Prince Philip's 99th birthday marked with new lockdown photo with the Queen

Rebecca Taylor
Royal Correspondent

Prince Philip’s 99th birthday has been marked with a new photograph of him alongside the Queen, at Windsor Castle.

Philip is the latest in a growing list of royals to spend their birthday in lockdown, and is said to be planning a low-key birthday lunch with his wife.

They have been in Windsor Castle together since mid-March, where they retreated early for Easter Court. It’s not clear when they might leave.

The new photo was taken last week in the quadrangle of Windsor Castle, with the famous round tower in the background.

The Queen is wearing a floral Angela Kelly dress and the Cullinan V heart-shaped diamond brooch, while Philip, with his hands clasped behind his back, looks smart in a blazer, shirt with a Household Division tie, and grey trousers.

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh in the quadrangle of Windsor Castle ahead of his 99th birthday. (PA Images)

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The Queen was pictured last week as she rode a pony through the castle grounds, but Philip hadn’t been seen in public since Christmas, when he was pictured leaving a private hospital following a four-night admission for treatment relating to an undisclosed but “pre-existing condition”.

Philip, the longest-serving royal consort, has been famously described by the Queen as “her strength and stay”. He only retired from royal duties in 2017, but made a statement earlier this year in support of those responding to the coronavirus pandemic in the UK.

The Duke of Edinburgh spends most of his time in Sandringham now he is retired from public life, joining the Queen at Windsor over Easter and in Balmoral for Summer, in normal circumstances.

His arrival at Windsor this year and the subsequent time with the Queen is likely to be the longest they’ve spent together in some years.

Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine, said about their time shielding together at Windsor Castle: “It’s an opportunity for them in their later years to reconnect… It is the perfect royal cocooning.”

He added: “They will make a fuss of him on Wednesday as much as you can make a fuss of the Duke of Edinburgh.”

The royal couple is reported to have a reduced staff of about 20 people during the pandemic, and Little said they are probably enjoying meals together but spending time on their own interests.

Princess Anne in the arms of Princess Elizabeth, with the Duke of Edinburgh, holding Prince Charles, in the grounds of Clarence House. (PA Images)
Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh wearing 3D glasses to watch a 3D film, at the Pinewood Studios in Toronto in 2010. (PA Images)

Read more: Prince Philip called his uncle Lord Mountbatten's death a 'senseless act of terrorism' in poignant letter

The Queen will still be receiving her government boxes, and Philip could be keeping up with his painting and reading.

Prince Philip was born 10 June 1921 in Corfu as the prince of Greece and Denmark, to Prince Andrew of Greece and Princess Alice of Battenberg.

His early years were spent in upheaval as his family was forced into exile during a military coup which overthrew his uncle.

He moved to England and attended Cheam Prep School in 1928, before going to Salem School in south Germany, then finally enrolling at Gordonstoun School in Morayshire.

He and Elizabeth met when she was just 13 years old. They wrote to each other over the years and were eventually engaged and married in 1947 after her 21st birthday.

Little said their different personalities could be to thank for their successful marriage.

He said: “The Queen is a much more laid-back character, while the duke has never suffered fools gladly.

“The Queen is much less confrontational so I suppose they are opposites in many ways but clearly the chemistry has worked for them as they are now in the 73rd year of marriage so that itself is quite remarkable.”

The Duke of Edinburgh as he arrived at the laying up of the Colours of the Queen's Own Highlanders in 2003. (PA Images)
Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh at Broadlands in 2007. (PA Images)

Read more: Chocolate cake and gun salutes: How the Royal Family celebrates birthdays

Philip held hundreds of patronages during his time as a working royal, and is credited with the modernisation of the Royal Family. He led on the project to televise the Queen’s coronation and is said to have helped many the estates profitable.

Ingrid Seward, editor in chief of Majesty Magazine said: “I think probably a lot of people don’t know what he’s done because he doesn’t like adulation.

“He doesn’t like fame. He just gets on with it.’’

Speaking to AP, she added: “I think he shaped the queen’s reign very subtly, and people don’t really know what he’s done.

“So he’s managed to do things without being noticed, which is what he wants.’’

In 2012, they marked their blue sapphire anniversary – 65 years – and in 2017 passed the rare, personal milestone of 70 years of marriage – their platinum wedding anniversary.

Philip’s 99th birthday will be marked privately, but he might be enjoying some video calls with his family, including his son Charles, who recently confessed he is missing his father.

Prince Harry and Meghan, his grandson and granddaughter-in-law, revealed they called the Queen with their son Archie for her birthday, so the same may happen for Philip too.