He had spent most of his adult life cosseted in palaces and castles, but craved modesty and simplicity, and in retirement Prince Philip finally, briefly, got his own way. His private nirvana was the quiet, peaceful home he made for himself at Wood Farm on the Sandringham Estate, where he could live out his years reading, painting, birdwatching, carriage-driving and entertaining his closest friends. “I reckon I’ve done my bit,” he said in an interview to mark his 90th birthday, “so I want to enjoy myself a bit now, with less responsibility, less frantic rushing about, less preparation, less trying to think of something to say. “On top of that, your memory’s going, I can’t remember names and things,” he admitted. “It’s better to get out before you reach the sell-by date.” Painting, sport, writing – the hobbies that made Prince Philip tick The Duke of Edinburgh was surely alone in believing he had reached his “sell-by date”, even when he did finally retire in 2017, but no one, and certainly not the Queen, would dispute that he had “done his bit”. By the time the Duke stepped down from his full-time role in August 2017, when he attended a rain-sodden parade in front of Buckingham Palace in his role as Captain General of the Royal Marines, he had completed 22,219 solo engagements, as well as countless others with the Queen.