Prince Philip called the Queen ‘cabbage’ and owned a ‘mobile phone’ in the 1950s
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The Duke of Edinburgh, who died on Friday at age 99, was a famous public figure, but some facts about Prince Philip were perhaps less well-documented:
- He was worshipped as a god by the people of Tanna, one of the islands in Vanuatu in the South West Pacific.
- He was a prolific writer and had 14 books published on environmental, technological, equestrian and other issues including The Environmental Revolution (1978); Men, Machines And Sacred Cows (1984); and 30 Years On And Off The Box Seat (2004).
- He was the first member of the royal family to be interviewed on television – by Richard Dimbleby in 1961 – and presented several TV documentaries.
- In 1985, he drove a coach and four across Morecombe Bay, Lancashire, as the tide was coming in, negotiating treacherous quicksands.
- Philip made 5,496 speeches between 1952 and 2017.
- He once received two pygmy hippopotamuses as a gift from Liberia's President Tubman after his state visit to Britain in 1961 and a giant porcelain grasshopper, presented by the the French President in 1972.
- His affectionate nickname for the Queen was "cabbage".
- Like the Queen, he was a great-great-grandchild of Queen Victoria. He was a direct descendant of Princess Alice, the third child of Queen Victoria, while the Queen is a direct descendant of Victoria's eldest son, Prince Albert Edward, later Edward VII.
- He was the youngest child and only son of Prince Andrew of Greece and Princess Alice of Battenberg.
- His mother, Princess Alice, founded an order of nuns. In later years, she went to live at Buckingham Palace and was said to walk around the corridors in a nun's habit, smoking Woodbines.
- He had four older sisters – Princess Margarita, Princess Theodora, Princess Cecile and Princess Sophie.
- His grandfather was a prince of Denmark who became King of Greece.
- He was related to kings of Prussia and emperors of Russia.
- He renounced his Greek royal title in 1947 and became a naturalised British subject, picking Mountbatten as his new surname – an Anglicised version of Battenberg, his mother's family name.
- The family name of the Danish royal house from which his father was descended was Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg.
- The Duke of Edinburgh had two other titles – Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich. All three were given to him in 1947 by George VI.
- He was the longest-serving consort in British history – but had no interest in taking on the title Prince Consort like Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert.
- As husband of the sovereign, he was not crowned or anointed at the Coronation ceremony in 1953.
- He was the first layman to pay homage to the Queen, kneeling at her feet before kissing her left cheek.
- Although he was a Privy Counsellor, the duke had no constitutional role.
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- He was a member of the House of Lords, but never spoke there due to his proximity to the politically-neutral Queen.
- He fulfilled 22,219 solo official engagements between 1952 and August 2 2017 when he officially retired from public duties.
- He made 637 solo overseas visits, including 229 visits to 67 Commonwealth countries, and 408 visits to 76 other countries.
- He took a hands-on approach to the organisations he represented and chaired more than 1,500 meetings.
- His official livery colour was dark green, known as "Edinburgh Green".
- He was a qualified pilot and gained his RAF wings in 1953, his helicopter wings in 1956 and his private pilot's licence in 1959.
- He notched up 5,986 hours in 59 types of aircraft. His final flight as a pilot was on August 11 1997, from Carlisle to Islay.
- He made two round-the-world voyages in the Royal Yacht Britannia.
- In deep Antarctica, he hosted a reception on board Britannia for the lonely scientists of Deception Island, which included a screening of the film Seven Brides For Seven Brothers.
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- In 1953, the duke had an early version of a mobile telephone, made by Pye Telecommunications of Cambridge, fitted to his car.
- After Cambridge University students challenged him to a tiddlywinks match, he began awarding the annual "Silver Wink" to the winner of the University Tiddlywinks Championships in 1961.
- He was previously Chancellor of the Universities of Cambridge, Edinburgh, Salford and of Wales, and was a Life Governor of King's College, London.
- He founded a bagpiping competition for the Pakistan Army in 1963.
- He enjoyed paintings in oils.
- He studied naval history.
- He had been patron or president of 785 organisations – the longest-standing association, from 1947, was with the Federation of London Youth Clubs of which he was patron.
- He was president of the Marylebone Cricket Club twice – in 1949-50 and 1974-75.
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- He was a Freeman of Acapulco, Belfast, Bridgetown, Barbados, Cardiff, Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Guadalajara, London, Los Angeles, Melbourne and Nairobi.
- He was a committed Christian with a particular interest in the relationship between faith and science.
- He was involved in money-making, from 1952 to 1999, as president of the Royal Mint Advisory Committee.
- At the Dartmouth Naval College during his military training, he won a £2 book token for being the best cadet.
- A keen sailor, he competed regularly at Cowes Regatta.
- Philip was an enthusiastic "twitcher" and became interested in birdwatching during his lengthy voyages on Britannia in the 1950s.
- He helped design the interior of the Royal Yacht.
- The duke played a key role in the restoration of Windsor Castle after the 1992 fire and served as chairman of the general Restoration Committee.
- He collected contemporary cartoons, some featuring royal occasions. They are hung in Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Sandringham and Balmoral.
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- In 1976, he was immortalised as a waxwork at Madame Tussauds.
- He was the Grand Master and First or Principal Knight of the Order of the British Empire, founded to reward the work and service of members of the general public.
- The Queen's Gallery, the public showcase for exhibitions from the Royal Collection, was built at his suggestion.
- The duke was Ranger of Windsor Great Park.
- He had his own standard. The first three quarters showed his lineage: Denmark (lions and hearts); Greece (white cross on blue); Mountbatten (two black "pales" on white). The fourth quarter contains the arms of the City of Edinburgh and represented his title.
- His coat of arms bore the motto "God is my help" as well as the motto of the Order of the Garter – "Honi soit qui mal y pense" (Shame on him who thinks this evil).
- The duke had eight grandchildren – Peter Phillips, Zara Tindall, the Duke of Cambridge, the Duke of Sussex, Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie, Lady Louise Windsor and Viscount Severn – and 10 great-grandchildren – Savannah Phillips, Isla Phillips, Prince George of Cambridge, Mia Tindall, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, Prince Louis of Cambridge, Lena Tindall, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, August Brooksbank and Lucas Tindall.
- Royal Family
- Prince Philip
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