Queen has avoided state visit to Prince Philip’s birthplace over ‘difficult’ history

Prince Philip 'angry' at royals 'sidelining' family says expert

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Queen Elizabeth frequently makes state visits representing the UK in countries all around the world. However, there is one nation in which the Monarch has not stepped foot in on official duties during her reign.

This country is Greece, the birthplace of her husband Prince Philip.

Although the Queen made a visit to Athens at the request of King Paul when she was a princess in 1947, she has not been for more than 70 years.

According to experts, there is a rather “difficult” reason why Queen Elizabeth has never ventured to Greece for a formal visit.

Though Greece is a nation boasting incredible beauty, sadly Prince Philip has a rather complicated history with it.

While royal historian Hugo Vickers says Philip was a “Greek Prince”, having been born into the monarchy, he faced exile from infancy.

Born Philippos Schleswig-Holstein Sonderburg-Glucksburg, the fifth child and only son of Prince Andrew of Greece and Princess Alice of Battenberg, Philip was part of the Danish royal family also.

However, a military coup at the beginning of the Greco-Turkish War between 1919-1922 saw Prince Andrew accused of treason and exiled from the country.

This saw his family, along with young Prince Philip, banished from the European nation.

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Mr Vickers explained this is probably why Queen Elizabeth avoided any state visits.

“Prince Philip doesn’t like Greece because they put his father [Prince Andrew] on trial, and he might have been executed,” Vickers told BBC.

“In 1922, they all had to flee.”

Though Prince Philip did make some brief returns over the years to visit his mother, they were few and far between.

This does not mean the Queen has no relationship with Greece though.

In 1963 King Paul visited Britain on a “hugely controversial” state visit according to the royal historian.

This was largely because Greece was holding political prisoners at the time.

In 1973, when Prince Philip’s first cousin once removed King Constantine was overthrown, Greece’s monarchy was abolished.

Despite this, Michael Binyon, foreign affairs specialist at The Times told BBC the Queen is still in touch with Constantine who now lives in the UK.

Though Vickers has his suspicion Prince Philip’s ties to Greece could be the reason behind a lack of state visit, he does point out it may simply be because Queen Elizabeth has never been invited by a Greek president.

Upon Prince Philip’s death, Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou tweeted out a photograph of the Prince as a child wearing the badge of the Evzone Guard, a ceremonial unit that today guards the Greek parliament.

In her tweet she said Prince Philip: “The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, who was born in Corfu, served his country with devotion for many decades. I extend my warm condolences to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the members of the Royal Family and the British people.”

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