Prince Philip, who died last week at the age of 99, was born on the dining room table of the villa Mon Repos situated on the coast of the Greek island of Corfu. The villa’s French name means “my rest,” and was a place of rest for the Greek Royals in the past century.
Mon Repos now operates as a small museum under the municipality of Corfu. The permanent display is spread over fourteen galleries.
Aspects of the history of the building and the ancient monuments in the surrounding area are presented through authentic objects and visual aids.
Recently, the birth certificate of Prince Philip, the consort of Queen Elizabeth, was unearthed from the municipal archive of Corfu, close to Mon Repos.
The certificate is written in Katharevousa, the official version of Greek at the time, which resembles ancient Greek more than the demotic language Greeks speak among themselves.
Mon Repos was built as a summer residence for the British Lord High Commissioner of the United States of the Ionian Islands, Frederick Adam, and his second wife (a Corfiot), Diamantina “Nina” Palatino, in 1828–1831.
The villa was rarely used as a residence for the later British governors. In 1833, it housed a school of fine arts, while in 1834, the park was opened to the public. Empress Elisabeth of Austria stayed there in 1863. It was while here that she fell in love with the island, where she later built the Achilleion Palace.
After the union with Greece in 1864, the villa was granted to King George I of the Hellenes as a summer residence; he renamed it “Mon Repos” (French for “My Rest”).