Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, set for Britain-wide bash for 95th birthday

By Doug G. Ware  |  Updated June 10, 2016 at 11:24 AM
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LONDON, June 9 (UPI) -- Great Britain is ready to help Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh celebrate his 95th birthday.

The nation's oldest-living male member of the British royal family will commemorate his birthday this weekend alongside events that will also commemorate the 90th birthday of his wife, Queen Elizabeth II.

The queen will see multiple celebrations all weekend long, including a flotilla of boats down the River Thames on Saturday -- recreating a similar pageant from her Diamond Jubilee in 2012.

But Thursday night, the focus was on the duke, as he was celebrated at a gala dinner marking the 60th anniversary of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award. Among those in attendance to wish him a happy birthday were several stars of the James Bond film franchise -- a British entertainment staple -- including Sir Roger Moore, Dame Judi Dench and Naomie Harris.

"Everybody in the film business both on screen and theater is called upon to support various charities -- every cause is good," Moore, who played 007 between 1973 and 1985, said. "Over the years I have done a number of things for the Duke of Edinburgh Awards."

The royal couple were also featured Thursday in a newly released photograph by famous photographer Annie Leibovitz, which shows the duke and queen in a soft, simple pose. The photo, taken at Windsor Castle two months ago, is the fourth from Leibovitz featuring the queen. The previous three were released in April, during the queen's actual birthday.

Philip, born Philippos Schleswig-Holstein Sonderburg-Glucksburg in Greece on June 10, 1921, to Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark, and Princess Alice of Battenberg, married Elizabeth Alexandra Mary in 1947. He was 26, she was 21. Before the wedding, he surrendered his Greek and Danish royalty titles and became a naturalized British citizen.

He became consort of the British monarch, a rough equivalent to the title of first lady in the United States, in February 1952 -- now making him the oldest-living member of the royal family in Britain's history.

A solitary boat joins a flotilla of thousands of boats as they sail down the River Thames to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee Pageant celebrating 60 years of the British Monarch's accession to the throne in London on Sunday, June 3, 2012. This weekend, a recreation of the flotilla will be held as Britain commemorates the Queen's 90th birthday, and will coincide with the 95th birthday of Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh. File Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI

International Business Times UK on Thursday featured Philip in a series of photographs chronicling his long and distinguished life -- including his relationship with the queen, his military service and his penchant for sport.

On Friday, as part of the celebration, the city of Edinburgh will honor Prince Philip with a 21-gun salute at Edinburgh Castle. Later, the royal couple will be joined by the rest of the family at the Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's.

The birthday events will conclude Sunday with The Patron's Lunch, a picnic for 10,000 people from the 612 organizations of which Queen Elizabeth II is patron.

Prince Philip has four children -- Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward -- with the queen. He also has eight grandchildren -- including Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, who is second in line to the British throne, after Charles -- and five great-grandchildren.

He is a patron of more than 800 organizations and serves as the chairman of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award, which honors young people age 14 to 24 who complete a series of self-improvement exercises.

Styles for the birthday celebrations already adorn London, with endless Union Jacks and other British decor.

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