Prince Philip heartbreak: Duke bows out with final salute ending 80 year military career


PRINCE Philip has stepped down from his role of Colonel-in-Chief of British Army regiment The Rifles, following a military career spanning over 80 years.

The Duke of Edinburgh handed over the role to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, yesterday in what was the Prince’s first public appearance in over a year. Prince Philip looked smart and proud as he attended the ceremony in a navy suit and striped tie. His military career makes him the longest-serving consort in British history, and though his active career ended in 1951, the Prince has had a close connection with the armed forces ever since. At yesterday’s ceremony, Colonel Commandant of the Rifles, General Sir Patrick Sanders, handed over Prince Philip’s Colonel-in-Chief title to Camilla. Assistant Colonel Commandant, Major General Tom Copinger-Symes, offered the salute and paid tribute to Philip. He told him: “Your Royal Highness, Colonel-in-Chief… all Rifleman, serving or retired would like to thank you for 67 years of continuous service, support and leadership to the Rifles and our forming and antecedent regiments.
Prince Philip at The Rifles ceremony
Prince Philip handed over his Rifles title to Camilla yesterday. (Image: Samir Hussein / WireImage / Getty) “And on this occasion, as you hand over your duties, to her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Cornwall, we would like to wish you fair wind and following seas.” The Duke had held that title since the The Rifles regiment was first formed in 2007. The Duke of Edinburgh was born into an unsteady life on the Greek island of Corfu on June 10, 1921. Less than two years later, he and his family were evacuated on a Royal Navy ship.
Prince Philip smiling at The Rifles ceremony
Prince Philip held senior roles on a number of Navy ships in his career. (Image: Samir Hussein / WireImage / Getty) It was not until Prince Philip was eight years old that he travelled to England to live with his grandmother and uncle, where he began his military career in 1939 ahead of World War II. During the extensive military career that followed, the Duke saw action in the Battle of Crete and the Battle of Cape Matapan. He was also present in Tokyo when the Japanese surrendered to Allied Forces in 1945. According to a Forces timeline of his history, The Duke quickly climbed the military ranks after joining the Navy. In 1940, he joined the battleship HMS Ramillies, spending six months on the water in the Indian Ocean.
Prince Philip smiles at guard at ceremony
Prince Philip at yesterday’s ceremony – the Duke has remained close to the military for decades. (Image: Samir Hussein / WireImage / Getty) The following year, Prince Philip served on another ship – the HMS Valiant – and was quickly commended for spotting an enemy vessel with search lights. He was soon awarded the Greek War Cross of Valour, and soon became one of the youngest officers in the entire Navy to achieve the rank of First Lieutenant. The Duke was also made second-in-command of the HMS Wallace, which was sent out to the Mediterranean to provide cover in Sicily. A year later, the Duke carried his rank over to a Fleet Destroyer – the HMS Whelp – which was active in the Indian Ocean as part of the British Pacific Fleet.
Prince Philip and the Queen smiling
Prince Philip proposed to the Queen in 1946. (Image: Tim Graham / Getty) In 1946, the Duke had returned home, and asked for Princess Elizabeth’s hand in marriage. It was not until 1947 that Prince Philip renounced his rights to the Greek throne to become a subject of Britain. Prince Philip returned to sea, holding senior roles on various ships, until 1951 where his active military career ended in order for him to support Princess Elizabeth in her roles. Even afterwards, he was awarded a range of other titles including Admiral of the Sea Cadet Corps, Colonel-in-Chief of the Army Cadet Force, Air Commodore-in-Chief of the Air Training Corps, and Commander of the Royal Navy. Source: EXPRESS CO UK
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