The Duke of Edinburgh briefly came out of retirement today to take part in a rare official public engagement as he transfered his role as Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles to the Duchess of Cornwall.
But Philip, who has been rarely seen in public since he retired in 2017, was nearly 100 miles apart from his daughter-in-law Camilla, as they both carried out ceremonies to mark the historic occasion.
Amid extreme social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, Philip, 99, was at Windsor Castle in Berkshire, while the duchess was at her Gloucestershire home of Highgrove House.
The ceremony at Windsor Castle began at 12pm when four Buglers, of The Band and Bugles of The Rifles, sounded The Rifles Assembly to call upon the arrival of the Duke.
Philip was then thanked for his 67 years of support for The Rifles, and their forming and antecedent regiments, by Assistant Colonel Commandant, Major General Tom Copinger-Symes.
The Duke of Edinburgh waves today as he arrives for the transfer of the Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles at Windsor Castle
Prince Philip smiles during the transfer of the Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles at Windsor Castle this afternoon
The Duke today takes part in a rare official public engagement in Windsor as he transfers his Colonel-in-Chief role
Philip, pictured today, has served as Colonel-in-Chief of successive Regiments which now make up The Rifles since 1953
The ceremony at Windsor began today when four Buglers, of The Band and Bugles of The Rifles, sounded The Rifles Assembly
The Buglers then sounded The Rifles Regimental Call, followed by the ‘No More Parades’ call, to mark the Duke’s final ceremony as Colonel-in-Chief.
Royal expert Phil Dampier, who wrote the 2012 book Prince Philip: Wise Words and Golden Gaffes, tweeted today: ‘After health problems last winter, Prince Philip seems back on top form. Onward to 100!’
Immediately afterwards at Highgrove, the arrival of Camilla was marked by four Buglers of The Band and Bugles of The Rifles sounding The Rifles Assembly.
The Duchess was addressed by The Rifles’ Colonel Commandant, General Sir Patrick Sanders, who welcomed her as the new Colonel-in-Chief.
Prince Philip smiles during the transfer of the Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles at Windsor Castle in Berkshire this afternoon
The Buglers sounded The Rifles Regimental Call, followed by the ‘No More Parades’ call, during today’s ceremony at Windsor
The Duke of Edinburgh waves as he takes part in the transfer of the Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles at Windsor Castle today
The Buglers then sounded The Rifles Regimental Call and The Advance, following which Camilla met the Buglers and a small party from 4th Battalion The Rifles, before retiring for an audience with General Sanders.
Philip was recently pictured with the Queen at Windsor to mark his 99th birthday on June 10, and at Princess Beatrice’s wedding last Friday.
He was last seen at a big event when he was a guest at Lady Gabriella Windsor’s wedding in May 2019. The ceremony this afternoon is Philip’s first engagement in more than a year.
In June 2019, he held an audience when he received General Sir Nicholas Carter who was relinquishing his appointment as Colonel Commandant of The Rifles.
JULY 17, 2020: The Duke of Edinburgh with the Queen after Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi’s wedding, standing socially distanced outside The Royal Chapel of All Saints at Royal Lodge in Windsor last Friday
JUNE 6, 2020: The Queen and Prince Philip pose in the quadrangle of Windsor Castle to mark Philip’s 99th birthday on June 10
MAY 18, 2019: The Duke of Edinburgh shares a joke with the Duke of Sussex as they leave following the wedding of Lady Gabriella Windsor and Thomas Kingston at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle last year
DECEMBER 24, 2019: Prince Philip leaves King Edward VII’s Hospital in London on Christmas Eve last year after having treatment relating to a ‘pre-existing condition’. His stay was described as a ‘precautionary measure’ by Buckingham Palace. Philip left hospital after four nights and travelled to Sandringham to spend Christmas with the Queen
MAY 11, 2019: Philip takes his seat in the royal box with the Queen for the Royal Windsor Horse Show’s pageant event last year
MAY 9, 2019: The Duke of Edinburgh is seen driving a carriage at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in Berkshire last year
MAY 7, 2019: The duke makes a rare appearance at a royal engagement, joining the Queen and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough at a luncheon for Order of Merit members at Windsor Castle
On August 2, 2017, he carried out his final official engagement as he retired from public duties. Camilla was appointed Royal Colonel of 4th Battalion The Rifles in 2007 and will continue to hold this position.
Philip’s links to The Rifles stretches back to 1953 when he was appointed Colonel-in-Chief of The Wiltshire Regiment (Duke of Edinburgh’s).
He has served in the position for successive regiments which now make up The Rifles since, and has been Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles since its formation in 2007.
Camilla was appointed Royal Colonel of 4th Battalion The Rifles in 2007.
What has Prince Philip been up to over the past 18 months? Duke’s recent appearances revealed as he carries out a rare engagement at Windsor Castle
The Duke of Edinburgh retired nearly three years ago after decades of royal service. Philip, 99, has kept himself busy, holding audiences, attending royal weddings and meeting new additions to the family.
He survived a car crash early in 2019, emerging unscathed when his vehicle flipped over after colliding with another carrying two women and a baby.
The duke has been staying at Windsor Castle with the Queen for the past 18 weeks in HMS Bubble – the nickname given to the couple’s reduced household of devoted staff during lockdown.
As Philip briefly steps out of retirement to carry out a rare official public engagement this afternoon, here is a look at what he has been up to over the past year and a half:
- January 17 – The duke is involved in a car crash when the Land Rover Freelander he is driving overturns after hitting another vehicle carrying two women and a baby near the Sandringham estate.
- January 19- Photographs emerge of Philip driving a Land Rover without his seat belt on at Sandringham just two days after the crash.
- January 27 – It emerges that the duke has written to passenger Emma Fairweather wishing her a ‘speedy recovery from a very distressing experience’.
- February 9 – Buckingham Palace announces that Philip has voluntarily surrendered his driving licence ‘after careful consideration’.
- February 14 – The Crown Prosecution Service confirms that the duke will face no further action in relation to the accident.
- April 19 – Philip becomes the third oldest royal in British history, overtaking Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, who was 97 years and 10 months when she died in 1981.
- May 7 – The duke makes a rare appearance at a royal engagement, joining the Queen and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough at a luncheon for Order of Merit members at Windsor Castle.
- May 8 – Philip is pictured with his new great-grandson, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, son of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
- May 9 – The duke is seen driving a carriage at the Royal Windsor Horse Show.
- May 11 – Philip takes his seat in the royal box with the Queen and the Duke of Sussex for the horse show’s pageant event.
- May 16 – Philip receives Martin Palmer, secretary general, Alliance of Religions and Conservation, at Windsor Castle.
- May 18 – The duke looks in fine form as he attends Lady Gabriella Windsor’s wedding in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.
- June 10 – Philip turns 98.
- June 21 – The duke holds an audience with General Sir Nicholas Carter, who is relinquishing his appointment as Colonel Commandant of The Rifles.
- November 20 – The Queen and Philip reach their 72nd wedding anniversary, spending the day separately, with the monarch in London and the duke at Sandringham. On the same day, the Duke of York steps down from royal duties amid the Epstein scandal.
- December 20- The duke is admitted to King Edward VII’s Hospital in central London for treatment relating to a ‘pre-existing condition’. His stay is described as a ‘precautionary measure’ by Buckingham Palace.
- December 24 – Philip leaves hospital after four nights and travels to Sandringham to spend Christmas with the Queen.
- March 19 – The duke travels from Sandringham to Windsor Castle to stay with the Queen ahead of the nation going into lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic.
- April 20 – In his first major statement since his retirement, Philip praises key workers including refuse and postal staff who have been keeping essential services running.
- June 10 2020 – The duke turns 99 and is photographed with the Queen to celebrate the occasion.
- July 17 – The duke attends his granddaughter Princess Beatrice’s secret lockdown wedding.
- July 22 – In his first official engagement in more than a year, Philip is to take part in a ceremony at Windsor to hand over his role of Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles to the Duchess of Cornwall, who will be at Highgrove.