Prince Philip put his sense of duty before his own health in June 2016, when he dismissed recent doctors’ concern to stand by the Queen, a royal expert said. Royal biographer Ingrid Seward recalled the Queen was given the honour for the first time to present the trophies to the winner on Derby Day at Epsom the year of her 90th birthday.
This event was not an official engagement the Duke of Edinburgh had to attend.
However, he decided to be present – despite being told by his doctors to cancel official engagements only a few days before due to health concerns – because it was important to the Queen as it was combining her birthday and passion for horse racing.
The expert recalled the day, with the Queen speaking to the winners of the race about horses and their triumphs – topics the Duke had never been too interested in during his life.
Ms Seward wrote in her book Prince Philip Revealed: “Meanwhile 94-year-old Prince Philip was standing erect as always and off to one side of the Queen and the winning group.
“He was impeccably dressed in a morning suit with a grey top hat and a colourful green-and-maroon tie with a pearl-and-diamond anchor tiepin.
“He shook hands with each one as they mounted the dais but took no part in the presentation ceremony.
“Despite the Queen’s passion for horse racing, the Duke has little interest in it himself and tried not to look bored by the proceedings.
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“But the Derby is not a state occasion, so why did Philip make the trek down from the royal box to the presentation, only a week after his doctors ordered him to cancel his official engagements because of fears about his health?
“It was not an obligation. It was his sense of duty.
“In all the years since the Queen’s accession, Prince Philip’s sense of duty has never wavered.
“He is always there. Two steps behind.”
Prince Philip pulled out of events marking the anniversary of the Battle of Jutland on that same month following medical advice, saying he had a “minor ailment”.
However, shortly after, he managed to join the monarch throughout a busy few days of events – including Trooping the Colour and a street party in The Mall – to mark her milestone birthday.
Prince Philip married the then-Princess Elizabeth on November 20 1947.
Following the death of King George VI, the Duke of Edinburgh gave up his career in the Navy to follow the new Queen at the palace.
Over the past six decades, Prince Philip has carried out more than 22,000 solo engagements.
The Duke retired in August 2017, bowing out of royal duties by attending a parade to mark the finale of the 1664 Global Challenge at Buckingham Palace.
However, Prince Philip remains involved in royal life by retaining patronages and showing interest in them.
In the height of the first English lockdown, the Duke issued a rare statement to thank key workers who were keeping afloat the country.
He wrote: “As we approach World Immunisation Week, I wanted to recognise the vital and urgent work being done by so many to tackle the pandemic; by those in the medical and scientific professions, at universities and research institutions, all united in working to protect us from COVID-19.
“On behalf of those of us who remain safe and at home, I also wanted to thank all key workers who ensure the infrastructure of our life continues; the staff and volunteers working in food production and distribution, those keeping postal and delivery services going, and those ensuring the rubbish continues to be collected.”
Following his retirement, however, the Duke has started to pass on some of his roles to younger members of the family.
In December 2017, the Queen appointed Prince Harry Captain-General of the Royal Marines – a role he received from his grandfather.
Earlier this year, in July, the Duke relinquished his role of Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles and passed it on to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
In mid-October, he also passed on the patronage of the British Trust for Ornithology to Prince William.