Prince Philip of UK makes last solo public engagement after 65 years

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Saturday, August 5, 2017

HRH Prince Philip, from file.
Image: Allan warren.

The United Kingdom's Prince Philip, 96, performed his last solo official royal public engagement, before retiring from his official duties as the consort of Queen Elizabeth II after 65 years of service, with a Captain General's parade of the Royal Marines at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday.

As the Captain General, he took the royal salute and inspected the soldiers to mark the end of the 1664 Global Challenge. He told the soldiers humorously "You all should be locked up" after they completed a 2,678 kilometer (1664 mile) trek in support of the Royal Marines Charity. 

Buckingham Palace announced Philip's retirement plan in May. Philip succeeded King George VI — Elizabeth's father — as Captain General of marines in 1953, the year after she succeeded him as monarch. On the announcement in May, Prime Minister Theresa May offered her well wishes and gratitude to Prince Philip, 95 years old at the time.

Lady Myra Butter, an acquaintance of Philip's for more than eight decades, said on BBC Radio 4 program Today, of Philip's future after retirement, "I'm sure that he won't disappear, he will be greatly missed by everybody. He's been such a stable character in all our lives — he's always there and he's always been there for the Queen and I think we're very, very lucky to have him."

Serving longer than any other British consort, Philip has made 22,219 solo public engagements as consort, 637 solo overseas visits, 5,496 speeches, and 14 books. He currently supports or belongs to more than 780 organisations.

Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, is a nephew of late King Constantine I of Greece, and was born on the Greek island of Corfu. Philip is a former naval officer and courted Elizabeth during his service in the Royal Navy. He married her in 1947 in Westminster Abbey. This November will be their 70th wedding anniversary. Elizabeth described Philip as "my strength and stay".


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