‘Prince Philip: The Plot to Make a King’
(DVD / NR / 2016 / PBS)
Overview: For the first time the inside story of the fierce dynastic tensions that were unleashed when the Queen fell in love with Prince Philip. Revealing the complexities and frustrations of the Royal marriage as the Queen struggled to reconcile the love of her husband with the suspicions of her family and her government.
DVD Verdict: If you know nothing about Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh before this PBS documentary, other than he is the husband of Queen Elizabeth II and that he is the longest-serving consort of a reigning British monarch and the oldest-ever male member of the British royal family, your knowledge will most definitely have multiplied on the highest of levels.
Along the way in this 60 minute documentary, we learn that being a member of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, Philip was born into the Greek and Danish royal families. He was born in Greece but his family was exiled from the country when he was still an infant. After being educated in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, he joined the Royal Navy in 1939, at the age of 18. From July 1939, he began corresponding with the 13-year-old Princess Elizabeth (his third cousin through Queen Victoria and second cousin once removed through Christian IX of Denmark), whom he had first met in 1934. During World War II he served with the Mediterranean and Pacific fleets.
After the war, Philip was granted permission by George VI to marry Elizabeth. Before the official announcement of their engagement, he abandoned his Greek and Danish royal titles and became a naturalised British subject, adopting the surname Mountbatten from his maternal grandparents. After an engagement of five months, he married Elizabeth on 20 November 1947. Just before the wedding, the King granted him the style of His Royal Highness and the title Duke of Edinburgh. Philip left active military service when Elizabeth became Queen in 1952, having reached the rank of commander. His wife made him a prince of the United Kingdom in 1957.
Philip has four children with Elizabeth: Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward. He has eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Through a British Order in Council issued in 1960, descendants of Philip and Elizabeth not bearing royal styles and titles can use the surname Mountbatten-Windsor, which has also been used by some members of the royal family who do hold titles, such as Charles and Anne.
Revealing other complexities and frustrations of the Royal marriage as the Queen struggled to reconcile the love of her husband with the suspicions of her family and her government, Philip’s German links proved to always be a source of frowning for Her Majesty. I mean, did you know that Philip would eventually become an SS Colonel, and the head of one of the Nazi intelligence agencies? No, nor did I. So, go out and buy this PBS DVD today and catch up on one of the most intriguing documentaries that I have seen in the past decade - or two! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.