The Truth About Prince Philip's Military Career

Years before Prince Philip died, he expressed his desire that in addition to it not being a state funeral, it would feature reference to his military service. Cosmopolitan reported that before the COVID-19 lockdown rendered plans impossible, the design for the funeral service would have included representatives from Prince Philip's military regiments.

While some of the honorary titles he acquired during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, like five-star Admiral of the Fleet and Lord High Admiral, were probably helped by his connection to the throne, the i details that Prince Philip's naval service during World War II was carried out with distinction. He was present at the Battle of Crete, the Battle of Cape Matapan (in which, as the BBC reported, he received special mention in dispatches and later a Greek War Cross), the invasion of Sicily, and the signing of the Japanese surrender. In fact, as BBC also mentioned, his marriage to Elizabeth II hampered his military career more than it helped. 

One veteran remembered Prince Philip saving the ship

In 2003, The Guardian reported the recollections of Harry Hargreaves, specifically how Prince Philip, who was then a first lieutenant, saved the crew of their ship during the invasion of Sicily.

As the HMS Wallace drew near the island, it started receiving heavy bombardment. "It was less than five minutes after the aircraft had departed and — if the previous space in time was approximately the same — we had about 20 minutes to come up with something," Hargreaves recalled. The plan the first lieutenant devised was to assemble and launch a wooden raft with smoke floats that would issue smoke and flames upon hitting the water. The result was that when the bomber returned, it attacked the distant raft, leaving the HMS Wallace to continue towards Sicily. "Prince Philip saved our lives that night," he concluded. "I suppose there might have been a few survivors, but certainly the ship would have been sunk."