The Duke of Edinburgh will meet Royal Marines at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday in his final official engagement before he retires from public duty.
It was announced in May that 96-year-old Prince Philip would be retiring from royal events after more than 65 years supporting the Queen, with today’s meeting marking his 22,219th solo engagement.
Theresa May led tributes to the royal following the announcement earlier this summer, saying he had given the monarch “steadfast support” during his years of service, the Press Association reported.
In typical fashion, Prince Philip offered a timely quip about his retirement following the news.
When a well-wisher told him: “I’m sorry to hear you’re standing down”, the Queen’s husband replied: “Well I can’t stand up for much longer.”
Buckingham Palace has stressed that although the Duke of Edinburgh’s official diary will come to an end, he may still attend certain events alongside the Queen, whose public schedule will continue as normal.
Meanwhile, other members of the Royal Family will step up in support of the monarch as head of state.
Today, in his final engagement, Prince Philip will meet service personnel who have completed a mammoth 1,664 mile trek for the Royal Marines charity.
The event, held in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace, will see the Duke attend in his role as Captain General of the Royal Marines, which he has held for 64 years since being appointed in 1953 following the death of King George VI.
The 1664 Global Challenge challenge, which recognises the year 1664 when the Corps was founded, has seen Royal Marines all over the world raising money for the military unit’s charity with a number of ingenious feats.
The 1,664 mile running challenge began in Plymouth on April 25 with Royal Marines running 16.64 miles a day for 100 days, with the gruelling trek due to end at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday.
The Duke will meet some of the runners including two Royal Marines who have completed the entire distance.
Royal Marines from around the globe have also been taking part in extreme events including a 34-mile swim underwater and a company of Royal Marines lifting more than 20,000 tonnes and running 10,000 kilometres.
During the event Philip will also meet veterans and cadets before receiving the 1664 Global Challenge baton.
The parade will end with a march past, a royal salute and three cheers for the Captain General.
Over the years Philip has attended many Royal Marines events and in 2014, to mark the Corps’ 350th anniversary, the Duke wore his full ceremonial uniform as Captain General to the state opening of parliament.