Britain's Prince Philip hands over patronage of the Rifles after 67 years

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Prince Philip, the 99-year-old husband of Britain's Queen Elizabeth, made a rare public appearance on Wednesday. After 67 years of association with the Rifles infantry regiment, he handed his patronage to Prince Charles's wife, Camilla.
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Prince Philip at Windsor Castle in Britain, on July 22, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS

WINDSOR, ENGLAND (REUTERS) - Prince Philip, the 99-year-old husband of Britain's Queen Elizabeth, made a rare public appearance on Wednesday (July 22) 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, Prince Philip married then Princess Elizabeth in 1947, five years before she became queen. He is now by far the longest-serving consort of any British monarch.

The Duke of Edinburgh has been colonel-in-chief of the Rifles since its formation 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 the Prince's arrival and then sounded the "No More Parades" call to mark his final ceremony as colonel-in-chief.

A sprightly Prince Philip, wearing a suit and tie and at times smiling, chatted to soldiers ahead of the ceremony.

At a parallel ceremony at Highgrove House, nearly 160km away in western England, Rifles' Colonel Commandant General Patrick Sanders welcomed Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, as the new colonel-in-chief.

Prince 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.

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