Prince Philip sets record as royal consort

April 18, 2009 at 7:35 AM
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LONDON, April 18 (UPI) -- The British royal family passed another milestone Saturday when Prince Philip became the longest-serving consort of a monarch in the country's history.

Philip broke the record set by Queen Charlotte, long-suffering wife of the sometimes insane King George III, the BBC reported.

The royal family has had its difficulties during the long reign of Queen Elizabeth II. Three of the couple's four children have been divorced, something that would have once been unthinkable, and the death of Princess Diana sparked public rage and rumors that Philip had arranged her fatal car crash.

Philip has become known for occasionally salty language and a short temper. But his work with wildlife has won him respect and his letters to Diana while her marriage to Prince Charles was falling apart, released during the inquest into her death, showed a personal warmth.

As the queen's husband, Philip has no formal role in the British government, a position he once described as being a "bloody amoeba." At 87, he still performs hundreds of public engagements every year.

"He has quite simply been my strength and stay for all these years," the queen said in a speech on their golden anniversary.

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