Phillip was the first Disney prince to be given a proper name and a developed character. He is said to have been named after the prince that Americans knew of best at the time, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, husband of Elizabeth II. The idea of him being captured by Maleficent was a discarded idea originally meant for the Prince from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, as the animators at that time had problems drawing a realistic human male.
Phillip is known to be brave and heroic. On the other hand, he appears to be fairly easygoing. At times, he is able to subtly persuade people to do as he wants. Examples include Phillip bribing his horse with food so that he could find the source of the singing he heard, and manipulating his father into agreeing that he should marry the girl he loves rather than the princess he is betrothed to.
Phillip has brown hair and brown eyes (his eye color though is hard to distinguish due to the animation style of the film). He appears to be several years older than Aurora, as he was a young child while she was still an infant. Phillip is generally seen wearing a tan tunic over a black shirt, with brown pants and boots that frame tightly around his slim, but fair built a physique. He also is seen wearing a red cape and hat at times.
Young Phillip and his father King Hubert were both invited to the christening of Princess Aurora, the newborn daughter of King Stefan and Queen Leah, because King Hubert and King Stefan were best friends. At Aurora's christening, it was decided that Phillip would one day marry Aurora to unite their fathers' respective kingdoms. The two were betrothed. Phillip presents a gift to the baby Princess, but ironically is less than impressed when he sees her. However, at the Princess' debut to the public, Maleficent came inside the castle, and young Phillip was afraid of her. She cursed the princess on her birthday with the spindle of a spinning wheel, so the Three Good Fairies make a deal with Stefan and Leah to take Aurora into the forest to raise her for her own safety.
Many years later, a grown-up Phillip is riding in the forest when he hears a young girl's voice singing, and orders his horse Samson to take him there, but on the way, Samson goes too fast and accidentally knocks Phillip into the water. After falling into the water, Phillip hangs his wet cape, hat and boots on tree limbs to dry, and wonders about the girl's voice, which sounds familiar, but then he turns around and notices that some forest animals have taken his clothes. When he follows the forest animals, he finds the girl who is singing (Briar Rose, alter ego of Princess Aurora), and he starts dancing with her. She tries to run away, but he continues to dance with her, and says that they have met before in "Once Upon a Dream". By the end of "Once Upon a Dream", they have fallen in love, and Phillip asks the girl what her name is, but she realizes that she must go home, so she runs off. Still not knowing who the girl is, Phillip asks when he will see her again, to which she tells him to meet her at the cottage this evening, and gives him directions to the cottage as she leaves. Phillip is entirely unaware that the girl he has fallen in love with is actually his betrothed, Aurora, so he assumes her to be a peasant girl. Later, when speaking to his father, Phillip tells Hubert that he has fallen in love with a peasant girl, to which Hubert is dismayed, due to the betrothal, but Phillip manipulates him into agreeing that he should marry the girl he loves.
That evening, Phillip goes to the cottage as promised by the girl he has met earlier, but he unknowingly walks into a trap set by Maleficent as her Goons pin him down, tie him up, and gag him with a white handkerchief upon entry. Maleficent and the Goons take Phillip away to her domain, the Forbidden Mountain, where she imprisons him in the dungeon.
Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather, after learning from King Hubert that the girl Phillip has fallen in love with is Briar Rose, fly to the cottage to fetch him, but when they arrive, they find his hat, making them realize that Maleficent has captured Phillip. They decide to go to the Forbidden Mountain to rescue him.
At the Forbidden Mountain, Phillip, while chained to the dungeon walls, is visited by Maleficent, who taunts him with the knowledge that Briar Rose, the girl he has met in the woods, is actually Princess Aurora and revealing that she has fallen under a curse of ageless sleep that can be broken by love's first kiss. Maleficent plans to keep Phillip locked up for 100 years and then release him. He will be an old man, if not dead, while Aurora will still be a 16-year-old girl. Phillip is angered and struggles against his chains, but Maleficent chooses to leave him with the "happy" thoughts.
After Maleficent walks away and returns to her tower, the good fairies fly into the dungeon to release Phillip and melt the lock. They arm him with the mighty Sword of Truth and Shield of Virtue, which they state to be weapons of righteousness that will triumph over evil. As the fairies and Phillip leave the dungeon, they are confronted by Diablo, who summons the Goons to recapture the prince. The fairies thwart the Goons' attacks on Phillip with their magic as Phillip and the fairies make their way out of the Forbidden Mountain. On their way to Stefan's castle, Maleficent, who have been awakened by the constant cawing of Diablo (who is turned into a statue by Merryweather) and realized that Phillip has escaped from the dungeon, unleashes some lightning to stop Phillip, but to no avail. Maleficent then causes a maze of thorns to grow around the castle and block his way. Phillip bravely hacks through the thorns using his sword and manages to get through, enraging Maleficent. Maleficent appears before him, blocks his entry to Stefan's castle and transforms into an enormous dragon, intent on killing the prince. Phillip engages the creature in a battle but is driven backward by the dragon's powerful flame blast. He retreats up the cliff, with the dragon in hot pursuit. As Phillip is cornered at the cliff's ledge, Maleficent blasts Phillip's shield off, rendering him defenseless, but the good fairies, under the direction of Flora, magically empowers the sword. Phillip immediately throws the sword into the dragon's chest but is forced to dodge Maleficent's final attempt to devour him as she collapses onto the ledge. Phillip narrowly escapes for his life as the dragon's enormous weight cause the ledge to crumble upon impact, sending the evil enchantress falling to her demise below.
With Maleficent gone for good, Phillip enters Stefan's castle to find the entire population asleep. He heads up the stairs to the castle's tallest tower, where he finds Aurora, still in her ageless sleep. He bends over to give Aurora true love's first kiss, which finally awakens her from her eternal slumber. The princess smiles as she learns that her love and her betrothed are the one in the same. After the others in the castle, including King Hubert, King Stefan, and Queen Leah, awaken from their sleep, Phillip then heads downstairs with Aurora, arm in arm, and meets Aurora's parents and Phillip's father. The two then share a dance together and share another kiss, with the final words in the book, below the illustration of the couple kissing, reading "And they lived happily ever after."