Duke of Edinburgh prepares to turn 95

The Duke of Edinburgh, right, with the Queen at Epsom for the Derby on Saturday. Picture: PA
The Duke of Edinburgh, right, with the Queen at Epsom for the Derby on Saturday. Picture: PA
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The Duke of Edinburgh celebrates his 95th birthday this week – but is likely to want a fuss-free day.

While the country’s attention will be focused on the Queen and national celebrations to mark her 90th birthday, Prince Philip will enter his 96th year.

The duke’s big day falls on Friday and coincides with a St Paul’s Cathedral service of thanksgiving for the life of the monarch, due to be attended by senior members of the Royal Family, David Cameron and dignitaries from across the globe.

Prince Philip continues to be a constant presence at the side of the monarch during many of her official duties and he carries out hundreds of public engagements in his own right.

The duke’s life has been a full one and perhaps his greatest achievement has been the success of his Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme – which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year and has inspired generations of young people to push themselves in a range of disciplines.

Despite a brief concern about his health last week when he cancelled an appearance, following medical advice, at commemorations on Orkney marking the First World War Battle of Jutland, the Queen’s consort appears well and in good spirits.

The duke did not attend hospital and was soon carrying out public engagements both at Buckingham Palace and with the public.

His birthday will be marked with traditional gun salutes with the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery firing 41 volleys at midday in Hyde Park on Friday. The Band of the Royal Artillery will play as horses pull the six First World War-era 13-pounder field guns into position, before the blank rounds are fired at ten-second intervals. An hour later, the Honourable Artillery Company will fire a 62-gun salute at the Tower of London.

The duke, who is known for his no-nonsense approach and acerbic wit, is the longest-serving consort in British history and also the oldest-serving partner of a reigning monarch.