Britain's Prince Philip ends 65 years of official engagements

Geneva Matthews
August 3, 2017

He will appear at a Royal Marines' charity parade outside the Queen's London residence, before he officially steps back from his royal duties. The name of the challenge refers to the year in which the corps was founded.

Another mistimed obituary for Prince Philip was published in May when the duke initially announced his retirement from public engagements.

In his capacity of Captain General of the Royal Marines, the Queen's husband attended the finale of the 1664 Global Challenge - a 1,664-mile trek in aid of charity.

"I hope the duke, after 22,219 solo engagements since 1952, can now enjoy a well-earned retirement!" she said.

The event, held in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace, will see the Duke attend in his role as Captain General of the Royal Marines, which he has held for 64 years since being appointed in 1953 following the death of King George VI.

Prince Philip will remain patron of some 780 organizations, while Queen Elizabeth II, 91, will continue to carry out "a full program of official engagements" with the support of other members of the royal family, the palace said.

Philip's career as a royal consort has often been marked by gaffes and missteps, most notably when he told a group of British expats: "If you stay here much longer you'll all be slitty-eyed" while on a trip to China.

"He loves the fact that Royal Marines, when they do something, they do something that's a little bit extraordinary, and the guys come up with these really weird and wonderful and extraordinary challenges and it makes him sort of, certainly on this occasion, chuckle".

Since the Queen's accession to the throne in 1953, the Duke has supported his wife in her royal duties as sovereign, accompanying her to ceremonies, state dinners, and tours overseas.

It was announced in May that Philip would no longer undertake his own programme of engagements, though he may still accompany the Queen at certain events from time to time.

As the Queen's husband of almost 70 years, Prince Philip is the longest-serving British consort (companion to the sovereign).

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