The Duke of Edinburgh, who loved his time in the Royal Navy, was the Captain General of the Royal Marines for a whopping 64 years. In 2017, it was decided that he would pass on this role to someone of the younger generation and he handed over his role to Prince Harry in a deeply symbolic and heartwarming ceremony. Harry, who has repeatedly said his time in the Army was the happiest time of his life, has a strong commitment to the military ‒ as seen in his work with the Invictus Games ‒ and it demonstrated the relationship between the two men for Philip to entrust his grandson with this most beloved role.
However, this all ended in tears as Prince Harry was forced to give up his military titles when he stepped down as a senior royal at the end of March this year.
This means there is currently no one currently carrying out this role.
The role which meant so much to Philip, who dedicated himself to it for over six decades, was held by Harry for less than three years.
It has been suggested that this experience may have contributed to the decision to have Camilla take over The Rifles.
Camilla is seen as a safe pair of hands and was apparently a hugely popular choice.
Pod Save the Queen is hosted by Ann Gripper and features Daily Mirror royal editor Russell Myers.
In last week’s episode, Mr Myers explained how iconic Philip’s handover to Harry had been before it all went wrong.
He said: “The reason I think this is quite significant is because the last time a big military role like this was passed over to one of the younger generation was, of course, Harry was made Captain-General of the Royal Marines in 2017.
“And then he was obviously made to step down from the role just over two years later.
“Now, Prince Philip had held that role for 64 years.
“Camilla is seen as a very, very safe pair of hands and people I spoke to today were saying ‘really safe pair of hands, hugely popular choice’ and there’s obviously a good feeling within the camp that it’s a good role for her to take on.”
Ms Gripper added: “That Prince Philip picture handing over the role to Prince Harry was one of the famous latter ones of his working life, so it’s good to have a better one, a more lasting one.”
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The ceremony in which Philip handed over his role to Camilla was carried out in two locations ‒ Windsor Castle, where the Duke has been shielding with the Queen, and Highgrove House, where Camilla is staying with her husband, the Prince of Wales.
Four buglers from The Band the Bugles of The Rifles came to Windsor Castle to mark the occasion and Assistant Colonel Commandant, Major General Tom Copinger-Symes, thanked Philip for his support and service to their regiment over the years.
They then had a “virtual passing on of the baton” between Philip in Windsor and Camilla at Highgrove.
It is believed that the Queen’s husband insisted on doing this royal engagement in person to meet the soldiers in what could be his last ever military engagement, because of how much it means to him.
A military man himself, Philip was forced to give up his naval career when the Queen ascended to the throne in 1952.
Major General Copinger-Symes reportedly said he was “delighted” Camilla was taking over.
Mr Myers added: “He saw them as sort of cut from the same cloth and that she would really take it seriously.”
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