Prince Philip steps out at Windsor Castle to join Duchess Camilla for a very rare, socially distanced engagement

By Heather Cichowski

Prince Philip has been retired from official royal duties since 2017, but on July 22, he made a very rare public appearance at Windsor Castle.

The Duke of Edinburgh stepped out for a special COVID-19 socially distanced ceremony with Duchess Camilla in which he transferred his role of Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles to the Duchess of Cornwall.

Hello! The Duke of Edinburgh waved as he stepped out for the event on July 22 at Windsor Castle. Photo: © Samir Hussein/ Samir Hussein/WireImage

Camilla was more than 160 kilometres away at Highgrove House in Gloucestershire, the country home she shares with Prince Charles.

The ceremony at Windsor Castle featured four Buglers from The Band and Bugles of The Rifles. They sounded The Rifles Assembly call upon the arrival of the Duke of Edinburgh when he stepped out on the Equerries' Entrance of Windsor Castle.

Prince Philip listens to buglers during the transfer of the Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles ceremony at Windsor Castle. Photo: © Adrian Dennis - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Similarly, four Buglers of The Band and Bugles of The Rifles sounded The Rifles Assembly to the Duchess of Cornwall in Gloucestershire. The Rifles' Colonel Commandant, General Sir Patrick Sanders, then welcomed her as the new Colonel-in-Chief.

The duchess wore a beautiful hunter green coat dress trimmed in black for the occasion. Black pumps completed her elegant style.

Philip has been Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles since its formation in 2007. From 1953, when The Rifles began, he served as Colonel-in-Chief of The Wiltshire Regiment. According to HELLO! UK, the duchess was appointed Royal Colonel of 4th Battalion The Rifles in 2007. She will continue to hold this position.

The Duchess of Cornwall became the Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles at the ceremony. She is pictured at Highgrove House in Gloucestershire. Photo: © GEOFF PUGH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

During the ceremony, Philip was thanked for his amazing 67 years of support.

MORE: New portrait of Prince Philip and the Queen at Windsor Castle released in honour of his 99th birthday

Philip had an incredible career and played a very active role in royal duties before he retired at the age of 96. He started doing royal engagements in 1952 and completed an incredible 22,219 solo events!

The Duke of Edinburgh has only been seen in public a handful of times since 2017. The appearances have been even more rare since March, when he and the Queen went into isolation at Windsor Castle due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen posed in the quadrangle of Windsor Castle ahead of his 99th birthday in June. Photo: © Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images

On July 17, Princess Beatrice married Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in a private ceremony at All Saints Chapel in Great Windsor Park, and she got to celebrate the happy day with her grandparents. The 94-year-old monarch and Philip were seen in wedding photos released by the Royal Family.

Prior to that, a new portrait of Philip and Her Majesty was released on June 10 to mark his 99th birthday. The royals were photographed at Windsor Castle on June 1 on a lovely sunny day.

Camilla and Charles have returned to in-person royal engagements and were recently in Cornwall before the special The Rifles ceremony.

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