From Russia to Britain, Philip's royal ties spanned Europe

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FILE - In this Saturday, Dec. 11, 2004, file photo, from left: Danish Prince Henrik, Queen Sonja and King Harald from Norway, Britain's Prince Philip, Queen Sofia, and King Juan Carlos from Spain and Queen Silvia and King Carl XVI Gustaf from Sweden during the funeral service of Dutch Prince Bernhard in the Nieuwe Kerk or New Church in Delft, The Netherlands. Prince Philip's life spanned just under an entire century of European history. His genealogy was just as broad, with Britain's longest-serving consort linked by blood and marriage to most of the continent's royal houses. (AP Photo/Jasper Juinen, File)

TATOI – Prince Philip's life spanned a century of European history. His family ties were just as broad, with Britain's longest-serving consort linked by blood and marriage to most of the continent's royal houses.

“If Queen Victoria is considered the grandmother of Europe, Prince Philip is the uncle of Europe,” said Vassilis Koutsavlis, president of the Tatoi Royal Estate Friends Association.

It's in that densely wooded estate at the foot of a mountain north of Athens that Philip's father, Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark, lies buried. The Tatoi estate housed the royal summer residence and the royal cemetery, dotted with the tombs of Philip's relatives: kings and queens of Greece, princes and princesses of Denmark, grand duchesses of Russia and even a distant relative of Napoleon Bonaparte.

”At that time, it was very common to marry others in royal families. And (Denmark's King) Christian IX was very good at it,” royalty expert Lars Hovbakke Soerensen said. “He was instrumental in getting his children married into other royal houses in Europe.”

Christian also sent one of his sons to become the monarch of Greece. The relatively new state had won its independence a few decades earlier from the Ottoman Empire, with the help of the Great Powers at the time: Britain, France and Russia.

Philip's grandfather was just 17 years old in 1863 when the Greek National Assembly elected him king, becoming George I to take the place of the equally foreign-born but unpopular King Otto, who had been deposed.

George I married Olga Constantinovna of Russia, a member of the Romanov dynasty, and together they had eight children, of which Andrew, Philip's father, was the seventh.

Apart from one child who died in infancy, all of George and Olga's offspring went on to marry European royals or nobles. For Andrew, that was Princess Alice, a great-granddaughter of Britain's Queen Victoria.