President of Greece pays tribute to Philip with young photo

Catherine Wylie and Tom Pilgrim, PA
·3-min read

The President of Greece – where the Duke of Edinburgh was born almost 100 years ago – has paid tribute to him and his decades of service.

President Katerina Sakellaropoulou shared a photo of Philip as a young boy dressed as an Evzone guard.

The Prince of Wales gave a framed copy of the photograph to the presidential guards in Athens just over a fortnight ago.

The Evzones are the elite light infantry units of the Greek Army and are known for their distinctive uniform, which originates from the clothes worn by Greek irregulars who fought against the Ottomans during the Greek Revolution in the 1821-1827 period.

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Charles gave a nod to Philip’s link to Greece during his recent visit, and said the country of his father’s birth has “long held the most special place in my heart”.

Philip was born a prince of Greece and Denmark, allegedly on the kitchen table of his family home, Mon Repos, on the Greek island of Corfu, in 1921.

President Sakellaropoulou tweeted: “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 @RoyalFamily and the British people.”

Charles paid tribute to Greece and said he was “delighted” to be back when he visited Athens with the Duchess of Cornwall in March for the country’s Bicentenary Independence Day celebrations.

Speaking at an official state dinner at the presidential mansion in Athens, hosted by President Sakellaropoulou, Charles said: “My wife and I could not be more delighted to be back in Greece, which has long held the most special place in my heart.

“After all, Greece is the land of my grandfather; and of my father’s birth, nearly one hundred years ago, in the centenary year of Greek Independence.

“Later, it was in Athens that my dear grandmother, Princess Alice, during the dark years of Nazi occupation, sheltered a Jewish family – an act for which in Israel she is counted as ‘Righteous Among The Nations’.”

In his speech, Charles also said: ”In feeling a profound connection to Greece – her landscapes, her history and her culture – I am hardly alone: there is something of her essence in us all.

“As the wellspring of Western civilisation, Greece’s spirit runs through our societies and our democracies.

“Without her, our laws, our art, our way of life, would never have flourished as they have.”

Charles and Camilla’s official two-day visit to Greece, at the request of the British Government following an invitation from Greece’s prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, came eight days after Philip left hospital following a month-long stay receiving treatment.

The Mayor of Athens, Kostas Bakoyannis, said in a statement that he was “deeply saddened” to hear of Philip’s death.

He said the duke’s life “serves as an example of tenacity and adaptability in the face of adversity”.

The mayor added: “Praised for his personal bravery as an officer of the Royal Navy during the Second World War, Prince Philip will be remembered for his decades of service to the public, his selfless dedication to royal duties, and his complete devotion to Her Majesty The Queen.

“I offer my condolences to Her Majesty at this sad time.

“My thoughts also go to His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, whom I had the pleasure of meeting last month during the celebrations for the Bicentennial of the Greek War of Independence.”