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He was never really ‘Phil the Greek’ An aggrieved monkey caused the young Prince to be exiled from his homeland

Just visiting: Prince Charles (left) the Duke of Edinburgh (centre) and Princess Anne at the Acropolis, Greece, 1964. Credit: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty

Just visiting: Prince Charles (left) the Duke of Edinburgh (centre) and Princess Anne at the Acropolis, Greece, 1964. Credit: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty


April 12, 2021   10 mins

Though most people know that Prince Philip was born in Greece and almost immediately exiled, the precise circumstances of this leaving of his native country are surprisingly obscure. How many are aware, for example, that if Ataturk had lost the 1921 Battle of the Sakarya River, outside Ankara, not only would modern Turkey not exist, but neither would Princes Charles, William and Harry? 

The existence of our future kings is the chance product of the tumult accompanying the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. It is a dramatic illustration of the Butterfly Effect, whereby random events on one corner of the European continent totally reshaped timelines on the other: indeed, we could declare the prime mover in the events that placed the Duke of Edinburgh as our Queen’s consort to be an aggrieved Greek monkey.

On 2 October, 1920, Prince Philip’s uncle, King Alexander of Greece, was taking the air in the grounds of the royal palace of Tatoi, outside Athens. His German Shepherd dog, Fritz, attacked a Barbary Macaque belonging to a member of his staff. As the King rushed to extract the screaming monkey from Fritz’s jaws, the macaque’s furious mate sunk its teeth into the king’s leg. Alexander contracted sepsis, and died just over three weeks later, throwing Greece into a succession crisis, and totally reordering the subsequent history of the Near East. As Churchill later wrote, “it is perhaps no exaggeration to remark that a quarter of a million persons died of this monkey’s bite”.

King Alexander’s septic leg, like the rest of the Greek royal family, possessed not a drop of Hellenic blood — something Prince Philip reportedly made clear to a Greek visitor to Buckingham Palace who dared to claim ethnic kinship with his host. Back when the small Balkan nation finally won its independence from the Ottoman Empire, in 1831, the European Great Powers had decided on the Bavarian Wittelsbach dynasty to rule the poor and volatile Greeks. When the Wittelsbach King Otto was forced from his throne by the revolution of 1862, the Great Powers reconvened, and chose the 17-year old Prince William of Denmark, Prince Philip’s grandfather, as Greece’s new king. As he would later instruct his children, “You must never forget that you are foreigners in this country, but you must make them [the Greeks] forget it.” 

Retaining his markedly un-Hellenic surname of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderberg-GlĂŒcksberg (to this day, the Hellenic Republic refers to his deposed descendent ex-King Constantine II as Citizen GlĂŒcksberg), Prince William adopted the regal name of George I, King of the Hellenes. 

This styling was significant: where the luckless King Otto merely styled himself King of Greece, George’s title expressed a desire to expand his little kingdom’s reach to encompass the still unliberated Greeks of the Ottoman Empire, who outnumbered the population of Greece itself. 

In this, his reign was markedly successful: first, Greece was granted the Ionian Islands, including Prince Philip’s birthplace of Corfu, as a coronation gift by Britain. Then, following the unsuccessful 1897 war against Turkey, Greece was nevertheless awarded the rich farmlands of Thessaly and Central Greece by the Great Powers. Most dramatically, under the inspired generalship of King George’s eldest son, Constantine, Greece doubled its territory by conquest in the Balkan Wars of 1912-13, winning control of the wild and ethnically-mixed Balkan provinces of Epirus, Macedonia and Western Thrace (my own great-grandfather, a Corfiot army officer, met and married my great-grandmother, a peasant girl from Epirus, while taking part in Constantine’s successful campaign). 

The Greek monarchy won unprecedented acclaim from its people following that succession of victories against the vastly superior Ottoman armies. It came as a great shock, then, when King George was gunned down during a stroll through the newly-liberated port city of Thessaloniki by a Greek, Alexandros Schinas, variously described as either a socialist or a lunatic (his subsequent fatal flight from a 30-ft window during detention unfortunately leaves his true motivation a matter of debate).

When George’s eldest son, Prince Philip’s uncle, assumed the throne as King Constantine I in 1913, it was as the victorious commander of the First Balkan War as well as Greece’s first Greek-born king. Immensely popular, Constantine won further accolades for his generalship of the Greek armies in the Second Balkan War against Bulgaria, which broke out a few short months after his accession. Annointed Conqueror of the Bulgarians, awarded the rank of Field Marshal by his premier, the liberal Cretan statesman Eleftherios Venizelos, Constantine had reached the summit of his career. 

The outbreak of World War I a year later would quite literally split Greece in two, and set in train the events that would lead Greece to catastrophe and the infant Prince Philip on his path to Britishness.

Educated in Germany, and married to Kaiser Wilhelm II’s sister Sophie of Prussia, King Constantine had no desire to lead a Greece exhausted by two years of war into a greater European conflict, regardless of Britain’s offer of Cyprus as an inducement. Venizelos, however, saw the war as an opportunity for further Greek expansion into the Balkans and Asia Minor; he intrigued with the Allies to effect Greece’s entrance into the conflict. When the premier allowed British and French forces to land in Thessaloniki to establish the Macedonian front against Entente forces, it enraged Constantine, and escalated the National Schism between liberal and monarchist elements in Greek politics to previously unimaginable heights. 

In 1916, Venizelist officers in Thessaloniki mounted a coup to commit their forces to the Allied cause; in Athens, a Franco-British landing to force the King to enter the war on the Allied side was defeated by Greek royalist volunteers. French public opinion would never forgive Constantine for the death of French marines in this brief engagement. As Churchill would later remark, Constantine became “a bugbear second only to the Kaiser himself in the eyes of the British and French people”, a fact that would have tragic repercussions for Greece.

In June 1917, following an Allied naval blockade of Greece and the seizure of the Greek Navy, the French landed troops in Thessaly and forced Constantine to abdicate the throne in favour of his son Alexander. Greece entered the war on the Allied side, fighting doggedly against German, Bulgarian and Austrian forces on the Macedonian front, and winning the country the approval of the Allies once again. 

Through Venizelos’s expert diplomacy, Greece was awarded a share of the Ottoman Empire in the peace conferences that followed the war’s conclusion. Greek troops entered Eastern Thrace, raising the Greek flag over the historic city of Adrianople, even as Greek forces landed in the ancient port city of Smyrna, in Asia Minor, home to a Greek ethnic majority. The Greek battleship Averoff sailed through the Bosphorus to Constantinople, the lost Byzantine capital now bedecked with Greek flags under Allied occupation: it seemed that the Greek Megali Idea, of the uniting of the Greek people in a rich and powerful nation of “two continents and five seas,” had finally come true. 

Then that random monkey bite changed everything.

In a plebiscite on who would replace the luckless King Alexander, the Greek people overwhelmingly chose his exiled father Constantine, hero of the Balkan Wars, to the horror of both Venizelos and the Allies. Constantine returned home, exiling Venizelos in turn, and took over command of the Asia Minor campaign. The Turkish nationalist forces under Ataturk, fighting the Italians in Southwest Turkey, the French in the south and east and the Greeks in the west, had withdrawn into the country’s deep interior, settling on the ramshackle village of Ankara as their revolutionary capital. 

Winning battle after battle against the Turks without ever landing a decisive blow, Constantine’s forces pressed on into the country’s waterless interior in the pursuit of total victory. The king was unimpressed with the new lands he had won, and the squalid villages his men passed through. “It is extraordinary how little civilized the Turks are,” he wrote home, “it is high time they disappeared once more and went back into the interior of Asia whence they came.” Had he won his war, an independent Kurdistan as well as an Anatolian Armenian state would likely have accompanied the Greek victory, and modern Turkey would not exist.

Among King Constantine’s generals was his younger brother Prince Andrew, Prince Philip’s father, a career cavalry officer who had been appointed command of Greece’s II Army Corps. Andrew was the “most Greek” of the Glucksberg dynasty: as a child, he made a conscious choice to speak only Greek where his relatives conversed with each other in German and English. A sickly infant, he had grown up in the ramshackle Athens palace built for King Otto (today Greece’s parliament), even contracting typhoid from its single squalid bathroom. 

Prince Andrew, Philip’s father, with his wife, Princess Alice, in Athens, January 1921. Credit: Topical Press Agency/Hulton Archive/Getty

As he marched his forces across Anatolia’s Great Salt Desert, omens of impending doom flit across his mind. He had no great affection for the Asia Minor Greeks of republican sympathies for whom he was fighting, once writing that “the people here are generally disgusting. A swollen Venizelism prevails… It would really be worth handing over Smyrna to Kemal [Ataturk] so as to kick all these worthless characters who behave like this after we have poured out such terrible blood here… My God, when shall I get away from this hell here?” Andrew’s death in battle outside Bursa had already been erroneously announced in the world press. 

Back in Corfu, at his home of Mon Repos, a Regency villa built for the island’s former British governor which could have been lifted straight from Bath or Cheltenham, his Anglo-German wife Princess Alice of Battenberg gave birth on the kitchen table to a son, Philippos. 

But here in the depths of Anatolia, the Greek high command, split between officers of royalist and Venizelist sympathies, was internally divided. The Army’s supply lines were dangerously over-extended, and its baggage train was harried by Turkish cavalry along the long route to Ankara. “There are still some villages where dangerous fanaticism still reigns, and then the Turks go out by night and massacre, in the most atrocious manner, our men or the lorry drivers who happen to be isolated,” Constantine had written home. “They mutilate them or even skin them, which enrages our soldiers to such an extent as to give rise to disagreeable reprisals. The war is developing into wild fighting, and that is the reason why we have so few prisoners — they are all massacred on the spot.” Some Greek sources note that Prince Andrew was given the epithet of “hut burner” by his men for his treatment of the Turkish villages along his path.

At the winding Sakarya river, some 35 miles outside Ankara, the Greek and Turkish forces readied themselves for the decisive battle of the war. The Greek inability to decisively defeat Ataturk’s forces, along with Constantine’s return to the throne, had caused the British and French attachment to Greece’s cause to wane dangerously. For Greece to retain Lloyd-George’s support against what Churchill described as the “pro-Turk bias” of the British Conservative Party, Foriegn Office and military establishment, Constantine would need a decisive victory at the Sakarya. Unfortunately for the Greek people and its royal family, he did not win one.

After three weeks of bitter fighting along a 60-mile front, in a battle which could at any point have gone either way, the Greek general Anastasios Papoulas disengaged his forces and began the retreat westward. The bodies of thousands of men on both sides littered the field of battle. Ataturk had won a famous victory, regarded now as the moment which led to the birth of the modern Turkish state. Years later, the Turkish General and future president Ismet InönĂŒ remarked of Sakarya that Papoulas was too nervy to be an effective commander: “Papoulas avoided disaster. But he never won a battle,” he would later write. 

Papoulas saw things differently. He lay the blame for the defeat directly on Prince Andrew, who had refused a direct order to commit his II Army Corps to the fray at one of the battle’s decisive moments.

Prince Andrew requested to be relieved of his command position, and was refused, though his chief of staff was sacked. Papoulas was replaced with the mentally unstable general Georgios Hatzianestis, who was too preoccupied with the delusion that his legs were made of glass to command effectively. Back in Smyrna, Andrew would write presciently of the darkening situation that “something must be done quickly to remove us from the nightmare of Asia Minor
 we must stop bluffing and face the situation as it really is. Because finally which is better? – to fall into the sea or escape before we are ducked?”

Permitted three months leave, Andrew finally returned to his wife in Corfu and held his newborn son Philippos for the first time. After nearly a year of stalemate in the trenches west of Ankara, during which time Greece’s Western allies abandoned their support of the Greek cause and began treating with Ataturk, the Turks launched an offensive that would see the Greek forces fly in headlong retreat towards the Aegean. Greeks call the result, simply, “the Catastrophe.” When the victorious Turkish forces reached Smyrna, the city and its predominantly Greek inhabitants were put to fire and sword, leading to the flight of 1.6 million Christian refugees to Greece and all but ending a 3,000-year Greek presence in Asia Minor. 

In Athens, a military coup unseated King Constantine, restoring Venizelos to negotiate the Treaty of Lausanne which established the modern borders of Greece and Turkey. As Constantine abdicated, the revolutionary government arrested six of the royalist generals and politicians blamed for the defeat, and sent troops to Corfu to arrest Prince Andrew and bring him to Athens for trial. He was accused of disobeying a direct order to attack, and abandoning his position in the face of the enemy “with disastrous results not only to the corps under his command but to the entire army”. 

After a brief trial, the unlucky six were sentenced to death by firing squad, positioned at the edge of a hastily dug pit and shot without blindfolds. A 2010 court case would later overturn their convictions for treason. Prince Andrew’s trial began two days later. The revolutionary general Theodoros Pangalos, Andrew’s contemporary at the Hellenic Military Academy and briefly the country’s future dictator, visited him in detention. “How many children have you?” he asked, nodding when Andrew answered. “Poor things,” he replied, “what a pity they will soon be orphans!”

As the historian Michael Llewellyn-Smith noted in his excellent book on Greece’s Asia Minor campaign Ionian Vision, “whether or not Andrew had been guilty of insubordination, it was an absurd charge to bring fifteen months after the event, given that he had not been relieved of his command at the time.” On 3 December, Andrew took the stand. A staff officer, Colonel Kalogeras, stated that Andrew had refused to attack despite direct orders. Colonel Sariyannis and General Papoulas both attested that if Andrew had carried out Papoulas’ orders, the Greeks would have won the day at Sakarya. Andrew was unanimously found guilty of disobedience and abandoning his post and sentenced to be stripped of his rank and banished permanently from Greece. 

Andrew expected to be executed in his cell at any moment. However, in the background, the Greek revolutionary General Nikaloaos Plastiras, a future three-time Prime Minister of Greece, had been negotiating with the British government, which had broken off formal diplomatic relations with Greece since the execution of the Six. They agreed that Andrew would be permitted to leave Greece on a British warship.

And so, a few months after his birth, Prince Philippos of Greece left Mon Repos, Corfu and Greece on the British destroyer HMS Calypso, along with his mother and father and into a life of exile. Philippos was, famously, carried onto the warship in an orange crate instead of a cot. His father Prince Andrew settled into a life of exile in France, writing a book Towards Disaster, translated by Philip’s mother Princess Alice, which aimed to justify his actions at Sakarya as necessary to avoid a pointless loss of life in a losing battle. When the monarchy was restored in Greece, Andrew refused a commission for Philip in the Hellenic Navy, saying “‘Never the Greek Navy! In the Greek Navy after a bit they would throw him out – that’s what they did to me, not once, as you know, or twice, but three times!’” 

Instead, Philip served gallantly in the Royal Navy during the Second World War, and was awarded the Greek War Cross for his actions at Cape Matapan. While his son Prince Charles became a benefactor of the Greek monastic republic of Mount Athos and frequent visitor to Corfu, and who is widely considered to be a Phillhellene with a strong mystical attachment to the Greek Orthodox faith of his grandparents, Prince Philip described himself as “a discredited Balkan prince of no particular merit or distinction”. For despite his nickname as “Phil the Greek”, he felt no great affection for the country and the uneasy crown it offered its foreign rulers. As he once said of the land of his birth and the mercurial people it contains, “I certainly never felt nostalgic about Greece. A grandfather assassinated and a father condemned to death does not endear me to the perpetrators.”


Aris Roussinos is an UnHerd columnist and a former war reporter.

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J Bryant
J Bryant
3 years ago

A very interesting and scholarly article. Kudos to the author.

Michael Whittock
Michael Whittock
3 years ago

Excellent historical narrative and very easy to read. Thankyou.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago

‘very easy to read.’

And that is the real skill. Excellent piece.

Angus J
Angus J
3 years ago

I think that it is most unjust to blame the monkey, as it was that blasted Alsatian dog that started it. Another good reason to hate Alsatian dogs.
Also, it is indeed a great pity that Ataturk won the battle of Sakarya River, as it would be of great benefit to the world if modern Turkey didn’t exist.

Ferrusian Gambit
Ferrusian Gambit
3 years ago
Reply to  Angus J

They are some of the best dogs I’ve had. Perhaps if you don’t have the capacity to properly train an intelligent and active dog it is likely to be a source of problems.

Margie Murphy
Margie Murphy
3 years ago
Reply to  Angus J

A German started it all. A German shepherd.

Vasiliki Farmaki
Vasiliki Farmaki
3 years ago
Reply to  Angus J

There is plenty of time for that benefit to be achieved and will be reflected to and for the entire world. Such a perspective will lift to the highest ever seen cultural value of the area which is being deprived year after year. The problem is always with those who plan and although they claim strategy, the results are short-sighted and then the long-awaited fair actions hopefully bring far more greater advantages.

Last edited 3 years ago by Vasiliki Farmaki
James Major
James Major
3 years ago

Bot alert.

David Owsley
David Owsley
3 years ago
Reply to  James Major

or at least written in another language and put through an online translator then posted with no edit

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
3 years ago
Reply to  Angus J

Don‘t blame the poor German Shepherd. They are such a wonderful breed and perfect police and military dogs: fearless and loyal. They need to be properly trained.

Last edited 3 years ago by Stephanie Surface
James Major
James Major
3 years ago

Agreed. We’ve had two, plus a Great Dane, in the past, and all were loyal, friendly and laid-back dogs. Very intelligent too.

Roger Inkpen
Roger Inkpen
3 years ago
Reply to  Angus J

I’ve no opinion on your comment but you are correct to refer to the dog as Alsatian. During and after WW! the anti-German sentiment meant that anything with a German reference was renamed. German shepherd became Alsatian. Battenburg became Mountbatten. The German royal family became British :o)

Jane Jones
Jane Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Roger Inkpen

My comments on this topic have disappeared!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane Jones

Yes it is the new system since the demise of Disqus.
Delayed censorship would be the best description.

Graeme Cant
Graeme Cant
3 years ago
Reply to  Angus J

I think that’s a very simplistic view – as Churchill’s was a very short term view. Haven’t you learnt anything from Ulster’s troubles?
Modern Turkey exists because most of its citizens want it to exist, not just because of the outcome of one battle. If Greece had won the battle, it would have faced years of rebellion from people who saw themselves as Turkish and resented being under Greek rule. Ataturk blew on glowing embers. A Greek state in Asia Minor was only ever a grandiose dream of unrealistic Greek patriots.
The only possible long term different outcome might have been a larger Armenian state and a Kurdish state but both of them would have required a level of statesmanship and altruism from a victorious Greece that nothing in modern Greece’s history makes likely.

Liz Walsh
Liz Walsh
3 years ago
Reply to  Angus J

Certainly it would have been better had an independent Kurdistan and Armenia come about. It seems that Prince Andrew embodied a trait prized by the people of Glucksberg, “Nordsee Aussicht”. Some dismiss it as pervasive pessimism, but correctly used it means it means making a worst case analysis in matters of dubious outcome. A touch of that was not a bad thing to pass along.

Last edited 3 years ago by Liz Walsh
Jim le Messurier
Jim le Messurier
3 years ago

Top article, revealing the mother of balkan intrigues. Superbly written, if I may say so.

James Major
James Major
3 years ago

Agreed, superb article, many thanks to the author.

Richard Morrison
Richard Morrison
3 years ago

An excellent article, capturing both the historical driving forces and the arbitrary chances of history which affect events

Mark Gourley
Mark Gourley
3 years ago

Well said.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago

What a splendid, pithy account of the tribulations suffered by Greece at the hands of the so called Allies during the Great War.Thank you Mr Roussinos.

The unprovoked attack on ‘neutral’ Athens in December 1916 that you speak of, was primarily a French affair. Astonishingly Admiral du Fournet had the Battleship Mirabeau shell the city, most of the rounds landing close to the recently completed Olympic Stadium. Built in 1896 due to the inspiration of another Frenchman, it was meant to symbolise the rebirth of the Classical World, a rather hopeless enterprise as it turned out, and even Admiral du Fournet was subsequently sacked for not completely destroying the city!

It also recalls the barbarism of 1687 when a besieging Venetian army commanded by a German lunatic, one, Otto Wilhelm Konigsmarck lobbed a mortar bomb into the Parthenon, virtually blowing it to bits. It had stood virtually intact for two thousand two hundred years, bar for some minor desecration when it had been turned into a church.
Lord Elgin later retrieved the pieces, which ultimately ended up in the British Museum.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

Very interesting. A lot of history there that I didn’t know. As for the Queen’s Consort he was born in Greece, given a Greek name, and his father was commanding Greek troops at the time of this birth, so ‘Phil the Greek’ remains good enough for me.

Rob Mort
Rob Mort
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Does anyone know if he had an opinion on souvlaki?

Chris Rimmer
Chris Rimmer
3 years ago
Reply to  Rob Mort

I’d never heard of souvlaki until I went on holiday to Greece a couple of years ago. I’m now in favour of it.

James Major
James Major
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Far too simplistic. He had no Greek blood, was a Dane/German by birth, and was only part of that Danish family that was imposed as a Royal Family on Greece. Where you are born is completely irrelevant, ask all those Middle-Eastern middle class mothers who give birth on the free NHS before returning home…. Phillip had to leave Greece only a few months after his birth, and settled in Paris…..”Phil the Great Dane” works for me.

Last edited 3 years ago by James Major
Fred Atkinstalk
Fred Atkinstalk
3 years ago
Reply to  James Major

Or perhaps “Phil the hun.”?

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago

A fascinating history of the area and time. Completely new to me. Thank you.

Andre Lower
Andre Lower
3 years ago

Great article, and a far cry from the banality of some recent ones I saw here. Proof that Unherd can be worth our time, provided it favours its best writers/true journalists over the identity politic ideologues of late…

Last edited 3 years ago by Andre Lower
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago

For anyone interested, a ‘sister ship’ of H.M.S Calypso, is moored in Belfast harbour. She is H.M.S. Caroline, launched in 1914, fought at Jutland in 1916, and still in excellent condition.
Now that Lockdown is easing perhaps a visit is in order. For ‘after dark’ entertainment one could also take in a bit of traditional rioting on the Shankill Road.

JACK Templeton
JACK Templeton
3 years ago

Not so much traditional as recreational I think.

Barbara Kuhlmann
Barbara Kuhlmann
3 years ago

Sorry, I don’t want to be petty, but this house’s name is Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-GlĂŒcksburg. But thank you for this informative piece about a rather neglected part of European history!

Last edited 3 years ago by Barbara Kuhlmann
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago

How wonderfully guttural, particularly that last ‘Glucksburg’.
Like something from Balzac or Voltaire.

Barbara Kuhlmann
Barbara Kuhlmann
3 years ago

Yes, sort of a tongue twister. I’m used to it 😉

David Boulding
David Boulding
3 years ago

“variously described as either a socialist or a lunatic ”
The terms are surely synonymous?

James Major
James Major
3 years ago
Reply to  David Boulding

A causal link, I would have said…

Andrew D
Andrew D
3 years ago
Reply to  David Boulding

On behalf of lunatics, I ask that you retract that slur

cjhartnett1
cjhartnett1
3 years ago

This is a really interesting, fully developed and lucid piece of writing that rewards close reading . Makes a complex,( Byzantine?) narrative both entertaining and compelling as you read along.
Top teaching sir, thank you.

Rob Mort
Rob Mort
3 years ago

Great piece thanks mate..beautiful and succinct. Rob

mac mahmood
mac mahmood
3 years ago

Reminds you of what Daniel O’Connell said about Wellington: “just because you are born in a stable does not make you a horse”. Phil the Greek was from Greece, but he was not of Greece.

James Major
James Major
3 years ago
Reply to  mac mahmood

To be honest, he should have been called “Phil the Great Dane” – much more impressive !

Julia Waugh
Julia Waugh
3 years ago

Wonderful article; historically informative on a subject made fascinating by an engaging writing style Aris Roussinos wields to impressive effect.

Ferrusian Gambit
Ferrusian Gambit
3 years ago

Interesting to reflect what would have happened if Greece had accepted the offer of Cyprus during WW1 from Britain for entry into the war. It seems likely the Turkish population would have been exchanged after the war and Northern Cyprus and the conflict that exists there would probably never have happened.

advocatessa
advocatessa
3 years ago

It would help to know if Prince Andrew really was correct to refuse the order. Would his troops have made a difference or been slaughtered?

Ferrusian Gambit
Ferrusian Gambit
3 years ago
Reply to  advocatessa

He probably has a book to sell you if you want to know.

Dennis Lewis
Dennis Lewis
3 years ago

What a very well-written article! I was especially moved by the story of the catastrophe at Smyrna.

Last edited 3 years ago by Dennis Lewis
Chandra Chelliah
Chandra Chelliah
3 years ago

Phil the ex-Greek and an immigrant refugee in UK. All because of a monkey and a dog. An article written with humor worth reading

James Major
James Major
3 years ago

Except that he was not ex-Greek. He never was Greek!

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
3 years ago

Very interesting historical article. The only problem is that you misspelt Prince Philip’s German/Danish name. It is Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-GlĂŒcksburg. The German family still own the GlĂŒcksburg castle in the most Northern Part of Germany.

Maurice Austin
Maurice Austin
3 years ago

“King Alexander’s septic leg, like the rest of the Greek royal family, possessed not a drop of Hellenic blood”
Here is where I must interpose a gentle correction. It was indeed against the wishes of his family and without the permission of the Church, but King Alexander had secretly married a Greek citizen with tons of Greek blood before he died.
Aspasia Manos, descendant of quite prominent and influential Greek families within the Ottoman Empire going back centuries, married the King secretly, and was four months pregnant at the time of the monkey-bite. As things settled down in Greece after Alexander’s death, she slowly climbed from being “Madame Manos”, the mother of a princess, to being recognised as a princess herself.
Their daughter (Alexandra) eventually married King Peter II of Yugoslavia, and the son of that marriage is the current pretender to the throne of Serbia, another Alexander.
So Princess Alexandra (she only died in 1993) was indeed a member of the “rest of the Greek royal family”, and had more than just a drop of Hellenic blood in her veins.

Philip Clayton
Philip Clayton
3 years ago

I found this article fascinating. But I would love to know how despite all the tribulations of his family and his early life it is clear that none of the family were ever poor. In the same way that despite the French revolution descendants of the monarchy never seem to be found sweeping the streets or even forced to work for a living.How do these people manage to hang on to their status and wealth as they clearly do?

Jos Haynes
Jos Haynes
3 years ago
Reply to  Philip Clayton

They hang on to their status and usually live as hangers-on to the weathy relatives. But many did work.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago

described as either a socialist or a lunatic

Both surely?

Paul Goodman
Paul Goodman
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

but not all lunatics are socialists

Alexei A
Alexei A
3 years ago

Readers may not know that two other celebrated characters had gripping escapes from the Turkish destruction of Smyrna at that time – one was Aristotle Onassis (who lived a few doors from my grandfather’s family home) and the other was the future designer of the Mini and Morris Minor, Alec Issigonis. Smyrna was known as the most cosmopolitan city in the Mediterranean, with long established British, French and Italian communities.

Last edited 3 years ago by Alexei A
Paul Marks
Paul Marks
3 years ago

Prince Philip also visited the Greek Orthodox monasteries – indeed he privately stayed in them for periods of time. He may have been more Greek than he said – at least in his attraction to Greek Orthodoxy.

James Major
James Major
3 years ago

I may have missed something, but Alexander was Philip’s cousin, not his uncle, surely? Alexander was the son of Constantine, Philip’s uncle.

Kelvin Rees
Kelvin Rees
3 years ago

‘Boys Own’ adventure.

mohsinallarakhia
mohsinallarakhia
3 years ago

This was a succinct and very interesting account, thank you. One special thing I did appreciate about this article was that the author did not aim to whitewash any of the participants in the grisly battles between the Greeks and the Turks, which ultimately led to the establishment of modern Turkey.

Dave Snell
Dave Snell
3 years ago

Regnal name not regal

Roger Inkpen
Roger Inkpen
3 years ago

Interesting piece. But I’m not sure why the absence of Prince Philip should mean we’d not get Charles or his sons. Admittedly in 1947 it would be tricky finding another European royal for Princess Elizabeth to marry, but surely not impossible?

Mark Gregory
Mark Gregory
3 years ago
Reply to  Roger Inkpen

Genetics matter.

Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
3 years ago

Great article. A period of history i know little about but brought to life through one person’s family history.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
3 years ago

A fascinating article.

David Menashy
David Menashy
3 years ago

Really interesting and illuminating. Thanks!

LCarey Rowland
LCarey Rowland
3 years ago

Thanks for your informative historical report. I suppose that any future counsel to the Royals would include the admonition: Beware of Greeks bearing sons.
Although, to be fair, Prince Philip’s allegiance to his Windsor wife has proven to be quite admirable, and even inspirational in its selflessly steadfast constancy.

Jos Haynes
Jos Haynes
3 years ago

An excellent pithy account by an author who usually annoys more than he informs. BTW, Mr Roussinos, you refer to your great grandfather and great grandmother as if you only had one – but you had four of both. Where did the others come from?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Jos Haynes

Skegness?

Jos Haynes
Jos Haynes
3 years ago

I just don’t like people picking out the particular ancesters that suit their purpose. Family history nuts are very good at this – all their inconsequential, humdrum ancestors never get a mention

Terry Needham
Terry Needham
3 years ago

” How many are aware, for example, that if Ataturk had lost the 1921 Battle of the Sakarya River, outside Ankara, not only would modern Turkey not exist, but neither would Princes Charles, William and Harry? “
I am a sucker for a bit of alternative history, but I take consolation from the thought that the alternative future might have panned out worse than the real one.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
3 years ago

Phil the Greek was never Phil Mountbatten either, but he wanted to force the name on the Royal Family. It was just the Mountbatten’s doing social climbing.

Ray Thomson
Ray Thomson
3 years ago

interesting enough but … so what?

Paul
Paul
3 years ago
Reply to  Ray Thomson

Why read it and then display your couldnt give a toss post? Why not move on to another topic? I suppose a decent history lesson is casting pearls amongst swine to Ray – eh Ray?

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  Ray Thomson

That can be said of anything by a person who has no interest.

Rob Mort
Rob Mort
3 years ago
Reply to  Ray Thomson

Fk you poms are funny! Lol

Dennis Lewis
Dennis Lewis
3 years ago
Reply to  Rob Mort

I take it that you are a British-descended Antipodean?

James Major
James Major
3 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Lewis

Only on his Father’s side. His Mother’s side was pure Kangaroo ! Those Aussies, they’re so funny !

Ferrusian Gambit
Ferrusian Gambit
3 years ago
Reply to  Ray Thomson

Ray Thomson is not a very interesting individual… so what?

James Major
James Major
3 years ago
Reply to  Ray Thomson

I think Ray would have been more “engaged” if the author had written his opinions on the latest “Eastenders” story-line….

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
3 years ago
Reply to  Ray Thomson

Your comment says more about you than the article. Personally, I felt wiser after reading it, interested in the many echoes down the years, and saddened, because much as the Turks have things to be proud about, Asia Minor was truly Greece, perhaps the most influential culture which ever existed.
I still find it remarkable that the Greeks retained a sense of nationality after decades of subjugation under the Turks, which separated them so much from their cultural heirs in Europe.