Prince Philip’s low-key 99th birthday

Prince Philip will celebrate his 99th birthday next week with nothing more fancy than a simple lunch with the Queen.

Royal sources have confirmed that there were no plans for a party to mark the occasion, even without the restrictions caused by coronavirus.

The Duke of Edinburgh is ‘characteristically taciturn’ about occasion and has opted, as is his habit, not to make a fuss, they say.

However, lockdown means there is no chance of his children dropping by to pass on birthday wishes in person next Wednesday.

Philip has been in isolation at Windsor Castle with the Queen since before Easter – the longest period the couple have spent together there for as long as anyone can remember, an insider noted.

Since he retired in 2017, the duke has largely lived at Wood Farm on the Queen’s Sandringham Estate, apart from brief visits to Windsor and a longer summer stay at Balmoral.

His birthday will be marked by lunch with the Queen, as well as Zoom and telephone calls with family and friends – including Prince Charles in Scotland, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in Norfolk and Harry and Meghan in Los Angeles.

A small number of public birthday wishes will be released on social media by family members, while Buckingham Palace hopes to mark the occasion publicly in some small way, ‘depending on how His Royal Highness feels’.

Philip has suffered several bouts of poor health in recent years and was in hospital just before Christmas but is said to be far better now, despite feeling the effects of his advancing years.

Lady Butter said: ‘The secret is that he just does everything he has previously done, but slower.

‘He still enjoys the greatest role of all, supporting the Queen. As for a party to celebrate turning 99? Goodness me, no! He never wants a fuss, ever!’

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