Friday, June 10, 2011

Prince Philip turns 90 and vows to 'slow down' his work load, best to chuck in a few royal engagements a week to keep your hand, too young to retire!

Dear All

The Duke of Edinburgh has turned 90!

Well done son, great achievement but he has told the BBC he is thinking of "winding down" and reducing his workload as a senior member of the royal family.

90 is a good age but the Queen mum was still rattling away at the ton!

In an interview with the BBC's Fiona Bruce, the Queen's husband said:

"I reckon I've done my bit."

His birthday on Friday will be spent hosting a Buckingham Palace event for the Royal National Institute for Deaf People, which is marking its centenary.

He will attend a private service of thanksgiving at Windsor on Sunday.

Prince Phillip has in the past been known for a few politically incorrect gaffes which brighten up a Royal tour.

But he is a good observer, and a guy who likes to go on facts!

To mark the birthday there will be a 62-gun salute by the Honourable Artillery Company on Friday afternoon.

The Royal Mint has marked the milestone by producing a commemorative £5 coin, available in cupro-nickel, gold and silver, as well as a rare platinum edition at £5,450.

The souvenir piece features a portrait of Prince Philip on one side and the Queen on the other - the first time a reigning monarch and consort have appeared on opposite sides of a UK coin.

Sculptor Mark Richards, who designed the coin, said:

"The challenge for me, in creating this design, was to capture a man who gives great support to the monarch and the country, while remaining largely in the background. Therefore I have focused on a close-up of his face with all its accumulated dignity, wisdom and experience."

The Queen turned 85 in April and she will reach her Diamond Jubilee next year, marking 60 years since she came to the throne.

She married Prince Philip in 1947, making him the longest-serving consort in British history.

In the interview with the BBC, he talked about his advancing years, saying it was better to get out "before you reach your sell-by date".

Prince Philip has never been depicted by himself on the reverse of a coin.

He also said:

"On top of that, your memory's going - I can't remember names and things."

I know how you feel mate, sometimes have that problem myself.

Over many decades, the duke has embraced a range of causes including the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme and conservation, though he insisted he was not a "green" campaigner.

"I think that there's a difference between being concerned for the conservation of nature and being a bunny hugger."

How can someone who says that step down?

BBC royal correspondent Peter Hunt said the prince's comments were typically frank admissions.

He said the Duke of Edinburgh was a no-nonsense royal whose crucial role had been to support the Queen, especially during years of turmoil.

On the eve of his birthday Prince Philip, dressed in his Grenadier Guards uniform, took the salute at the annual beating retreat ceremony on Horse Guards Parade.

Watched by 4,000 members of the public, almost 300 members of bands of the Household Division performed under a blue evening sky.

The division was supported by the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery and the United States Army Europe Band and Chorus.

The latter brought a touch of wartime nostalgia to the ceremony, singing the White Cliffs Of Dover and slow-dancing in pairs.

The origins of the beating retreat ceremony lie in the early days of chivalry when beating or sounding retreat called a halt to the day's fighting, a return to camp and the mounting of the guard for the night.

Happy birthday Prince Phillip and enjoy the day.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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