The birthday of the Duke of Edinburgh has been marked in right royal fashion with gun salutes across the United Kingdom. Bells have also been run to mark the anniversary of the birth of Philip, Britain’s longest serving royal consort.
Appropriately enough for the Duke of Edinburgh, there was a 21 gun salute at Edinburgh Castle to mark his birthday. The rounds were fired at noon, the same time as another 21 gun salute took place at Hillsborough Castle in County Down, the Queen’s official residence there, to mark the big day.
In London, there was a 41 gun salute in Hyde Park at noon by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery. An hour later, the HAC Regiment fired a 62 gun salute at the Tower of London to celebrate the royal milestone. At the same time, the bells of Westminster Abbey were rung specially for Prince Philip’s birthday.
In what’s fast becoming another royal birthday tradition, the official social media accounts linked to the House of Windsor shared messages and photos for the special day. Clarence House gave us the best photo of the day with an archive image of Prince Philip with Prince Charles when the heir to the throne was just two and holding on tightly to his dad’s hand.
Prince Philip was born at Mon Repos in Corfu on June 10th 1921, the only son of Prince Andrew of Greece and his wife, Princess Alice. He left his homeland at an early age when his royal family was forced into exile and he was educated in Paris and London. He saw active service with the Royal Navy during World War Two.
He was made Duke of Edinburgh on the day of his marriage to the then Princess Elizabeth, November 20th 1947, and was at her side on February 6th 1952 when news came through to them in Kenya that her father, King George VI, had died and she was now Queen. When they marked their Golden Wedding Anniversary in 1997, Elizabeth II referred to her husband as ”my strength and stay”.
The Duke of Edinburgh will celebrate his birthday privately – he retired from public life in 2017.