Who were Prince Philip's parents? Story of Prince Andrew and Princess Alice who saved Jewish family from Nazis

Prince Philip's childhood was filled with ups and downs as his mother was sent to a mental institution while his father was exiled

                            Who were Prince Philip's parents? Story of Prince Andrew and Princess Alice who saved Jewish family from Nazis
Princess Alice (L) and Prince Andrew (R) didn't have a successful marriage (Getty Images)

As Prince Philip is laid for his final rest, millions across the world are pouring in their heartfelt condolences. Husband to Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip fulfilled his duties as a royal consort, father, and the 'liege man of life and limb', as he solemnly swore on the day of the Queen's Coronation. 

Born nearly a century ago on June 10, 1921, in Corfu, Greece, the prince's early life was filled with ups and downs. When he was only an infant, his mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg was institutionalized for mental health issues, while his father, Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark, fled with his mistress. However, unknown to many, Prince Philip's mother, who became a nun later in life, helped save a Jewish family of three from the Nazis by risking her own life. 


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Princess Alice, the mother of Prince Philip (Getty Images)

Who was Prince Andrew?

Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark was the fourth son of King George I of Greece and Olga Constantinovna of Russia. By virtue of birth and patrilineal descent, he was a prince of both Greece and Denmark. 

During the First World War, the royal family of Greece, including a young Prince Andrew, was exiled. As they returned after a few years, Prince Andrew faced exile once again following his loss in the Greco-Turkish War as a major general, and spent most of his later life in France. 

Princess Alice of Battenberg (Getty Images)

In 1903, he got married to Princess Alice of Battenberg and shared five children with her. Prince Philip was the youngest of their children and their only son. Andrew was estranged from his wife and children in 1930. Four of his daughters were married to Germans, among whom three were believed to have connections with the Nazis. Prince Andrew died alone and aloof from his wife in 1944 in Monte Carlo. 

Who was Princess Alice?

Princess Alice of Battenberg was a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria, and the daughter of Prince Louis of Battenberg and Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine. She was born in Windsor Castle and grew up across Great Britain, Germany, and Malta. 

Princess Alice was deaf by birth. In 1903, following her marriage to Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark, she adopted his style and became Princess Andrew of Greece and Denmark. 

Princess Alice in her later life (Getty Images)

In 1930, the princess was diagnosed with schizophrenia and was sent to a sanatorium in Switzerland, thus separating her from her husband. Following her recovery, she devoted her life to social service and charity work in Greece. 

During the Second World War, the princess was living in Athens, when the Nazis occupied Greece. She then sheltered a Jewish widow Rachel Cohen and her two children Tilde and Michel. She risked her own life to save the Jewish family from being sent to Nazi concentration camps. 

Later in her life, Princess Alice founded the Christian Sisterhood of Martha and Mary — a Greek Orthodox nursing order of nuns, where she spent the rest of her life. She died on December 5, 1969, at the age of 84 years.

Prince Philip with his mother (Getty Images)

In 1994, Princess Alice was posthumously honored with the Righteous Among the Nations award by Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust memorial institution. While accepting the award on behalf of his mother, Prince Philip gave an emotional speech. "I suspect that it never occurred to her that her action was in any way special. She would have considered it to be a perfectly natural human reaction to fellow beings in distress," he famously said.

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