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In July 1947, newly naturalized as plain British Lieut. Philip Mountbatten, the ex-Prince of Greece, a relatively poverty-stricken sailor with only one suit of civvies to his name, moved into Kensington Palace to await the ordeal of becoming a bridegroom. "That poor young navy officer," moaned a royal valet, " he don't even have no hairbrushes."
First Gentleman. In the decade since that decorous orgy of sentimentality and ceremonial that was Britain's Royal Wedding, old colonies have become new nations. Elizabeth herself has become a mother twice over, a Queen and the first citizen of a free association of nations unlike anything in the world before. The angry towhead who once screamed to the world that he was "Philipjust Philip" has not only acquired a hairbrush, but a sonorous list of ranks and titleshe is a Knight Commander of the Garter, the officially designated "First Gentleman of the Realm,"* His Royal Highness the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth. Baron Greenwich, Field Marshal, Air Marshal and Fleet Admiral of the Royal Navyand an allowance of pocket money from the privy purse sufficient ($112,000 yearly) to maintain his position in style.
But Philip was interested in more than titles. Appalled by the bumbling management of the royal household, he filled the palaces with labor-saving devices, radiotelephones, central heating, electric dishwashers and intercoms, removed unnecessary flunkies right and left to more useful work elsewhere. He boned up on modern farm technology to put the vast royal estates at Windsor and Sandringham on a paying basis, and even, according to one weary farm worker at Windsor, "told us where to plant the marrow."
Betweentimes, he slipped out of the palace to play polo and cricket, to take his young son sailing. Not even the Queen herself was immune from her husband's restless energy. "I think Prince Philip is mad," she once exclaimed to a palace servant, as her husband, bored stiff with a moment of inactivity, darted out of the palace door in a cocoon of sweaters, to "work up a sweat." During their marriage, Elizabeth has succeeded to some extent in calming her impetuous husband, restraining his often explosive impatience ("Philip," she is often heard to remonstrate, "don't get so annoyed!") and curbing his quarterdeck vocabulary. By way of return, Philip himself can be credited for the fact that his mousy, slightly frumpy and occasionally frosty bride has blossomed into a self-confidently stylish and often radiantly warm young matron.
Navy Wife. Early in their marriage, after persuading his father-in-law to return him to active naval service, Philip insisted that Elizabeth join him in Malta and live like any other officer's wife. For the first time in her life, the future Queen really saw how the other half lived. She drove her own Daimler, went shopping and danced with her husband and his friends till the early morning. Readers of Britain's Sunday supplements nodded in approval as they noted the new slim dimensions of her figure and the sharper, smarter cut of her clothes.