Touching Insight Into Young Gordonstoun Prince Philip’s Character by Unearthed School Reports

On December 17, 1937, young Prince Philip attended his first-ever day of school.

As a holiday prank, a teacher removed his name tag, and despite the prince’s protests, he had to spend the day in the middle of the classroom.

The prank went viral, and the young prince’s teachers felt it necessary to ensure he would get another day to himself so he could be forgotten.

But Philip had other plans: by the time he got home he had enlisted his father’s help to spread the story far and wide.

Also read: Gordonstoun: Prince Philip honoured by school’s pupils

In an early attempt to curtail the damage, King George VI had himself photographed shaking the prince’s hand.

“I’d like to go back and finish the holidays now,” the young prince is said to have told his grandfather.

During his days at Gordonstoun, the young prince was said to be well-behaved and well-mannered.

The report said:

‘His excellent manners and good manners were frequently noted in the course of the term and were constantly praised by his teachers and masters for the sincerity of their expression’.

When it came to the classroom, however, things were a little different.

The report states: ‘Prince Philip, on occasion, had a less promising school-day.’

The report includes one instance in which Philip, 14 at the time, was playing with his toy gun.

His attempt to put it down, however, was misinterpreted and another pupil raised their hand to say Philip was carrying a weapon.

The report said:

‘The prince felt it important to move without raising his hand, and all continued their work in silence.’

The reports may not have revealed that Philip did not like the company of other children, because they also confirmed that he only felt joy when alone with his friends.

However, it did show how much Philip suffered.

The records also reveal that Philip was not a very good speller, but could memorize poems.

When a report card asked Philip to tell his teacher what he wanted to do with his life, Philip said:

‘I want to be an Ambassador and remain at Gordonstoun’.

Narratives of Philip’s time at Gordonstoun are often very unflattering and it seems this was true when they first described the young prince.

But as the years passed, his behavior improved at Gordonstoun, and reports of his conduct have largely focused on his behavior towards the other students, his sense of fun, and his sense of courtesy.

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