“I’ve done my bit”, were the words uttered by Prince Philip during a BBC interview, which aired to mark his 90th birthday. His Royal Highness plans to ‘enjoy himself a bit’ now that he is a nonagenarian…
“I’ve done my bit”, were the words uttered by Prince Philip during a BBC interview, which aired to mark his 90th birthday. His Royal Highness plans to “enjoy himself a bit” now that he is a nonagenarian, and look forward to “less rushing about, less preparation, (and) less trying to think of something to say.
No-one can accuse the Duke of Edinburgh of not doing ‘his bit’; the Duke supports or holds the patronage of more than 800 charities, and is the longest-serving consort in British history.
Prince Philip was born in Corfu on the 10th June 1921, to parents Prince Andrew of Greece and Princess Alice of Battenberg. In 1939, as World War II loomed, Prince Philip left his much-talked-about school – Gordonstoun – to become a cadet at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth. While there he escorted the young princesses Elizabeth and Margaret during a royal tour of the college.
By 1943, Prince Philip had spent more time in the company of the Royal Family and, after a Christmas visit, Princess Elizabeth placed a photograph of him on her dressing table. Three years later, Prince Philip asked King George VI for his daughter’s hand in marriage. The engagement to Princess Elizabeth was officially announced on 9th July, 1946, they were married in 1947 and their first child, Prince Charles, was born in 1948. The rest is – as they say – history.
On the eve of his 90th birthday Prince Philip, dressed in his Grenadier Guards uniform, took the salute at the annual beating retreat ceremony on Horse Guards Parade. But it was business as usual on his birthday. He treated the day as a normal working day and hosted an event for the Royal National Institute for Deaf People at Buckingham Palace, during which he was given a set of ear defenders as a birthday present. Receiving the gift, he joked: “Can you get Radio 3 on this?”
Although it was a normal working day for Prince Philip, outside Buckingham Palace, the band of the Irish Guards played Happy Birthday for a crowd of tourists. And, to mark the milestone birthday, a 62-gun salute was fired from Gun Wharf at the Tower of London by the Honourable Artillery Company, the City of London’s Territorial Army regiment. The Royal Mint also marked the birthday, by producing a commemorative £5 coin, available in cupro-nickel, gold and silver, as well as a rare platinum edition at £5,450.
The Royal Family came together to celebrate on Sunday 14th June, with a service at St Georges’ Chapel, Windsor Castle. More than 750 guests joined the Queen, Prince William and his new bride, and other royals, who arrived for the service in a fleet of limousines, scurrying into the church under umbrellas to protect them from the heavy rain. Sportsmen, foreign royals, Prince Philip’s godchildren and staff who have worked for the royal family were among the guests. The Reverend David Conner gave the church service. He praised Prince Philip for supporting his wife for six decades, and paid tribute to the work he did with charities.
Despite The Duke of Edinburgh not wanting a fuss made, well-wishers have sent more than 2,000 birthday cards to Buckingham Palace – 10 times the amount received for his other birthdays.