

The spouse of a ruling king or queen is called a consort. In British royalty, the wife of a king is called a queen consort, but the husband of a queen is called a prince consort, not a king consort.

Photo credit: Tim Graham - Getty Images
Photo credit: Tim Graham - Getty Images

Prince Philip was also given the titles Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, and Baron Greenwich, upon marrying the Queen in 1947.

He was not crowned during his wife Queen Elizabeth II's coronation ceremony in 1953. However, in 1957, the Queen made him an official Prince of the United Kingdom, which she declared in a new letters patent, according to Town & Country.

He was a prince of Greece

Prince Philip was born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark. He's the son of Prince Andrew, who also held the title Prince of Greece and Denmark, and Princess Alice of Battenberg. His family left their native Greece after political turmoil broke out in the country.

He adopted the family's surname, Mountbatten, when he became a naturalised British subject and renounced his royal titles to marry the then-Princess Elizabeth, the official royal website said. (The site is currently down for updates in light of Prince Philip's passing.)

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He was the fifth consort to a ruling British queen

According to the official royal family website. Consorts of previous queens were: King Philip II of Spain, husband to Mary I; William III, husband and co-sovereign to Mary II (although she was nearer to the throne as daughter of James II); Prince George of Denmark, husband of Queen Anne (he was not given a title); and Prince Albert, who became prince consort to Queen Victoria in 1857.

Photo credit: WPA Pool - Getty Images
Photo credit: WPA Pool - Getty Images

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