Prince Philip heartbreak: Princess Anne opens up on father’s ‘disjointed young life’

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Prince Philip’s only daughter opened up on her father’s difficult childhood in the special issue of Country Life magazine she guest edited. In a lead article for the magazine, the Princess Royal spoke about the impact her parents’ experiences have had on their love and understanding of nature, which was eventually passed on to her. 

Focusing in particular on Prince Philip’s childhood, Princess Anne acknowledged the positive impact an education at the rural Gordonstoun school had on the Duke of Edinburgh’s.

She wrote: “I was equally fortunate that both my parents had a love and understanding of the natural world through their own experiences.

“Perhaps even more so for my father when, during his rather disjointed young life, he ended up at school at Gordonstoun and was introduced to the wilds of Scotland, both land and sea.”

Prince Philip was born on the Greek island of Corfu to Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg. 

As a member of the ruling house of Denmark, the young prince was in the line of succession to both the Danish and Greek throne.

But just a few months after his birth, Prince Philip’s uncle King Constantine I was forced to abdicate by the new military government, which arrested Prince Andrew among other members of the Greek Royal Family.

The Duke of Edinburgh was evacuated with his family and eventually transferred to France, where he attended an American school in Paris called The Elms. 

Aged seven, Philip moved to the UK, where he attended Cheam School and lived with his maternal grandmother Victoria Mountbatten.

Within only a few years, his four elder sister moved to Germany where they married four German princes, his mother Alice was placed in an asylum after being diagnosed schizophrenia and his father Prince Andrew moved to Monte Carlo.

Princess Anne took on the role of guest editor of this week’s Country Life magazine ahead of her 70th birthday on August 15. 

In her 2,000-word article, the Princess Royal outlined a series of issues, from fly-tipping to renewable energies.

Writing about the proper disposal of waste as an issue that anybody can deal with if they want to help the planet, Princess Anne described fly-tipping as a “major irritation”.

She said: “If you want to help the planet, controlling our waste is something everyone can do and it will make a difference.

“We will always produce waste, however efficient we become, so we must get better at reducing it at every stage and dealing with it better at the end. 

“That means making things such as clothes, furniture, vehicles and supermarket trolleys that can be recycled safely and economically and not dumped on someone else’s ground.

“Everything about life today seems to be about convenience and waste is seen as inconvenient; we must help make it more convenient to deal with.

“Raising the profile of the country code might help, especially as the post-coronavirus getaway to the country seems to have resulted in an increase of littering and vandalism.” 

Speaking about green energy, Anne believes solar panels and windmills may not represent the answer the country is seeking.

She said: “‘Using water better, using waste from crops, using waste from woodlands and the ability to store energy, possibly as hydrogen, can all help, but will require a more flexible grid and, therefore, the technology to make that work.

“Small nuclear reactors could have their place, but perhaps there is not the space to pursue that now.”      

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