Britain's Prince Philip praised at 90th birthday service

12th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

Britain's royal family gathered Sunday for a service of thanksgiving marking the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II's husband Prince Philip.

More than 750 guests, including senior royals, his Mountbatten family relatives, foreign royalty, past and present staff and friends from the world of sailing, polo and carriage driving turned out to celebrate his milestone.

The Duke of Edinburgh, the longest-serving consort in British history, turned 90 on Friday and marked the occasion in idiosyncratic style -- getting on with his duties as he hosted a charity reception and a colonels' conference.

Sunday's service at Saint George's Chapel in Windsor Castle, west of London, was the focal point for his birthday commemorations.

His grandson Prince William and his new wife Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, braved the rain to attend, as did the former king Constantine II of Greece.

The Dean of Windsor, the Right Reverend David Conner, made the congregation laugh when he told them the duke, born a prince of Greece and Denmark, "doesn't like to the praised".

But he said praise was due for the royal patriarch, who for more than six decades has been the queen's tireless supporter.

The dean paid tribute to Prince Philip's service to Britain and the wider Commonwealth, his patronage of more than 800 organisations and his "modest" nature.

The duke, known for his plain-speaking, received a new title for his 90th birthday Friday.

The queen made him Lord High Admiral -- the titular head of the British Royal Navy -- partly in recognition of the promising seafaring career he gave up to spend a lifetime at her side.

Prince Philip told the BBC he would finally scale back his workload.

"I reckon I've done my bit. I want to enjoy myself a bit now, with less responsibility, less frantic rushing about, less preparation, less trying to think of something to say," he said.

"On top of that my memory's going, I can't remember names. I'm just sort of winding down."

© 2011 AFP

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