October 18, 2017

Prince Philip carries out final official engagement

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Media captionRoyal Marines cheered the Duke of Edinburgh outside Buckingham Palace

The Duke of Edinburgh met Royal Marines in his final solo public engagement before he retires from royal duties.

The 96-year-old announced his retirement in May, after decades of supporting the Queen, as well as attending events for his own charities and organisations.

Prince Philip has completed 22,219 solo engagements since 1952.

Outside Buckingham Palace, he met servicemen who have taken part in a 1,664-mile trek in aid of charity.

As Captain General of the Royal Marines, the duke attended a parade to mark the finale of the 1664 Global Challenge – a series of strength and endurance challenges raising funds and awareness for charity.

While his diary of engagements will come to an end, Buckingham Palace has said the duke may still decide to attend certain events alongside the Queen in the future.

The Queen’s public schedule will continue as normal.

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Corporal Jamie Thompson, 31, who attended the event – which was held in the rain outside Buckingham Palace – said it was “historic”.

“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,” he said.

The duke met Royal Marines and saluted them as they marched by, before raising his hat and waiving it to acknowledge three cheers in his honour.

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Prince Philip braved torrential rain outside Buckingham Palace

Earlier, Lady Myra Butter, who has known Prince Philip since the age of eight or nine, told Radio 4’s Today programme he was “very spirited, a young normal boy full of fun… we loved when he came to stay”.

Asked about what the duke would do next, she said: “I’m sure that he won’t disappear, he will be greatly missed by everybody.

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Media captionPrince Philip: Plaque unveiler extraordinaire!

“He’s been such a stable character in all our lives – he’s always there and he’s always been there for the Queen and I think we’re very, very lucky to have him.”

On announcing his retirement earlier this year, the royal consort was praised for his years of service, with Prime Minister Theresa May offering the country’s “deepest gratitude and good wishes”.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn wished him “all the best in his well-earned retirement”.

  • 22,219 solo engagements since 1952

  • 5,496 speeches given

  • 785 organisations have him as patron, president or member

  • 4 million people have taken part in Duke of Edinburgh Awards

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