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A Jolly Good Fellow, classy: Prince Philip, 96, LAST of 22,220 solo engagements in incredible 65 years of royal duties

By WcP.Story.Teller - Posted on 02 August 2017


Left: Prince Philip in his regalia in 1958. Right: On May 31 2017 after he announced his retirement.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip were married in 1957 and have been together ever since.

2003: The Queen can't hide her smiles as her husband dons a uniform for The Queen's Company Review at Windsor Castle.

The Duke of Edinburgh laughed as he spoke with senior officers.

Born at the family home, Mon Repos in Corfu Greece - allegedly on the kitchen table - on June 10 1921, Prince Philippos of Greece and Denmark came to Britain when he was just one year old.

The Duke has immersed himself in national life but also served in the Armed Forces, left, in his naval uniform circa 1982; and right, on a boat in Malta in 1949

When Princess Diana died suddenly in a car crash in 1997, Philip joined Charles, William, Harry and the Princess's brother, Earl Spencer, in the solemn procession behind her funeral cortege.

1953: The Duke of Edinburgh (right) visiting the Royal Marines Eastney Barracks, Portsmouth, accompanied by Lieutenant-General John Westall, in what was the Duke's first engagement with the Royal Marines.

At his last official royal engagements before retirement, the Duke of Edinburgh met serving Marines and also met veterans in links to the infantry force dating back to 1953.

Three cheers, a wave and he’s off - but not before making one last inappropriate remark: Prince Philip jokes with Marines as he carries out his 22,220th - and FINAL - official public engagement
* Prince Philip made decision himself and will step back as he and Queen reach 70-year wedding anniversary
* Final act was to wave to crowds as Marines gave three cheers and band played For He's a Jolly Good Fellow
* The Duke of Edinburgh joked that the Royal Marines should be 'locked up' for their madcap fundraising efforts
* He's now carried out 22,220 solo engagements, done 637 foreign visits and given 5,496 speeches since 1947
* The Queen will continue public duties as she has always vowed to serve her country for as long as she lives
* Philip's decision to step back from duties was fully supported by the Queen and was not related to his health

Prince Philip, 96, has retired from official royal engagements in his own inimitable style by joking with Royal Marines they should be 'locked up' for their madcap fundraising efforts.

As a former Royal Navy officer Philip's last public solo event, after more than 65 years championing his own causes and charities, fittingly featured men from the Royal Marines, an integral part of the Navy.

But from the demeanour of the Queen's Consort you would never have guessed he was retiring after carrying out 22,219 solo engagements since 1952.

The Duke of Edinburgh waved warmly to the crowds, acknowledging their cheers and was described as 'chirpy' by a senior officer.

Wearing a bowler hat and rain coat the Duke did not let a heavy downpour affect his final day which was staged in Buckingham Palace's forecourt.

The event marked the end of the 1664 Global Challenge, which recognises 1664, the year the Royal Marines were founded, and has seen marines push themselves to the limit with a series of physical exploits in aid of the Royal Marines Charity.

The Duke, who is the Captain General of the Royal Marines, met Corporal Will Gingell, 33, and Corporal Jamie Thompson, 31, who have run 1,664 miles over 100 days.

He also chatted to Sergeant Matt Burley, a physical training instructor, who swam 1,664 lengths underwater over 10 days and Lieutenant Colonel Aldeiy Alderson, who ran 100 kilometres in 12 hours wearing his Royal Marines uniform and polished boots.

Looking at the group of marines he made them laugh with the quip: 'You all should be locked up.'

The Queen's Consort announced in May he would be retiring from royal engagements, a decision which was fully supported by the Queen and was not medically related.

Buckingham Palace has stressed, although the Duke's diary of engagements has come to an end, he may decide to attend certain events, alongside the Queen, from time to time.

The Queen's public schedule continues as normal but other members of the Royal Family will step up in support of the monarch in her role as head of state.

Philip remains in good health but is getting increasingly frail and understandably can have his energy sapped by the 200-or-so public appearances he makes every year on his own or with his wife the Queen, who will never retire because she considers it a job for life.

He has now carried out around 22,220 solo engagements, gone on 637 foreign trips and given 5,493 speeches since 1947.

But the Duke will now take a well-earned retirement with 'Team Windsor' - the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry - set to take on some of his workload.

Today in the grounds of Buckingham Palace, Philip celebrated the achievements of servicemen who have taken part in the 1664 Global Challenge, a series of strength and endurance feats raising funds and awareness for the Royal Marines Charity.

The Queen's Consort announced in May he would be retiring from royal engagements after more than 65 years supporting the monarch in her role as head of state and attending events for his own charities and organisations.

Philip, 96, was praised at the time for his public service with Prime Minister Theresa May leading the tributes saying he had given the Queen 'steadfast support', while Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the Duke's 'clear sense of public duty' had inspired people for more than 60 years.

Despite his age Philip's decision - which was fully supported by the Queen and was not medically related - came as a surprise as he still appeared to relish meeting people and carrying out his public role.

The Duke is known for his quips and over the past few months has been joking about his impending retirement, even telling celebrity cook Prue Leith at a recent Palace event 'I'm discovering what it's like to be on your last legs'.

His life-long friend and relative, Lady Myra Butter, 92, told the Mail previously: 'He always used to say, quite openly, I'm past my sell-by date'.

And The Duke of Edinburgh made himself and a crowd of guests roar on May 4, when he announced his own retirement, after mathematician Sir Michael Atiyah stopped him at a St James's Palace event to say: 'I'm sorry to hear you're standing down', to which he replied: 'Well I can't stand up much longer'.

Buckingham Palace has stressed although the Duke's diary of engagements will come to an end on Wednesday he may decide to attend certain events, alongside the Queen, from time to time.

The Queen's public schedule continues as normal but other members of the Royal Family will step up in support of the monarch in her role as head of state.

On Wednesday, in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace Philip, in his role as Captain General of the Royal Marines, attended a parade to mark the finale of the 1664 Global Challenge.

His association with the Royal Marines dates back 64 years to June 2, 1953 when he was appointed Captain General in succession to the late King George VI.

The Global Challenge, which recognises the year 1664 when the Corps was founded, has seen Royal Marines all over the world raising money for the military unit's charity with a number of ingenious feats.

The 1,664 mile running challenge began in Plymouth on April 25 with Royal Marines running 16.64 miles a day for 100 days, with the gruelling trek due ending at Buckingham Palace today.

The Duke met some of the runners including two Royal Marines who have completed the entire distance.

The challenge, which recognises 1664, the year the Corps was founded, has seen Royal Marines all over the world fundraising, including Corporal Will Gingell, 33, and Corporal Jamie Thompson, 31, who have run 1,664 miles over 100 days.

Cpl Thompson, from Carlisle but based in Plymouth, whose epic marathon ended today, said: 'This is historic because this is the Duke's last royal engagement and we're a part of it, the Royal Marines are a part of it - so it's an absolute honour.'

Royal Marines from around the globe have also been taking part in extreme events including a 34-mile swim underwater and a company of Royal Marines lifting more than 20,000 tonnes and running 10,000 kilometres.

During the event Philip also met veterans and cadets before receiving the 1664 Global Challenge baton.

The parade ended with a march past, a royal salute and three cheers for the Captain General.

Over the years Philip has attended many Royal Marines events and in 2014, to mark the Corps' 350th anniversary, the Duke wore his full ceremonial uniform as Captain General to the state opening of parliament.

Lieutenant Colonel Gary Green, who devised the 1664 Global Challenge, said: 'It's an honour for the Armed Forces having the Duke of Edinburgh's last public engagement with the Corps and the Royal Navy - it's brilliant, we're delighted.'

He added: 'The Duke of Edinburgh is all about challenges, he's all about charity work and helping people and having somebody like the Duke as head of the Royal Marines, it just helps the Corps with our own challenges.

'With somebody who's head of the Corps, who's quite exceptional in what he does, it makes the Corps exceptional, it builds our Commando spirit and he's a wonderful figurehead for all Royal Marines to look up to.'

The Duke of Edinburgh has spent 52 days this year carrying out public engagements - more than the Queen and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Were Philip not standing down from official duties, he would be likely to end this year having clocked up some 90 days of public events, his lowest total in recent years.

In private, he is head of the family. To the public, he is the irascible figure who speaks his mind despite the consequences - famed for his outrageous gaffes.

He once warned a group of Scottish students in China that they would become 'slitty-eyed'.

In a Glasgow factory, he pointed to a fusebox of loose wires and remarked that it looked like it had been installed by an 'Indian'.

He fought for Britain during the Second World War, serving with distinction in the Royal Navy.

As a younger man he was a good shot, a first-class polo player, accomplished sailor, enthusiastic cricketer and international four-in-hand carriage driver.

Hardworking and inquisitive, he has dedicated himself to national life for decades and even when he gave up some of his charitable associations when he was 90, he has still been associated with more than 800 charities.

Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark was born on the island of Corfu on June 10 1921 to Prince Andrew of Greece and Princess Alice of Battenburg.

His early years were marked by upheaval after his family went into exile following a military coup in Greece which overthrew his uncle, King Constantine I.

George V, the Queen's grandfather, ordered the Royal Navy cruiser HMS Calypso to evacuate the family and Philip was carried to safety in a cot made from an orange box on December 1922, aged just 18 months.

His childhood lacked stability and he moved between relatives in France and Britain, and started studying at Cheam Prep School in 1928.

His parent split up and he rarely saw either of them - with his mother, who suffered from mental illlness, being confined to an asylum.

After spending a year at a school in Germany, he eventually went to Gordonstoun School in Morayshire.

Philip later joined the Royal Navy and, while a cadet, he caught the eye of a 13-year-old Princess Elizabeth - a distant cousin - when she visited the Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth with her parents, the King and Queen.

During the Second World War, he saw active service from the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean, and by 1945 was in Tokyo Bay as the Japanese surrendered.

He was mentioned in despatches for his service on battleship HMS Valiant in 1941.

Over the years his friendship with Princess Elizabeth grew and blossomed into love. In 1947, two years after the end of the war, the Princess married dashing, blond Philip in Westminster Abbey.

He renounced his Greek title and became a naturalised British subject, and was made Duke of Edinburgh by the King.

The Duke and the Princess had the first of their four children, Charles, now the Prince of Wales, in 1948 and Anne, now the Princess Royal, in 1950.

They initially enjoyed a simple married life during stays on the island of Malta, where the Duke was stationed with the Navy.

But their marital bliss changed forever when George VI died on February 6 1952 and Princess Elizabeth became Queen.

Philip - whose naval career had come to an end - had to a define a new role for himself as his wife diligently took to her duties as head of state.

He accompanied the Queen around the world on Commonwealth tours and state visits and across the UK.

He also undertook many solo royal engagements on his own, becoming involved with hundreds of organisations - often as a hands-on president, and continued to do so over the decades.

He set about modernising Buckingham Palace after being told to keep out of the Queen's official duties, and reorganised the Balmoral and Sandringham estates, as well as becoming ranger of Windsor Great Park.

'I tried to find useful things to do,' he said about starting a footman training programme at the Palace.

In 1956, he set up the Duke of Edinburgh's Award - inspired by his time at Gordonstoun and his mentor and headmaster Dr Kurt Hahn.

It has become one of the country's best-known youth self-improvement schemes, with million across the globe gaining their bronze, silver and gold awards.

The Duke takes a great interest in scientific and technological research and development, as well as the conservation of nature.

After a gap of 10 years, the Queen and Philip welcomed two more children - Andrew, now the Duke of York, in 1960, and Edward, now the Earl of Wessex, in 1964.

The Duke has been depicted as a tough but caring father.

An accomplished sportsman, he played polo regularly until 1971 and then took up four-in-hand carriage driving, representing Britain at several European and world championships.

A qualified pilot, he gained his RAF wings in 1953, helicopter wings in 1956 and private pilot's licence in 1959. His love of the sea never waned, and he competing regularly at Cowes Regatta.

The Duke witnessed first-hand the troubles faced by the Windsors in the 1990s - from the scandal surrounding Sarah, Duchess of York - who was caught having her toes sucked by her financial adviser - to the fall out of Charles and Diana's War of the Waleses.

When the Princess of Wales died suddenly in a car crash in 1997, Philip joined Charles, Princes William and Harry, and Diana's brother, Earl Spencer, in the solemn procession behind her funeral cortege.

The Duke also helped the Queen through the deaths of both her mother and sister in the Golden Jubilee year of 2002.

He has enjoyed good health throughout much of his life - recovering from a blocked coronary artery in 2011 and a bladder infection in 2012 - the latter leading him to miss the majority of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

He continued to take part in fast-paced, dangerous carriage-driving events, competing at international level until the age of 85.

When he turned 90 in June 2011 he insisted on no fuss, but the Queen bestowed on him a new title - Lord High Admiral, titular head of the Royal Navy.

It was a touching tribute to the man who given up his military career to support his wife, and devote himself to royal service.

A symbol of continuity within the monarchy and public life, the Duke of Edinburgh is the person the Queen relies upon above all others.

Philip's first ever private secretary Michael Parker, a friend from the Navy, once revealed: 'He told me the first day he offered me my job that his job, first, second and last was never to let her down.'

Timeline: The life and times of the Duke of Edinburgh

June 10 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 box, is evacuated from Greece on a Royal Navy ship after King Constantine I is forced to abdicate.

1923 - The family settles in the outskirts of Paris. But Princess Alice begins to suffer mental health problems and her religious beliefs become more eccentric.

1928 - At the age of eight Philip travels to England to live with his grandmother and his uncle.

1930 - Philip's mother Princess Alice is diagnosed with schizophrenia and committed to a sanatorium in Switzerland for two years. His father Prince Andrew heads to the French Riviera. Philip is sent to Cheam Preparatory School in the UK.

1933 - At the age of 12 he spends two terms at Salem School in south Germany, run by Kurt Hahn, who inspired Philip to set up the Duke of Edinburgh's Award.

1934 - Philip starts at Gordonstoun School in Morayshire , where he thrived and became head boy and captain of hockey and cricket.

November 1934 - Prince Philip and Princess Elizabeth both attend the wedding of Philip's cousin Princess Marina to Elizabeth's uncle George, Duke of Kent, at Westminster Abbey.

1936 - George V dies and is succeeded by his son Edward VIII, who abdicates 11 months later in December 1936 because of his love for American divorcee Wallis Simpson.

May 1937 - Coronation of George VI - Princess Elizabeth watches her father be crowned king. Philip is among the congregation.

November 1937 - Prince Philip attends the funeral 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 begins his naval career at the Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, where he wins two prizes for being the best cadet.

July 1939 - A young Princess Elizabeth falls in love with Philip when he escorts 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 mentioned in despatches for his actions during the Second World War in the Battle of Matapan after spotting an unexpected enemy vessel with the search lights. He is later awarded the Greek War Cross of Valour.

1942 - Philip rises 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 provides cover for the Canadian beachhead of the Allied landings in Sicily.

1943 - Prince Philip stays with the Royal Family a number of times during home leave and, after a Christmas visit, Princess Elizabeth places a photograph of him on her dressing table.

February 1944 - Philip is appointed First Lieutenant and second in command of the new Fleet Destroyer HMS Whelp, which sails to the Indian Ocean to join the British Pacific Fleet.

September 2 1945 - Philip is in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese surrender.

1946 - Philip returns to the UK, spending time at naval training schools. He asks George VI for Princess Elizabeth's hand in marriage.

February 29 1947 - Philip renounces his rights to the Greek throne and becomes a British subject - Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten.

July 9 1947 - The engagement of Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten to Princess Elizabeth is announced.

November 20 1947 - Philip marries Princess Elizabeth at Westminster Abbey. He is made the Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich shortly before his wedding.

October 1948 - The Duke attends the Royal Naval Staff College at Greenwich.

November 14 1948 - The Duke becomes a father when Princess Elizabeth gives birth to their first child - a son and future king - Prince Charles.

1949 - Philip is appointed First Lieutenant and second-in-command of HMS Chequers, operating from Malta with the Mediterranean fleet.

1950 - He is promoted to Lieutenant-Commander and then appointed in command of the frigate HMS Magpie in Malta.

October 21 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 prematurely because of the deteriorating health of King George VI and Princess Elizabeth is required to take on more royal responsibilities.

1951 - Princess Elizabeth and Philip make their first major tour together to Canada and the United States in October and November 1951, after which the Duke is made a Privy Counsellor.

February 6 1952 - George VI dies and Princess Elizabeth becomes Queen while in Kenya on a Commonwealth tour.

June 2 1953 - The Queen's Coronation at Westminster Abbey. The Duke of Edinburgh swore to be his wife's 'liege man of life and limb' and was the first layman to pay tender homage to the newly crowned monarch.

1956 - The Duke launches the Duke of Edinburgh's Award. The Duke tours the Commonwealth on the royal yacht Britannia, without the Queen.

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 criticism.

1964 - Prince Edward is born.

1971 - 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 remark about 'slitty eyes' on a state visit to China. The Queen celebrates her 60th birthday.

1986 - Prince Andrew marries Sarah Ferguson.

1992 - The Queen's 'annus horribilis' - The Princess Royal and Captain Phillips divorce, 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 starts to pay income tax to the Government.

1996 - The Prince of Wales divorces Diana, Princess of Wales. The Duke and Duchess of York divorce.

August 31 1997 - Diana, Princess of Wales dies in a car crash.

November 20 1997 - The Queen and the Duke's Golden Wedding anniversary.

April 1999 - A busy and demanding schedule did take its toll sometimes. While accompanying the Queen 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 die.

2002 - Philip asks an Aborigine if they still throw spears at each other during a tour of Australia.

2005 - The Prince of Wales marries Camilla Parker Bowles.

2007 - The Queen and the Duke celebrate their Diamond Wedding anniversary.

April 2008 - The Duke is admitted to hospital with a chest infection that forces him to cancel a number of engagements. He spends three nights in the private King Edward VII's Hospital.

2009 - The Duke becomes the longest serving royal consort in British history, overtaking Queen Charlotte, the wife of King George III.

2010 - Buckingham Palace announces Philip will step down as patron or president of more than a dozen organisations when he turns 90.

December 2010 - The Duke becomes a great-grandfather for the first time with the arrival of Peter and Autumn Phillips's daughter Savannah.

April 2011 - Prince William marries Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey. The Queen visits Ireland.

June 2011 - The Duke celebrates his 90th birthday. The Queen gives him a new title - Lord High Admiral, titular head of the Royal Navy.

Christmas 2011 - The Duke is rushed to hospital by helicopter after suffering chest pains. He spends four nights in hospital including Christmas Day and is treated for a blocked coronary artery at Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire.

2012 - The Queen's Diamond Jubilee. The Duke is forced to miss the majority of the celebrations when he falls ill 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 after 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 recuperating.

July 2013 - The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's son Prince George is born - third in line to the throne, a future king and the Duke's great-grandson.

May 2015 - Philip and the Queen's great-granddaughter Princess Charlotte of Cambridge is born.

September 2015 - The Queen becomes the longest reigning monarch in British history.

April 2016 - The Queen celebrates her 90th birthday.

June 2016 - Philip turns 95 - his birthday coincides with a weekend of festivities for the Queen's official 90th birthday.

October 2016 - The Queen becomes the longest reigning still serving monarch in the world after the death of the Thai king.

February 2017 - The Queen reaches her Sapphire Jubilee - 65 years on the throne.

May 4 2017 - Buckingham Palace announces that Philip is to step down from public duties.

August 2 2017 - Philip attends a Marines event - his 22,220th and last public event

THE Duke of Edinburgh left his final solo royal engagement to the tune of For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow as he entered retirement after 65 years.


Photo courtesy AFP, Getty Images, Hulton Archive - Getty, PA, AP, Daily Mail and The Sun">Novo Azulzinho

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