Prince Philip makes his final public engagement

Prince Philip is to hold his final official public royal engagement. Picture: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty
Prince Philip is to hold his final official public royal engagement. Picture: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty
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It is a parade which will bring the curtain down on 65 years of service, during which time he has carried out more than 22,000 solo engagements, visited nearly 150 countries, and given over 5,000 speeches, some of which have stuck in the memory more than others.

Now, a few weeks after celebrating his 96th birthday, the Duke of Edinburgh will today fulfil his final royal appointment before retreating from the limelight of a lifetime spent in public service.

After decades spent circling the globe, Prince Philip’s final official event will take place closer to home, with an audience of Royal Marines gathering at Buckingham Palace.

In his role as Captain General of the Royal Marines, the Queen’s Consort will congratulate the servicemen, who have completed a mammoth 1,664 mile trek as part of the 1664 Global Challenge, a series of strength and endurance feats which raise funds for the Royal Marines Charity.

The congratulatory parade will see the Duke meet some of the runners, including two Royal Marines who have completed the entire distance. Others around the globe have embarked on gruelling events, including a 34 mile underwater swim.

The appointment is a fitting one, given Philip’s long association with the Royal Marines. He was appointed Captain General back in 2 June 1953, succeeding the late King George VI.

Philip announced in May he would be retiring from royal engagements after supporting the monarch in her role as head of state and attending events for his own charities and organisations.

He 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 Palace event “I’m discovering what it’s like to be on your last legs.”
Buckingham Palace has stressed although the Duke’s diary of engagements will come to an end after today, 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.