Prince Philip, the 99-year-old husband of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, made a rare public appearance on Wednesday to hand over his patronage of the Rifles to Prince Charles’s wife, Camilla, after 67 years of association with the infantry regiment.
A former naval officer renowned for his sometimes brusque manner and humour, Philip married Elizabeth in 1947, five years before she became queen. He is now by far the longest-serving consort of any British monarch.
Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, has been colonel-in-chief of the Rifles since its formatiion in 2007 but his connection to the regiment stretches back to 1953 as he has served as colonel-in-chief of successive regiments which make up the Rifles.
In a ceremony at Windsor Castle, west of London, four buglers announced Philip’s arrival and then sounded the “No More Parades” call to mark his final ceremony as colonel-in-chief.
A sprightly Philip, wearing a suit and tie and at times smiling, chatted to soliders ahead of the ceremony.
At a parallel ceremony at Highgrove House, nearly 100 miles (160 km) away in western England, Rifles’ Colonel Commandant General Sir Patrick Sanders welcomed Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, as the new colonel-in-chief.
Philip celebrated his 99th birthday on June 10. He stepped down from royal duties in August 2017 after completing more than 22,000 solo engagements but in recent years he has been increasingly rarely seen in public.
He did however attend the secret wedding of Princess Beatrice, elder daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah, Duchess of York, on Friday.