Queen hands Navy title to Philip

The Queen made the Duke of Edinburgh the Lord High Admiral of the Navy today to mark his 90th birthday.

The monarch has held the office of the titular head of the Navy since 1964 but today gave it to her husband as he celebrated his milestone age.



Philip gave up his promising naval career to devote his life to royal duty and support his wife in her role as Sovereign.



The office of the Lord High Admiral dates from the 14th century.











The birthday gift from the Queen could be seen as a touching acknowledgement of the sacrifices the Duke has made for his wife.

Had he not become the Queen's husband, some believe he would have been First Sea Lord, the professional head of the Royal Navy.



In a recent ITV interview to mark his 90th year, the royal was asked how he felt giving up his job as a Royal Navy officer.



"I don't know how difficult it was, it was naturally disappointing," he replied.



"I had just been promoted to commander and the fact was that the most interesting part of my naval career was just starting."



Philip joined the Navy after leaving school and in May 1939 enrolled at the Royal Naval College, in Dartmouth, where he was singled out as best cadet.



He rose rapidly through the ranks, earning promotion after promotion, but his life was to take a very different course.



The Duke's flourishing naval career came to a premature end in 1951.



The health of his father-in-law George VI was deteriorating and Queen-in-waiting Princess Elizabeth was required to take on more royal responsibilities.



Philip stepped down from his active role in the forces to fulfil his duty as her consort.



His wife acceded to the throne within the year when the King died in February 1952.



He has spoken of his fascination with the sea, describing it as "an extraordinary master or mistress".













Philip served on the battleship HMS Ramillies in 1940 in Colombo as a Midshipman and spent the following six months in the Indian Ocean.

In January 1941, he served on HMS Valiant in Alexandria and two months later was mentioned in dispatches for his actions during the Second World War.



He was in control of Valiant's search lights as it fought an Italian cruiser in the battle of Cape Matapan when he spotted an unexpected second enemy vessel nearby.



At the age of 21, he became one of the youngest officers in the Royal Navy to be made First Lieutenant and second-in-command of a ship and went on to become First Lieutenant of the new Fleet Destroyer HMS Whelp.



Whelp sailed for the Indian Ocean to join the British Pacific Fleet and Philip was in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese surrendered on September 2, 1945.



He was later given command of the frigate HMS Magpie in 1950.



Philip, known as "Dukey" to his men, described the period as the happiest days of his sailor life.



Although he gave up his career, the Duke has remained closely associated with service life.



In 1952, he became Admiral of the Sea Cadet Corps, Colonel-in-Chief of the Army Cadet Force and Air Commodore-in-Chief of the Air Training Corps and a year later became Admiral of the Fleet and appointed Captain General in the Royal Marines.



Neither the Army nor the Royal Air Force has an equivalent office to that of the Lord High Admiral.



The Queen, who is Head of the Armed Forces, took on the title after a review of the Navy's organisational structure in 1964.



The office, which was previously held by peers of the realm, dates from the 14th century when the Navy was consolidated into one force.



In 1628, following the death of the Duke of Buckingham, the position became honorary with the running the Navy delegated to a board of commissioners.



For a short time, mostly during the 17th century, it was was held by reigning monarchs including Charles II, James II and Queen Anne.



A Buckingham Palace statement said: "This gift to The Duke of Edinburgh on the occasion of his 90th Birthday keeps alive the tradition of the Monarch investing the office as an honour."



An official investiture ceremony for Philip will take place at a later date.







The First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, who is the professional head of the Royal Navy, welcomed the appointment.



"I would like to offer my sincere congratulations to His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh on his assumption of the title Lord High Admiral," he said.



"His Royal Highness has a long association with the Royal Navy and we are enormously grateful for his support."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR and Payroll Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This dynamic outsourced contact...

Recruitment Genius: Production & Quality Control Assistant

£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity for a ...

Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor - Kettering - £32,000

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor with an established...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Generalist

£40 - 50k (DOE) + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a HR Manager / HR Genera...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor