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.