The Duke of Edinburgh has met Royal Marines who have finished a gigantic 1,664-mile trek, this is his last official Royal appearance before he withdraws from public duties.
In the grounds of Buckingham Palace, Philip praised the accomplishments of servicemen who have taken part in the 1664 Global Challenge, a series of strength and endurance achievements raising funds and awareness for the Royal Marines Charity.
The Queen’s Consort announced in May he would be withdrawing from royal duties following more than 65 years supporting the monarch in her position as head of state and attending events for his own charities and organisations.
In the forecourt of Buckingham Palace Philip, in his capacity as Captain General of the Royal Marines, attended a parade to mark the close of the 1664 Global Challenge.
Philip, 96, was celebrated at the time for his public service with Prime Minister Theresa May leading the tributes stating he had given the Queen constant support, while Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn announced the Duke’s distinct understanding of public service had inspired people for more than 60 years.
Despite his age, Philip’s decision, which was entirely supported by the Queen and was not medically related, came as a shock as he still seemed to enjoy engaging with people and carrying out his public position.
The Duke is recognised for his jokes and over the past few months has been joking about his approaching departure, even telling celebrity chef Prue Leith at a Palace event “I’m discovering what it’s like to be on your last legs”.
Buckingham Palace has emphasised although the Duke’s diary of appointments will come to a close on Wednesday, he might choose to attend individual events, alongside the Queen, from time to time.
The Queen’s public agenda proceeds as usual, but other members of the Royal Family will step up in support of the Monarch in her position as head of state.
Prince Philip’s relationship with the Royal Marines dates back 64 years to June 2, 1953, when he was elected Captain General in succession to the late King George VI.
The challenge, which recognises the year 1664 when the Corps was established, has seen Royal Marines all over the world raising funds for the military unit’s charity with a number of ingenious achievements.
The 1,664-mile running hurdle started in Plymouth on April 25 with Royal Marines running 16.64 miles a day for 100 days, with the exhausting trek due to finish at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday.
The Duke will meet some of the runners including two Royal Marines who have completed the whole distance.
Royal Marines from around the globe have also been taking part in extreme events including a 34-mile swim underwater and a troop of Royal Marines lifting more than 20,000 tonnes and running 10,000 kilometres.
Throughout the event, Philip will further engage with ex-soldiers and cadets before getting the 1664 Global Challenge baton.
The parade will close with a parade past, a royal fanfare and three hurrahs for the Captain General.
Over the years, Prince Philip has tended numerous Royal Marines events and in 2014, to mark the Corps’ 350th anniversary, the Duke donned his entire ceremonial costume as Captain General to the state opening of Parliament.
Did you know? Prince Philip was the first member of the Royal Family to fly in a helicopter.
Prince Phillip From Greece to a great-grandfather.
10 June 1921, Prince Philippos of Greece and Denmark is born to Prince Andrew of Greece and Princess Alice of Battenberg in the family home, Mon Repos, on Corfu. He is the youngest of five children.
December 1922, eighteen-month-old Prince Philip, travelling in a makeshift cot made from an orange crate, is evacuated from Greece on a Royal Navy ship after King Constantine I is forced to resign.
1923, the family locates in the outskirts of Paris, however Princess Alice starts to experience mental health problems and her devout beliefs become more strange.
1928, at the age of eight Philip, goes to England to live with his grandmother and his uncle.
1930, Philip’s mother Princess Alice is diagnosed with schizophrenia and confined to a sanitarium in Switzerland for two years. His father Prince Andrew travels to the French Riviera. Philip is shipped to Cheam Preparatory School in the United Kingdom.
1933, at the age of 12 he spends two terms at Salem School in south Germany, controlled by Kurt Hahn, who encouraged Philip to set up the Duke of Edinburgh Award.
November 1934, Prince Philip and Princess Elizabeth both attend the union of Philip’s cousin Princess Marina to Elizabeth’s uncle George, Duke of Kent, at Westminster Abbey.
1934, Philip starts at Gordonstoun School in Morayshire. He flourishes, becoming head boy and leader of hockey and cricket.
1936, George V dies and is replaced by his son Edward VIII, who resigns 11 months later in December 1936 because of his affection for American divorcée Wallis Simpson.
May 1937, Coronation of George VI and Princess Elizabeth watches her father being crowned king. Philip is amongst the gathering.
November 1937, Prince Philip attends the internment in Germany of his sister Cecilie, who was killed in a plane crash at the age of 26.
May 1939, in the run-up to the start of the Second World War, Philip finishes at Gordonstoun and starts his naval work at the Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, where he gains two prizes for being the greatest cadet.
July 1939, the young Princess Elizabeth falls in love with Philip when he accompanies her and her sister Princess Margaret during a tour of the college.
1940, Philip joins the battleship HMS Ramillies in 1940 in Colombo as a midshipman and spends six months in the Indian Ocean.
January 1941, he serves on the HMS Valiant in Alexandria and two months later is named in despatches for his actions throughout the Second World War in the Battle of Matapan after detecting an unforeseen enemy ship with the search lights. He is later given the Greek War Cross of Valour.
1942, Philip progresses through the ranks and becomes one of the youngest officers in the Royal Navy to be made First Lieutenant and second-in-command of a ship, HMS Wallace.
1943, HMS Wallace is despatched to the Mediterranean and gives cover for the Canadian beachhead of the Allied landings in Sicily.
Prince Philip visits with the Royal Family a number of times throughout home leave and, following a Christmas visit, Princess Elizabeth sets a picture of him on her dressing table.
2 September 1945, Philip is in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese surrender.
1946, Philip returns to the United Kingdom, spending time at naval training schools. He asks George VI for Princess Elizabeth’s hand in matrimony.
29 February 1947, Philip disavows his claims to the Greek throne and becomes a British citizen, Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten.
9 July 1947, the engagement of Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten to Princess Elizabeth is announced.
20 November 1947, Philip marries Princess Elizabeth at Westminster Abbey. He is made the Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich shortly before his marriage.
October 1948, the Duke visits the Royal Naval Staff College at Greenwich.
14 November 1948, the Duke becomes a father when Princess Elizabeth gives birth to their first son, a son and eventual leader, Prince Charles.
1949, Philip is elected First Lieutenant and second-in-command of HMS Chequers, working from Malta with the Mediterranean fleet.
1950, he is advanced to Lieutenant-Commander and then appointed in charge of the frigate HMS Magpie in Malta.
21 October 1950, Philip and Elizabeth’s second child, Princess Anne, is born.
1951, the Duke and Princess Elizabeth return home from Malta to Clarence House. Philip leaves the Navy early because of the deteriorating well-being of King George VI. Prince and Elizabeth are expected to take on extra royal duties.
Princess Elizabeth and Philip make their first important tour together to Canada and the United States in October and November 1951, following which the Duke is made a Privy Counsellor.
6 February 1952, George VI dies and Princess Elizabeth becomes Monarch while in Kenya on a Commonwealth tour.
2 June 1953, the Queen’s Coronation at Westminster Abbey. The Duke of Edinburgh vows to be his wife’s “liege man of life and limb” and is the first layman to pay kind loyalty to the newly-crowned sovereign.
1956, the Duke begins the Duke of Edinburgh Award. The Duke travels the Commonwealth on the royal yacht Britannia, without the Monarch.
February 1957, the Queen gives the Duke the style and title of a Prince of the United Kingdom.
February 1960, Prince Andrew is born.
1961, the Duke becomes the first President of the World Wildlife Fund-UK, becoming its international president in 1981. But his shooting of a tiger while in India sparks judgment.
1964, Prince Edward is born.
1971, the Duke gives up polo but goes on to take up carriage driving.
1977, the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, 25 years on the throne.
1981, Prince Charles marries Lady Diana Spencer.
1982, Prince William, a future king is born and Prince Andrew comes back safely from the Falklands War.
1984, Prince Harry is born.
1986, the Duke makes a comment about slitty eyes on a state appointment to China and the Monarch celebrates her 60th birthday.
Prince Andrew marries Sarah Ferguson.
1992, the Queen’s annus horribilis and the Princess Royal and Captain Phillips split, the Prince and Princess of Wales and the Duke and Duchess of York separate and Windsor Castle is hit by a fire.
1993, the Queen begins to pay income tax to the Government.
1996, the Prince of Wales divorces Diana, Princess of Wales and the Duke and Duchess of York split.
31 August 1997, Diana, Princess of Wales, dies in a car wreck.
20 November 1997, the Queen and the Duke’s Golden Wedding anniversary.
April 1999, is a hectic and difficult agenda that did take its toll sometimes. While attending the Monarch on a state visit to South Korea, Philip falls asleep at a banquet.
2000, a new millennium and the Queen Mother’s 100th year.
2002, the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, 50 years on the throne. The Queen’s younger sister Princess Margaret and the Queen Mother died.
Philip asks an Aborigine if they still launch spears at each other throughout a tour of Australia.
2007, the Monarch and the Duke mark their Diamond Wedding anniversary.
April 2008, the Duke is admitted to hospital with a chest infection that requires him to cancel a number of commitments. He spends three nights in the private King Edward VII’s Hospital.
December 2010, the Duke becomes a great-grandfather for the first time with the addition of Peter and Autumn Phillips’ daughter Savannah.
2010, Buckingham Palace announces Philip will step down as patron or president of more than a dozen organisations when he turns 90.
June 2011, the Duke marks his 90th birthday. The Queen gives him a new title, Lord High Admiral, the titular head of the Royal Navy.
April 2011, Prince William weds Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey and the Monarch visits Ireland.
Christmas 2011, the Duke is raced to the hospital by helicopter after experiencing chest pains. He spends four nights in the hospital, including Christmas Day, and is treated for a blocked coronary artery at Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire.
2012, is the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Duke is forced to miss the preponderance of the festivities when he falls unwell with a bladder infection.
August 2012, Philip is treated for a bladder infection once again and spends five nights in hospital in Aberdeen, missing the opening of the Paralympic Games.
June 2013, two days following the service to mark the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s coronation, he is hospitalised for an operation on his abdomen and spends two months recovering.
July 2013, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s son Prince George is born, third in line to the throne, a prospective king and the Duke’s great-grandson.
May 2015, Prince Philip and the Queen’s great-granddaughter Princess Charlotte of Cambridge is born.
September 2015, the Monarch becomes the longest-reigning ruler in British history.
April 2016, the Queen marks her 90th birthday.
October 2016, the Monarch becomes the world’s longest-reigning living ruler, following the death of Thai King Rama IX.
June 2016, Philip turns 95, his birthday coincides with a weekend of celebrations for the Queen’s official 90th birthday.
4 May 2017, Buckingham Palace announces that Philip is to step down from public engagements in the autumn.
February 2017, the Monarch reaches her Sapphire Jubilee, 65 years on the throne.
2 August 2017, Prince Philip’s closing scheduled public duty, and the Captain General’s Parade at Buckingham Palace. Philip has held the office of captain general of the Royal Marines since 1953.
There are not many men who can still fit into the suit they wore on their wedding day, however, it is a measure of the Duke of Edinburgh’s extraordinary great stamina and energy that he can make such a striking claim.
Just a few weeks shy of his 96th birthday Prince Philip is thought to be in exceptionally great shape and his secret seems to be deceptively easy, regular exercise, a balanced diet and a healthy measure of sheer will power.
Prime to this is a management of small but intense workout utilised by both the Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Charles, called the 5BX Plan.
The program, created to increase the fitness of recruits for the Royal Canadian Air Force, can be carried out in a confined area, with no warm up or equipment needed, utilising five fundamental activities to strengthen each muscle in the body.
Like any person his age, the Duke has, of course, had the occasional health scare, but their rarity has only helped to highlight his overall health and durability.
Those who know Prince Philip say none of this is an accident. He works at staying healthy and, in a reflection of his days serving in the Royal Navy, has remained determined never to let himself go.
He is a man who has always looked after himself and taken custody of his body. He’s someone who enjoys physical exercise and he’s amazingly physically fit. He’s pretty picky about what he eats. If he puts on any weight at all, he will make certain he loses it.
The Duke prefers to walk and take the stairs where he can, and can still be seen behind the reins of a horse carriage in the grounds of Windsor Great Park.
Prince Philip took up carriage driving in 1971 after only withdrawing from polo at the age of 50 because of an arthritic wrist.
He used to compete, taking part in games such as the International Grand Prix in the Royal Windsor Horse Show, but now likes to put the ponies through their steps for pleasure.
It was only when he reached the age of 82 that Philip chose for the first time not to take part in the Trooping the Colour ceremony on horseback. Alternatively, he travelled in a carriage with the Queen.
Buckingham Palace has long declined to elaborate on the specifics of the Duke’s exercise regime but verifies he is an enthusiastic walker and points out that it takes quite a lot of energy to manage two or three ponies towing a carriage.
With each fleeting birthday, the Duke’s diet has been the topic of renewed speculation. Those who have been able to observe him at close quarters state it is usually a low carbohydrate regime, comparable to the Atkins-diet.
He is believed to favour black coffee, seldom drinking tea of any kind, and appreciates the rare fry-up for breakfast, though he further prefers to commence the day with oatcakes with honey.
The Duke consumes small quantities of alcohol and one biographer observed that he is partial to a pale ale at lunchtime.
Prince Philip’s longstanding personal clothier has vouched for the fact that he can still fit into the very naval uniform he donned on his wedding day.
There’s not a measure of fat on him, which is why he dons his outfits so well and he’s really well proportioned. He’s got moderately lengthy pins, and he doesn’t bear much ballast.
The Prince’s measurements have remained mainly consistent over the past five decades. He was a 31in waist when he was first measured, and presently just a 34, that’s unbelievable and he’s not had to have any of the threads let out.
The Duke’s determination to give up smoking virtually overnight in 1947, shortly before his wedding to the Monarch, has no doubt added to his excellent health and extended years.
So much so, that he was able to tell experts at the Francis Crick Institute, in November last year, that he had not had the flu for 40 years and he has further stated that he avoids consulting doctors because of their conflicting views.
Unavoidably, nevertheless, there have been low periods when convalescence or even appointments to the hospital were needed and very recently both the Monarch and the Duke fell unwell with heavy colds before Christmas last year, requiring them to delay their excursion to Sandringham by a day.
Shortly before his 95th birthday in June 2016, Prince Philip pulled out of the Battle of Jutland anniversary celebrations following medical opinion concerning a minor illness.
However, he was at the Queen’s side several days later for her official birthday festivities, including a service of thanksgiving, Trooping the Colour and a street party in The Mall, but in May 2014, the Duke had a minor procedure carried out on his right hand at Buckingham Palace and in June the past year, he spent two months convalescing following an exploratory procedure on his abdomen.
In December 2011 he was fitted with a heart stent and has twice been treated for bladder infections, including throughout the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee weekend in June 2012, when he fell unwell following having to stand in the cold on a barge throughout the Thames pageant.
On leaving the hospital, the day before his 91st birthday, Prince Philip was asked if he was feeling better. He answered, in his typical fashion: “Well, I wouldn’t be coming out if I wasn’t.”
The Prince has this selective manner about him, some people like it, some people loathe it but his approach, as irritating as it is sometimes to some people is not intended to be antagonistic, just really tongue in cheek entertainment.
If he’s asked a dumb question, he will just give a funny response, which really makes him a pretty down to earth sort of person, with a pretty good sense of humour.
His unbelievable energy, extraordinary sound vitality and a strong sense of public responsibility have seen Prince Philip through a myriad of official appointments over the course of his 64-year union to our Monarch.
Yet it is the unashamedly politically incorrect remarks he makes that have drawn the greatest attention over the years. Furthermore, as we pay praise to what Philip himself defined as “Dontopedalogy”, the ability to open your trap and putting your foot in it, a craftsmanship which he has practised for a great many years.
Philip has made some really huge boobs over the years on state appointments:
‘You look like you’re ready for bed!’ To the President of Nigeria, who was wearing traditional robes.
‘Do you still throw spears at each other?’ To Aboriginal leader William Brin during a visit to the Aboriginal Cultural Park in Queensland, 2002.
‘We don’t come here for our health. We can think of other ways of enjoying ourselves.’ On a trip to Canada in 1976.
‘You managed not to get eaten then?’ To a British student who was trekking in Papua New Guinea, during an official visit in 1998.
‘Aren’t most of you descended from pirates?’ To residents of the Cayman Islands in 1994.
‘I would like to go to Russia very much, although the bastards murdered half my family.’ In 1967, when asked if he would like to visit the Soviet Union.
‘Damn fool question!’ To a BBC journalist at a banquet at the Elysée Palace in Paris after she asked the Queen if she was enjoying her stay.
‘It’s a vast waste of space.’ To guests at the opening reception of a new £18 million British Embassy in Berlin in 2000.
‘You can’t have been here that long, you haven’t got a pot belly.’ To a British tourist, he met during a tour of the Hungarian capital Budapest in 1993.
‘How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to pass the test?’ To a Scottish driving instructor in 1995.
‘It looks as though it was put in by an Indian.’ The Prince’s verdict on a fuse box given during a tour of a Scottish factory in August 1999. He later apologised: ‘I meant to say, Cowboys. I just got my cowboys and Indians mixed up.’
‘People usually say that after a fire it is water damage that is the worst. We are still drying out Windsor Castle.’ To survivors of the Lockerbie bombing in 1993.
‘Ghastly.’ Prince Philip’s opinion of Beijing, during a tour of China in 1986.
‘If it has got four legs and it is not a chair, if it has got two wings and it flies but is not an aeroplane, and if it swims and it is not a submarine, the Cantonese will eat it.’ To a meeting of the World Wildlife Fund in 1986.
‘If you stay here much longer, you will go home with slitty eyes.’ To a British student on a visit to China in 1986.
On Multi-cultural Britain:
‘There’s a lot of your family in tonight.’ After noticing business leader Atul Patel’s name badge during a Buckingham Palace reception for 400 influential British Indians in 2009.
‘So who’s on drugs here? He looks as if he’s on drugs.’ To a 14-year-old member of a Bangladeshi youth club in 2002.
‘Are you all one family?’ Said to mixed-race dance troupe Diversity at the 2009 Royal Variety Performance.
‘British women can’t cook.’ Endearing himself to the Scottish Women’s Institute in 1961.
‘Ah, so this is feminist corner then.’ To a group of female Labour MPs at a Buckingham Palace drinks party in 2000.
‘You are a woman, aren’t you?’ To a Kenyan woman in 1984, after accepting a state gift.
‘If it doesn’t fart or eat hay, she isn’t interested.’ On his daughter, Princess Anne.
‘When a man opens the car door for his wife, it’s either a new car or a new wife.’
‘What do you gargle with — pebbles?’ To Tom Jones, after the Royal Variety Performance, 1969. He later added: ‘It is very difficult at all to see how it is possible to become immensely valuable by singing what I think are the most hideous songs.’
‘Oh, it’s you that owns that ghastly car, is it? We often see it when driving to Windsor Castle.’ To near-neighbour Elton John after hearing that he had sold his Watford FC-themed Aston Martin in 2001.
‘I wish he’d turn the microphone off!’ During Elton John’s performance at the 73rd Royal Variety Show in 2001.
On Food and Drink:
‘Get me a beer. I don’t care what kind it is, just get me a beer!’ On being offered fine Italian wines by Prime Minister Giuliano Amato at a dinner in Rome in 2000.
‘Don’t feed your rabbits pawpaw fruit, it acts as a contraceptive. Then again, it might not work on rabbits.’ To a Caribbean rabbit breeder in Anguilla in 1994.
On Class and Money:
‘People think there’s a rigid class system here, but dukes have been known to marry chorus girls. Some have even married Americans.’ In 2000.
‘If you travel as much as we do, you appreciate the improvements in aircraft design of less noise and more comfort, provided you don’t travel in something called economy class, which sounds ghastly.’ To the Aircraft Research Association in 2002.
‘All money nowadays seems to be produced with a natural homing instinct for the Treasury.’ Lamenting the rate of British tax in 1963.
‘We go into the red next year. I shall probably have to give up polo.’ On the Royal Family’s finances in 1969.
‘Everybody was saying we must have more leisure. Now they are complaining they are unemployed.’ Said at the height of the recession in 1981.
On Art and Fashion:
‘You didn’t design your beard too well, did you? You really must try better with your beard.’ To a young fashion designer at Buckingham Palace in 2009.
‘It looks like the kind of thing my daughter would bring back from her school art lessons.’ On seeing an exhibition of ‘primitive’ Ethiopian art in 1965.
On the Press:
‘You have mosquitos. I have the Press.’ To the matron of a hospital in the Caribbean.
He’s excellent and his sense of humour is so cheeky and playful.
Nevertheless, the greatest one of all was when the Pope was visiting Holyrood. On seeing Iain Gray, Prince Philip noticed his tie which was in the St. Ninian’s Day tartan, a design that had been created to mark the event.
He turned to Annabel Goldie, the Scottish Tory leader who was standing alongside Iain Gray, and the Prince asked, ‘Have you got a pair of knickers made out of this stuff?’, to which she promptly answered, ‘I can’t possibly comment and even if I did I couldn’t possibly exhibit them’.
This one was a National treasure when Philip stated, ‘In the event that I am reincarnated, I would like to return as a deadly virus, in order to contribute something to solve overpopulation’, which Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh stated in 1988.
The royal couple said “I do” on November 20, 1947, in a grand celebration at Westminster Abbey, where their withstanding relationship was based on their reciprocal love and admiration but further a partaken sense of humour, after all, Prince Philip is especially hilarious.
As the man who remains to stand behind and supported his Queen, Philip has built a royal benchmark for marvellous relationship goals.
In fact, the Duke of Edinburgh traipse around and quips that he is the fella who belongs to Mrs Queen, rather than being professionally qualified in something.
The mother-of-four is really relaxed around her man and it’s not unknown for the Monarch to tell the Duke to shut up. Although there was a point when you wouldn’t get a peep out of her. She was so bashful and you couldn’t get a sound out of her, Philip recollected of his encounter with Elizabeth in 1939.
Following 50 years of marriage, Philip famously wisecracked that you could take it from him, the Queen has the kind of patience in abundance and that the secret of a contented marriage is to have diverse interests.
Kidding aside, it is obvious that it is the Prince’s total commitment to his wife that has been a spine to their unbelievable partnership and his first job, second and last is never to let the Queen down. The way he looks at her, even after decades of marriage, Prince Philip has but one Queen.
Laughing their way through life has made for an excellent union.
Forever by her side, Prince Philip is the Queen’s number one confidant.