Philip, Prince of Greece by John Carr, Constantinos Lagos

Philip, Prince of Greece by John Carr, Constantinos Lagos* has the subtitle The Duke of Edinburgh’s Early Life and the Greek Succession. Today would have been Prince Philip’s 100th birthday and so I mark this occasion by sharing my thoughts on this book, published very recently.

As the name suggests, this book is about Philip as Prince of Greece, thus before his marriage when he renounced his title. His later life is barely mentioned and the focus is on his youth and the Greek succession. It was hard to put a rating on this book because it is a bit unusual. It is a mix of Greek history, quite detailed, and snippets of Philip’s life as a child. As I feel I learned from it and it is nicely written, I’ve decided to give it 5 stars.

Philip, Prince of Greece by John Carr, Constantinos Lagos

The history part of the book seemed at times a bit too much, but it was interesting to read and I’ve enjoyed it. I would have liked a bit more on Prince Philip, but I imagine there aren’t as many sources about him as a child and teenager when compared to how many are for him as an adult.

His story is so sad, as a child without a home, in exile. There are some funny quotes, like what he said about the Nazi salute. Philip said, when asked about this childhood: “The family broke up… I just had to get on with it. You do. One does.”

It was very interesting to read about his life in exile, as a Greek Prince who could have inherited the crown. In 1935 the Greek restored the monarchy, which was in place until 1973. He was among the favourite to inherit, which is not something I knew before reading the book.

Prince Philip’s involvement in the Royal Navy during the war is also described. He was in neutral Greece, but decided to come back to England at the start of the war and get involved in the fight against Nazi Germany. His mother, Princess Alice, was involved in helping thousands of children during WWII; that is mentioned too, at the end of the book. Her sacrifice and the risks she assumed in the war were much more than I would have expected. She was declared Righteous Among the Nations by the Yad Vashem in 1993.

Philip, Prince of Greece by John Carr, Constantinos Lagos

Details about the picture: –
My rating: 5/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes
Published by: Pen & Sword
Year it was published: 2021
Format: Hardcover
Genre(s): European history
Pages: 288

About the author: Constantinos Lagos holds a BA in History from Athens University and an MA and PhD in Ancient History from Durham University, UK. Since 2014 he has been a member of the international archaeological team excavating the ancient city of Tenea in Greece.
John Carr is a retired journalist living in Athens. Now an established historian, his many previous books include The Defence and Fall of Greece 1940-41 and Mussolini’s Defeat at Hill 731, March 1941.
Website & Social Media Links: Pen and Sword

*I was sent a copy of Philip, Prince of Greece by John Carr, Constantinos Lagos for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

6 thoughts on “Philip, Prince of Greece by John Carr, Constantinos Lagos”

  • I have a feeling his Greek heritage was very much downplayed in Britain for many years, and of course his accent and manner made him seem like the typical Englishman, so that I feel we’ve all learned a lot about him since his death. I’ve always had a soft spot for him – even his occasional gaffes just made him seem more real than some of the older Royals.

    • Even more, sometimes the gaffes were not as “gaffy” when they were said, but things changed in time, thankfully.

  • There were so many programmes about Prince Philip when his death was announced, that I learned more from them than I had ever known before when he was alive. Like yourself, I still didn’t realise that he had actually renounced any claim he may have had to the Greek Crown. Like him or loathe him, he remained throughout his marriage to The Queen, a stalwart defender of the country and a devoted partner to Her Majesty. This sounds like a really interesting book and I quite like the references to Greek history as well. Thanks for sharing, sorry I haven’t been in touch for so long and I hope that you enjoy the weekend! 🙂

    • It was very interesting because it was focused on his early life, as a child and in the navy, when more is talked about his life as a consort. It’s quite incredible how many things happened in the last 100 years.

      Happy weekend xx

  • What an appropriate date for you to post this review! I know very little about Prince Philip other than what was shared in the media at the time of his death. It sounds like he had a very interesting, if not sad, early life.
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    • You are right, his life was both very interesting and very sad too. The situation in Greece was interesting too and they, luckily, they had support from the Brits and US too.

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