Prince Philip will undertake his last official royal engagement on Wednesday 2 August before retiring from public duties. He has been by the queen's side throughout her reign, becoming a pivotal figure in the British royal family, despite having no official power and no clear-cut constitutional role. The blunt-talking prince's acerbic wit and unflagging energy cut through some of the layers of court ritual, helping to modernise the monarchy.

His role as Queen's consort obliged him to spend his public life literally one step behind his wife, but he was impossible to ignore. For many years, the British public didn't care for him. He was criticised for his politically-incorrect gaffes and blamed for the failure of his children's marriages. However, his obvious devotion to his wife and dedication to the business of being royal have finally won the public over.

Prince Philip continued throughout his eighties to support a wide range of charities and accompany the Queen on her royal duties. He has been credited with carrying out more public engagements than any other royal except his daughter, Princess Anne. In recent years his health has become a cause for concern. As he retires, IBTimes UK presents an affectionate pictorial tribute to the longest serving consort and oldest-serving spouse of any British monarch.

Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
12 June 1996: The Queen smiles at her husband as they attend the Beating the Retreat ceremony on Horseguards Parade, held in honour of Prince Philip's 75th birthdayReuters
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
13 November 2002: The Duke of Edinburgh takes his wife's hand as they leave the House of Lords after her speech at the State Opening of ParliamentRussell Boyce/Reuters
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
7 May 2004: The Queen and Prince Philip laugh as Polish President Alexandre Kwasniewski and his wife Jolanta Kwasniewska leave Buckingham Palace after a visitDave Caulkin
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
13 May 2005: The Duke of Edinburgh rides a mini motorbike during the Royal Windsor Horse ShowJulian Finney/Getty Images
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
17 May 2005: The Queen smiles as Prince Philip shows her moccasins that were presented to him while visiting the First Nations University in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. On the left is Chief Alphonse Bird and in the middle the President of the University Dr Eber HamptonAndy Clark/Reuters
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
4 November 2005: Paygan Russell, daughter of Military Policeman Russell Aston who was killed in Afghanistan, gestures as Prince Philip speaks to her at the Field of Remembrance at Westminster AbbeyAlastair Grant
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
9 November 2006: Prince Philip laughs as he speaks to war veterans during the opening of the Field of Remembrance at Westminster AbbeyScott Barbour/Getty Images
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
19 November 2007:The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh walk at Broadlands in an official photo taken to mark their diamond wedding anniversaryFiona Hanson
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
22 November 2007: The Queen and Prince Philip watch as an orphan performs at the Mildmay HIV Centre in Kampala, on the first day of her state visit to UgandaJon Hrusa/Reters
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
26 March 2008: Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, shares a joke with Prince Philip as her husband and the Queen take part in a welcome ceremony in WindsorLewis Whyld
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
16 May 2009: Prince Philip laughs as he prepares to judge an event at the Royal Windsor Horse ShowChris Jackson/Getty Images
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
6 November 2009: Prince Philip speaks to members of the public during a visit with the Queen to NewcastleOwen Humphreys
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
25 November 2009: The Queen and Wanda Henton Brown, wife of Bermuda's Premier Ewart Brown, wait for the beginning of the receiving line while Prince Philip wanders off to look out of a window prior to a state dinnerHans Deryk/Reuters
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
25 December 2009: Members of the Royal Family, led by Prince Philip, arrive for the Christmas Day service at St Mary Magdalene's church on the Sandringham estateStefan Wermuth/Reuters
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
18 November 2010: The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh wear 3D glasses to watch a display at the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research centreJohn Giles
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
26 November 2010: Prince Philip, the Queen and Sultan Qaboos bin Said take the salute at Al-Alam Palace in Muscat, Oman during a state visit to the Middle EastChris Jackson/Getty Images
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
5 April 2012: The Duke of Edinburgh, accompanied by Janet Barnes, CEO of York Museums Trust, studies a mannequin on display as part of an exhibition of medieval costumes designed by York College StudentsAnna Gowthorpe
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
13 May 2012: The Duke of Edinburgh takes part in the carriage driving event at the Royal Windsor Horse ShowChris Jackson/Getty Images
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
18 May 2011: Prince Philip looks at a pint of Guinness at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin during the first visit to Ireland by a British monarch since independence.Tony Maxwell
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
21 November 2011: The Duke of Edinburgh talks with soldiers and their relatives of the 2 Close Support Battalion REME (Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers) in Fallingbostel, Lower Saxony, Germany. 150 soldiers were awarded medals for their deployment in AfghanistanFabian Bimmer/Reuters
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
27 December 2011: Prince Philip is driven away from Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, where he spent Christmas Day and Boxing Day after successful surgery to clear a blocked arteryNeil Hall/Reuters
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
3 June 2012: The Queen chats to Prince Philip on the Spirit of Chartwell during the Diamond Jubilee River Pageant – an armada of 1,000 boats on the River ThamesJohn Stillwell
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
9 June 2012: Prince Philip waves to members of the media as he leaves the King Edward VII Hospital in London on the eve of his 91st birthday, five days after he was taken ill during celebrations to mark the monarch's 60 years on the thronePaul Hackett/Reuters
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
29 July 2012: Princess Anne and her father share a joke during an equestrian event at the London 2012 Olympic Games in Greenwich ParkAlex Livesey/Getty Images
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
1 September 2012: Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles cheer as competitors participate in a sack race at the Braemar Gathering in ScotlandRussell Cheyne/Reuters
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
26 April 2013: Prince Philip sports an unexplained black eye at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto, where he was presented with the Order of Military Merit and the Order of CanadaFred Thornhill/Reuters
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
27 April 2013: The Duke of Edinburgh talks to members of 3rd Battalion of The Royal Canadian Regiment at Queen's Park in Toronto. He has been the Colonel-in Chief of the Royal Canadian Regiment since 1953Fred Thornhill/Reuters
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
8 May 2013: The Queen and Prince Philip leave the Palace of Westminster after the State Opening of ParliamentKirsty Wigglesworth
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
10 May 2013: Prince Philip and the Queen attend the Royal Windsor Horse ShowDanny E Martindale/Getty Images
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
12 August 2013: Making his first public appearance since his hospital admission in June, Prince Philip preesnts Royal Medals at the Royal Society of EdinburghAndrew Milligan
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
8 October 2013: Prince Philip speaks to pupils of the Broadland School of Dance in Aylsham, NorfolkLeon Neal/AFP
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
18 October 2013: Prince Philip attends a reception after the renaming ceremony for The City of Adelaide Clipper at the Old Royal Naval College in GreenwichStefan Wermuth/Reuters
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
24 February 2014: Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, and Life Member of the Grenadier Guards Association, visits the 1st Battalion of the Grenadier Guards in AldershotPaul Grover
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
11 April 2014: The Queen and Prince Philip laugh after bidding farewell to the President of Ireland Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina at Windsor CastleLeon Neal/Getty Images
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
14 June 2014: Prince Philip has a laugh with his grandson Prince Harry while they watch the Trooping the Colour on Royal HorseguardsChristopher Jackson/Getty Images
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
18 June 2014: The Duke of Edinburgh laugh as he attends day two of Royal AscotChris Jackson/Getty Images for Ascot Racecourse
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
24 June 2014: A woman reacts as the Queen and Prince Philip visit St George's indoor market in Belfast, Northern IrelandPeter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
23 February 2015: The Duke of Edinburgh appears to have a wounded ear as he attends a reception to mark the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta at Buckingham PlaceNicNick Ansell
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
31 October 2015: Prince Harry, Prince William and the Duke of Edinburgh enjoy the-build up to the 2015 Rugby World Cup Final match between New Zealand and Australia at Twickenham StadiumPhil Walter/Getty Images
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
5 November 2015: Prince Philip shakes hands and shares a joke with a wheelchair-bound veteran as he attends a Service in the Field of Remembrance at Westminster AbbeyChris Jackson/Getty Images
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
24 November 2015: The Queen and Prince Philip are pictured during a speech by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, after a service for the inauguration of the Tenth General Synod, at Westminster AbbeyPeter Nicholls/Reuters
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
An official photograph released by Buckingham Palace to mark the Queen's 90th birthday. It was taken by Annie Leibovitz at Windsor Castle just after Easter 2016Annie Leibovitz/Reuters
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
21 April 2016: Prince Philip and the Queen attend a beacon lighting ceremony to celebrate her 90th birthday in WindsorChris Jackson/Getty Images
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
2 June 2016: Prince Philip arrives to watch the Massed Bands of The Rifles Regiments 'Sounding Retreat', at Horse Guards ParadePeter Nicholls/Reuters
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
10 June 2016: Prince Philip leaves after a service of thanksgiving for Queen Elizabeth's 90th birthday at St Paul's CathedralBen Stansall/AFP
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
11 April 2017: The Queen watches as Prince Philip feeds an elephant during a visit to Whipsnade Zoo in DunstableDavis Rose
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
4 May 2017: Prince Philip speaks to guests after attending an order of merit service at the Chapel Royal in St James's PalaceJohn Stillwell
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
9 May 2017: Prince Philip chats to pupils during a visit to Pangbourne College near ReadingToby Melville/Reuters
Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh
12 July 2017: Prime Minister Theresa May stands behind Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip as they wait for the start of a ceremonial welcome for the Spanish King and Queen on Horse Guards ParadeMatt Dunham