On Wednesday, the Duke of Edinburgh stepped out for a rare yet special engagement. Prince Philip made a public appearance for a ceremony marking the transfer of his title that he has held for 67 years.
The 99-year-old prince handed over his title of Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles to 73-year-old Duchess of Cornwall. The transfer took place in separate ceremonies on Wednesday. The duke's side of the ceremony took place at Windsor Castle, where he has been isolating with his wife Queen Elizabeth II due to the coronavirus pandemic. And the ceremony for Duchess Camilla was conducted at Highgrove House in Gloucestershire.
In the ceremony at Windsor Castle, Prince Philip transferred the title to the duchess and at Highgrove four Buglers sounded The Rifles Assembly as Camilla observed. The duke was thanked for his services for more than half a century and the duchess was honoured with the role of Colonel-in-Chief by The Rifles' Colonel Commandant, General Sir Patrick Sanders.
A few glimpses of the ceremony are available on The Royal Family's official Twitter account whereby Prince Philip is looking cheerful in his navy suit. Meanwhile, the duchess is looking elegant in a teal blue dress.
The Rifles an infantry regiment of the British Army was established in the year 2007 by merging five Regular and three Reserve battalions, plus a number of companies in other Army Reserve battalions. The prince was appointed Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles during its formation. However, prior to the formation of The Rifles, Philip has served as Colonel-in-Chief of successive Regiments for decades. It is now the largest infantry regiment in the British Army. In 1953, he was appointed Colonel-in-Chief of the Wiltshire Regiment.
As for the duchess, who is also the future queen, she was appointed Royal Colonel of the 4th Battalion of The Rifles in 2007 and will continue to hold her position.
"We feel it's a bittersweet day because we're enormously proud of our association with the Duke of Edinburgh who has been the most amazing Colonel-in-Chief and we've really flourished under his tenure," General Sanders said during the ceremony as quoted by Hello. "But it's also really special to have the Duchess of Cornwall coming in because she has a long association with The Rifles. She has been absolutely inspiring and the support that she's given and the way that she sustained that through some quite difficult and bloody tours."
The duke's connection to the Armed Forces goes back to the time before he married the queen in 1947. He joined the British Royal Navy in 1939 when he was still a teenager, according to The Telegraph. Until 1952, he served as an active member of the armed forces. However, his marriage to the queen, he limited his naval career but continued to hold official positions for years to come. As per the report, nonagenarian royal has served the country and its Armed Forces for 81 years and he finally bids goodbye to the regiment he has been associated for almost 67 years as a distinguished veteran with "extraordinary life and career."