Prince Philip marks 90th birthday

Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh receives a pair of ear defenders given to him as a birthday present from Jackie Ballard, Chief Executive of "Action on Hearing Loss" charity as he attends a reception at Buckingham Palace on June 10, 2011, in London. Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh is celebrating his 90th birthday today.
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Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh receives a 90th birthday present from Jackie Ballard, chief executive of "Action on Hearing Loss" charity, as he attends a reception at Buckingham Palace on June 10, 2011, in London.

(CBS/AP) LONDON - Prince Philip, the husband of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, turned 90 on Friday in apparent good health and good humor, but also announced plans to cut back on his official duties.

The milestone birthday was a normal work day for the Duke of Edinburgh, who hosted a lunch for a charity that helps the deaf.

Pictures: Prince Philip

Philip, who has championed numerous charities over the years, will continue with his public and private engagements, but says he's now ready to wind down his workload.

"I reckon I've done my bit. I want to enjoy myself for a bit now. With less responsibility, less rushing about, less preparation, less trying to think of something to say," he told the BBC in an interview marking the milestone birthday. "On top of that your memory's going, I can't remember names. Yes, I'm just sort of winding down."

"It's better to get out before you reach the sell-by date," he joked.

On Friday, the queen, who turned 85 in April, made her husband the Lord High Admiral of the Navy, giving him a centuries-old title she had held since 1964. Philip had been a prominent naval officer until he gave up his career to be at his wife's side when she became queen.

Other honors included a 62-gun salute and the striking of a Royal Mint coin with his image on one side and the queen on the other. The British monarchy's official website also has a page where well-wishers can write birthday messages.

Outside Buckingham Palace, the Band of the Irish Guards played "Happy Birthday," pleasing tourists who had gathered for the Changing of the Guard ceremony.

Philip, the son of the late Prince Andrew of Greece and a great-great-grandson of Britain's Queen Victoria, married the queen in 1947. He has tried to stay in the background while attention is focused on the queen, but his knack for saying the wrong thing has become notorious, and has sometimes drawn unwanted attention on their travels.

Some of his famous gaffes have been seen as racially offensive - as in 1986 when he warned a British student in China he would get "slitty eyes" if he stayed much longer - while others are just refreshingly frank.

In a special 90th birthday compendium, The Independent newspaper Friday published 90 notorious gaffes by Philip, including one in 1969 when he asked the singer Tom Jones if he gargled with pebbles.

"It is very difficult at all to see how it is possible to become immensely valuable by singing what I think are the most hideous songs," he told the singer after Jones performed at a Royal Variety Performance.

Another memorable one-liner came in 2000 when the queen opened a new, $29.5 million British Embassy in Berlin.

"It's a vast waste of space," Philip said at the reception following the gala ceremony.

Philip has made thousands of royal appearances with his wife - most of them gaffe-free - and his long years of service were hailed by newspapers Friday.

An editorial in The Daily Telegraph praised him for devoting his life to public service and contributing behind the scenes to the queen's success.

"The reign of Queen Elizabeth II has been one of the most illustrious in our island story, something that would not have been possible without the duke's support," the newspaper said.

The royal family is planning a reception for Philip at Windsor Castle on Sunday after a service of thanksgiving at St. George's Chapel.