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CURTAINS

Britain’s Prince Philip, the world’s greatest plaque unveiler, is calling it quits

By Cassie Werber

London

The tassel-ended cords lie still. Champagne bottles limply dangle from ropes, unpropelled towards the hulls of ships. Velvet curtains remain stubbornly shut. For Prince Philip, consort of Queen Elizabeth II of England and the self-described “world’s most experienced plaque unveiler,” is ceasing public duties at the age of 95, the royal family announced today.

Prince Philip, who holds the title of Duke of Edinburgh and a few other honors*, was the guest of honor yesterday at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London, where he cracked a joke about his longstanding experience uncovering engraved squares of masonry:

In the UK, the Queen remains a popular figure 65 years into her reign, and many applaud Philip’s loyal support over their 70-year marriage: Seven decades of hand-shaking, medal-pinning, and the sometimes-flamboyant exhibition of inscriptions.

The couple’s regal duties have occasionally been hampered by Philip’s tendency to offend. Many of his gaffes betray the aloofness of a wealthy, unelected royal harboring opinions that harken back to the days of empire.

But as we bid farewell to Philip as a public figure, perhaps it’s best to remember the plaques. Herewith, a selection of the prince’s most revealing moments:

AP Photo
Jamestown, Virginia, Oct. 1957.
Hobart Gaywood, center, of the National Parks Service, shows a plaque describing the Bicentennial Bell, a gift of the Government of Great Britain to the United States, to Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in Philadelphia on Tuesday, July 6, 1976. The Queen was here to present the bell and visited various points of interest in the area.
AP Photo
Philadelphia, July 1976.
AP Photo/Gerald Penny
London, July 1987.
AP Photo/Saeed Ahmed
Karachi, Oct. 1997.
AP Photo/Odd Andersen
London, Oct. 2006.
EPA/Jonathan Brady
Salisbury, Devon, May 2012.
Reuters/Phil Noble
Manchester, Nov. 2013.
Reuters/Paul Grover
London, May 2014.
AP Photo/Matt Dunham
London, June 2015.
AP Photo/Star Max 2
London, May 2017.

* His full title is: His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, Baron Greenwich, Royal Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Extra Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Member of the Order of Merit, Grand Master and First and Principal Knight Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Knight of the Order of Australia, Additional Member of the Order of New Zealand, Extra Companion of the Queen’s Service Order, Royal Chief of the Order of Logohu, Extraordinary Companion of the Order of Canada, Extraordinary Commander of the Order of Military Merit, Canadian Forces Decoration, Lord of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council, Privy Councillor of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, Personal Aide-de-Camp to Her Majesty, Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom.