Prince Philip is currently at Sandringham with the Queen, on the royal couple’s farmhouse that had been Philip’s retreat since he retired from royal duties in 2017 at the age of 96. These days the Duke is renowned as the straight-talking and rather stern head of the family – but in his younger days the handsome and somewhat mysterious prince caused a sensation. When the future Queen announced her engagement in 1947 to the glamorous young prince of Greece and Denmark, the British public had a rather intriguing nickname for him.
They called Philip ‘Big Bubble’.
The name came from Cockney rhyming slang, in which ‘bubble’ is the shortened form of ‘bubble and squeak’, meaning Greek.
Renowned journalist, the late Sally Vincent, wrote about her memories of the new prince coming over to marry the Princess Elizabeth in 1947.
Ms Vincent wrote, in 2002: “This was 1947, and we longed for something wonderful and vicarious to break the drab despair of postwar austerity. And he was it.
“He was handsome as a film star, tall and blond, heroic in his naval braiding, come from foreign parts to marry our princess that we might have peace and prosperity and happy ever after.
“I remember being in Woolworths that day in November. One minute my mother picked out her Betty Lou lipstick, the next the world went mad.
“Shrieking, screaming women burst in from the street, chasing each other up and down the aisles, snatching newspapers from each other’s fists.
“Tills were left unattended as more women joined the fray, squealing, ‘Show me, show me, show me’, wrestling each other to the floor, exposing their stocking tops.
READ MORE: Why Prince Philip’s absence is ‘key reason behind royal crisis’
“It was as though all normal, adult dignity had been suddenly abandoned to the life or death imperative of laying eyes on earthly evidence of the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and her fairy prince, the beautiful Big Bubble of our dreams.”
The Princess Elizabeth had fallen in love with young naval officer Philip Mountbatten as a young teenager, however her parents the King and Queen took some convincing to let the future Queen marry him.
Speaking in 2013, Lady Pamela Hicks, the daughter of Lord Louis Mountbatten, said: “She never from that moment thought of anybody else. It was a real love match.”
However, the Queen’s third cousin recalled how Elizabeth had to convince her parents to let her marry Philip when she came of age.
How Queen’s touching gesture had Prince Philip near tears [REVEALED]
MI5’s bid to protect Prince Philip’s Profumo affair connection exposed [EXPERT]
How Prince Philip was key to solving Romanov mystery [INSIGHT]
Lady Pamela continued: “The King and Queen were appalled.
“The thought that he might become a son-in-law was most unwelcome. Why wasn’t she marrying some respectable English duke?
“Yes, he was a Prince of Greece and Denmark. But very suspect, Greece – they get rid of their royal families regularly. And he had no money.”
She added how the Duke’s infamous bluntness was also an obstacle to endearing himself to the Royal Family.
She said: “He’s never been one to flatter. He was not the courtier they were used to.”
However, she also revealed that she and her sister, Countess Mountbatten of Burma, found this trait endearing.
She said: “He’s apt to say what he thinks, but it’s not with malice.
“He is a more sensitive person than most people imagine.
“It’s got him in so much trouble in the past with the press, but it’s only in the last several years that they have realised he is not a buffoon.”