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Present for Duke at garden party

The Duke of Edinburgh was presented with a birthday gift as he hosted a garden party - then joked he didn't want to carry it around.

Philip famously does not like being fussed over on his birthday, but turning 93 was a milestone that one guest at the Buckingham Palace event could not resist.

Samantha Webster, a New Zealander - who celebrated her 47 birthday today, gave a the Duke a burgundy coloured possum and merino wool scarf her mother had sent from her home country.

Ms Webster, who was part of a group of four women representing the New Zealand Society, said: "I thought I would give him a present as it's his birthday and mine.

"He made us laugh when he said 'could you hand it to some one, I don't want to lug it around the garden'."

Some of the guests said they were told by palace officials not to wish the Duke happy birthday.

But as the garden party is held to celebrate the achievements of the thousands invited, it is thought they wanted the conversation to focus on the guests and not the Duke - who prefers his birthday celebrations kept low-key.

The Duke joined the Queen at the annual summer event and she had invited the Duchess of Cambridge who was dressed in an Alexander McQueen blush coloured dress she wore to the Diamond Jubilee service at St Paul's Cathedral in 2012.

Other members off the royal family who attended included the Duke of York, Princess Eugenie, and the Princess Royal.

A 41-gun salute was fired earlier by the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery from London's Hyde Park at noon in celebration of Philip's birthday.

An hour later the Honourable Artillery Company set off a volley of 62 rounds from Gun Wharf at the Tower of London, with the extra guns a tribute from the citizens of the City of London.

The Duke, who shows no signs of slowing down amid a packed programme of engagements, has a busy run of events this week despite having just returned from a high profile three day state visit to France to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

Yesterday evening, he joined the Queen at a Palace reception in honour of the UK's technology sector.

The rest of the week remains hectic including a solo overseas day trip to Germany on Thursday to present campaign medals in Fallingbostel in his role as Royal Colonel, of The Highlanders, Fourth Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland.

On Wednesday, Philip, as founder of The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award Association, will hold the World Fellowship 27th anniversary dinner at Windsor Castle, while on Friday he visits Hindleap Warren Outdoor Education Centre in Sussex and then chairs the Senior Colonel's Conference at Buckingham Palace.

The demanding diary rounds off on Saturday when the royals are out in force for Trooping the Colour - the Queen's official birthday parade.

Taina Teegan, from children's charity Variety, said: "As the Duke is a patron of Variety, we held a 90th birthday party for him.

"But today we were told not to wish him happy birthday. Maybe it just gets a bit boring or annoying for him if everyone says it.

"It was great to meet him though - he has a very good sense of humour."

The Duke also met married RAF officers Squadron Leader Toby Watkins, 40 and his Squadron Leader wife Emma Watkins, 40 - who are based at Cranwell and Coningsby stations respectively.

Mrs Watkins said: "We talked about the Air Cadets - which we're very involved in - and then the Duke joked if we saw each other very much."

Her husband added: "I said we'd spent three years apart which was quite tough - on various tours in Iraq and Afghanistan - but it was worth it in the end."

While the Duke toured lines of guests on his own, the Queen, dressed in a Stuart Parvin powder blue jacquard coat and dress, with a hat by Rachel Trevor Morgan, chatted to guests with Kate

Trevor Rose, 46, from St Ann's, Nottingham, spoke to Kate about her brother-in-law Harry, who made a secret visit to his community recording studios a few weeks ago.

Mr Rose, who works with young people in the studios at the Russell Youth Club, said: "Harry's been doing a lot of work with us. I've been running the studio for 20 years.

"Kate was asking how the project was going and I mentioned Harry snuck down a couple of weeks ago for a visit.

"She said Harry had mentioned it to her, she said she'd say hello.

"She was asking how we were getting on with the kids. We're doing a project with the royal foundation writing a film.

"When Harry came down it was great. He was recording tunes.

"We're working with kids from primary school and trying to inspire them in different ways. And Harry just went, 'yep, Trev, we're recording'.

"So me and him did a recording of Happy by Pharrell Williams. He's a lot better than me.

"He was teaching a kid on the bass, he was writing lyrics with one.

"There was one kid who wanted to dedicate a song to his friend at school and Harry was helping the young lad with his lyrics.

"He was really coming up with stuff."


From Belfast Telegraph