LONDON: The Queen has appointed the Duke of Edinburgh Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO), honouring him for “services to the sovereign” on their 70th wedding anniversary. The gesture will be seen as formal recognition of the devotion the Duke has shown through seven decades of marriage, supporting her publicly and privately.
The appointment makes him the first UK citizen awarded four order of chivalry breast stars since Lord Mountbatten of Burma, the Duke’s uncle and mentor who was instrumental in encouraging the early courtship of the young Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip. It is thought that the Duke is now the only living person to have the four: GCVO, Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter (KG), a Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle (KT) and a Knight Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (GBE). He was also the recipient of many other honours including the Order of Merit (OM), Order of New Zealand (ONZ), and Knight, Order of Australia (AK).
The Duke, 96, retired from his public role in the summer after years of royal duty alongside the Queen. He is the longest serving royal consort in British history, and with the Queen, the nation’s longest reigning monarch, is the first to celebrate a 70th wedding anniversary. Awards in the Royal Victorian Order are made personally by the Queen and bestowed independently of Downing Street. The Queen presented Philip with the honour at Windsor Castle, where they are marking their anniversary privately. They celebrated with close family and friends at a special dinner at the Berkshire residence on Monday evening. Queen Elizabeth and husband Prince Philipmark their platinum wedding anniversary with a small family get-together on Monday, a far cry from the pomp and celebration which greeted their marriage 70 years ago. The couple married at London’s Westminster Abbey on 20 November 1947, just two years after the end of the Second World War, in a glittering ceremony which attracted statesmen and royalty from around the world and huge crowds of cheering well wishers. Seventy years on, no public events are planned. Elizabeth, now 91, and her 96-year-old husband, who retired from active public life in August, will celebrate the milestone with a private party at Windsor Castle, the monarch’s home to the west of London.