Prince Philip Has a Mouthful Of a Title. And, Often, His Foot.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, right, arrive in Lexington, Ky., Friday. The couple were met by William Farish, a former U.S. ambassador to Great Britain. Behind the duke's grin is a guy who likes to stir things up.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, right, arrive in Lexington, Ky., Friday. The couple were met by William Farish, a former U.S. ambassador to Great Britain. Behind the duke's grin is a guy who likes to stir things up. (By Arthur Edwards -- Associated Press)
By Paul Duggan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, May 6, 2007

As the Queen of England visits, strolling about in her lovely hats, perhaps you've noticed a slender gentleman walking just behind her, elegantly tailored in Savile Row suits. Has a military bearing still, a handsome older chap somewhat taller than Her Majesty.

Has that air of nobility, too. Thoroughly patrician.

By the looks of him, a rather reserved fellow, you'd expect -- and you'd be wrong.

That's His Royal Highness the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, soon to be 86. We don't hear much about him in the States. He's Greek royalty by birth, was exiled as a boy after a coup in Athens. A Royal Navy man. Been married to "Lilibet" since 1947, before she was crowned Elizabeth II.

"He was the first man she ever fell in love with, and the last," said biographer Robert Lacey, author of two books about the queen.

Done visiting Virginia and Kentucky, Her Majesty and the duke are to arrive in Washington tonight and make a series of public appearances tomorrow and Tuesday, their first visit to the nation's capital in 16 years.

You know Lilibet by now.

Meet Philip, her prince consort.

Rarely during her reign, since 1952, has the queen traveled abroad without him -- the duke usually walking a step behind her when the world is watching, a custom of his own invention. He's just the second man married to a British monarch in 300 years, the first since Prince Albert died in 1861, so he has had to wing it at times, figuring out ways to show deference to his wife in public.

Yes, he's quite proper in regard to the protocols.

But reserved?

Not this duke.


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