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Prince Philip: The Plot To Make A KNG (PBS/DVD/2016)



 
Queen Elizabeth II, the reigning ruler of the United Kingdom of Great Britain (at least for now) has a consort, Philip Mountbatten of Greece and Denmark, five years her senior, and father of her four children:  Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward. 

Now 95, Philip is in remarkable health (which will be needed if British royalty is to survive the recent Brexit vote).  And this excellent documentary by Richard Sanders gives us his life’s history in just under an hour.

A son of minor Greek royalty, as an infant his father was deposed as King of Greece and the child was raised in France, Germany and England.  His maternal uncle, Louis Battenburg, was forced to change the family’s name during World War I to Mountbatten, with the boy’s named changed as well after Greece.

This allowed the tall, handsome, (and still) arrogant young man to dream of marrying Princess Elizabeth after she met him at age 13.  King George VI and Queen Elizabeth were not amused by the notion, but a smitten Princess worked it so she could marry this dashing young British Lieutenant. 

They had four children (all still alive) and Elizabeth II (né Windsor) is the second longest reigning queen in British history (after her Great-Grandmother, Queen Victoria).

This fine documentary explains all of the above, with terrific archival footage and interviews with two of Philip’s cousins (daughters of Louis Mountbatten who was assassinated by the Provisional Irish Republican Army in 1979 when they blew up his 30-foot fishing vessel, killing in addition grandson Nicholas, 14, an elderly dowager, age 83, and a fifteen-year-old boat-worker, age 15.

Prince Philip has not always curbed his un-P.C. tongue, but nothing he has said has threatened the Windsor line as top royalty in the United Kingdom.  (Although the 1963 English satire, “Beyond the Fringe,” had the Prince, during a toast, exclaim, “My health!”)

This documentary is intelligently put together, and – depending on one’s interest in this rich family – worth watching.