Prince Philip Hated His Royal Duties So Much He Got Physically Sick and Was Bedridden for Three Weeks

When Queen Elizabeth took the throne, Prince Philip struggled to adjust to royal duties and actually became physically sick and was bedridden for three weeks.

  • When he first became the consort to the Queen, Prince Philip struggled with life as a working royal and finding purpose in his royal duties.
  • In his new book, Long Live the Queen! 13 Rules for Living from Britain's Longest Reigning Monarch (opens in new tab), royal author Bryan Kozlowski explains that Philip was so unhappy during the first year of Elizabeth's reign that he became physically ill and was bedridden for three weeks.
  • "He came down with a severe case of jaundice—a condition often linked with stress and depression—and spent three agonizing weeks in a dark room trying to recover," Kozlowski writes.

Being a member of the royal family (opens in new tab) requires a lot of work—and a lot of personal sacrifice (opens in new tab). Pretty much everyone who marries into the royal family and the life of a working royal learns this lesson the hard way and fast. This doesn't just go for modern Windsors-by-marriage (opens in new tab) like Meghan Markle and Princess Diana (opens in new tab)Queen Elizabeth's husband (opens in new tab)Prince Philip (opens in new tab), also reportedly struggled to adjust to life as a working royal.

Philip's less-than-enthusiastic attitude about giving up his life in the Royal Navy for the job of Consort to the Queen (opens in new tab) was well-documented in the early seasons (opens in new tab) of Netflix's royal drama The Crown, of course, but according to royal author Bryan Kozlowski (opens in new tab), adjusting to his royal duties actually made Philip physically ill.

In his new book Long Live the Queen! 13 Rules for Living from Britain's Longest Reigning Monarch (opens in new tab), Kozlowski describes Philip's early struggles after Elizabeth took the throne (opens in new tab), writing:

"Beginning royal life with energetic purpose, enjoying a fulfilling and quickly advancing career in the Royal Navy, the King's untimely death drastically rerouted those plans. Putting his naval life on permanent hold, he became the Queen's consort, a vacuously vague position Philip once described as making him feel more like 'a bloody amoeba' than a man. Without a definable role (or one he regarded as terribly important), Philip became decidedly mopey, quick-tempered and eventually seriously unwell. In his first year as consort, he came down with a severe case of jaundice—a condition often linked with stress and depression—and spent three agonizing weeks in a dark room trying to recover."

Oof. Thankfully, Philip did eventually seem to find his groove in his new role as a full-time working royal, carrying out royal duties until he retired from public duties in August 2017 at the ripe old age of 96.

RELATED STORIES

london, united kingdom july 10 embargoed for publication in uk newspapers until 24 hours after create date and time meghan, duchess of sussex, prince harry, duke of sussex, prince william, duke of cambridge and catherine, duchess of cambridge watch a flypast to mark the centenary of the royal air force from the balcony of buckingham palace on july 10, 2018 in london, england the 100th birthday of the raf, which was founded on on 1 april 1918, was marked with a centenary parade with the presentation of a new queen's colour and flypast of 100 aircraft over buckingham palace photo by max mumbyindigogetty images

(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo)
Kayleigh Roberts
Weekend Editor

Kayleigh Roberts is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional experience. Her byline has appeared in Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, The Atlantic, Allure, Entertainment Weekly, MTV, Bustle, Refinery29, Girls’ Life Magazine, Just Jared, and Tiger Beat, among other publications. She's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.