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A spirited young towhead with lively blue eyes and a raucous manner. Philip spent his earliest years in a Paris crowded to the rafters with the relics of outmoded monarchies. Years later, as a dashing young British naval lieutenant in Mel bourne. Australia, he described himself good-humoredly as "a discredited Balkan prince of no particular merit or distinction." But as a small boy. the little Prince deeply resented the background that made him different from other people. Once when an-old friend of the family introduced him to a stranger as "Prince Philip, the grandson of a King of Greece," the proud four-year-old stormed off in a tantrum. "No!" he shouted to the world at large. "I'm Philip just Philip, that's all."
Unlike those of his displaced cousins (practically all of them were related to Queen Victoria in one way or another) who had to drive taxis or serve as waiters to keep alive, Philip's life was clothed in comfortable, if slightly shabby, respectability, kept crisp with starch by a stern British nanny named Miss Roose. Nanny Roose taught him English as his first language, saw to it that her bumptious charge stayed clean and neat, that he responded with gracious dignity when addressed as "Your Royal Highness," and that his royal bottom never wanted for a good sound spanking when the rules were infringed.
"Mealy Eye." During the years in Paris, Philip's mother and father drifted gradually apart, each tragically confused and lost in memories of a futile past that could not be regained. His mother retired to a sanatorium in Germany; his father moved to Monte Carlo to nurse bitter memories until his death in 1944. At the age of nine, because his ardently Anglophile father insisted his son should be brought up as a proper Englishman, young Philip was shipped off to England to be reared by his mother's mother, the Dowager Marchioness of Milford Haven. She was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria and the widow of Prince Louis of Battenberg, one of England's greatest naval commanders, who had Anglicized his name to Mountbatten during World War I.
The Mountbattens hustled Philip off to Cheam, a preparatory school that has been conscientiously toughening the hides and stiffening the backbones of overprivileged young Britons for 300 years. Young Philip's start there as a "mealy eye" or new boy was not entirely auspicious. "Do you like Mr. Taylor?'' he asked the headmaster's wife after an early taste of Cheam's stern discipline. The experienced Mrs. Taylor countered expertly: "Do you, Philip?" she asked. "No." said the young scholar with flat finality, "I do not."
As the weeks passed, however, Philip learned to like not only Mr. Taylor but everything else about Cheam. He thrived on its cold baths, slept soundly on its rock-hard mattresses, took his canings like any other boy, and distinguished himself on its playing fields as a first-class athlete. Last month, when the time came to start their own son's period of formal education, Elizabeth and Philip together delivered eight-year-old Prince Charles, Duke of Cornwall, into the care of Cheamthe first heir to the British throne ever to go away to school like a commoner.