Queen gives Philip new title for 90th birthday

Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:38pm EDT
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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Queen Elizabeth awarded her husband Prince Philip a new title as a 90th birthday present on Friday as he announced he would be winding down his activities after decades of official engagements.

Philip, renowned for his blunt talk and unguarded off-the-cuff remarks, spent his birthday as he has much of life performing duties in his role as the queen's consort following their marriage in 1947.

"It's a normal working day for him. There's no celebration as such," his spokeswoman said, although a military band played Happy Birthday outside Buckingham Palace and there was a 62-gun salute at the Tower of London.

To mark the occasion, his wife conferred the office of Lord High Admiral, the titular head of the Royal Navy, to Philip who served in the navy during World War Two, took part in the Allied landings in Sicily and was in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese surrendered in 1945.

Despite being a near constant companion at the queen's side during her long reign, the still sprightly prince has rarely sought the limelight himself.

His birthday will be in keeping with that low-key style; he held a reception to mark the centenary of a charity for the deaf and in the evening he will chair a conference for senior British military figures followed by a dinner.

Philip is now the longest-serving consort and oldest-serving spouse of any British monarch and during those years he has supported hundreds of charities and causes.

However, in an interview with the BBC to mark his birthday, he said he would be stepping back from his official duties.

"I reckon I've done my bit so 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.   Continued...

<p>Britain's Prince Philip smiles during his visit with Queen Elizabeth to the Irish National Stud in Kildare, Ireland May 19, 2011. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez</p>