Prince Philip hands out Duke of Edinburgh awards for 'final time'

The Duke of Edinburgh awards have been presented by the man himself for what is thought to be the last time.

Prince Philip, who plans to retire from public duties in the autumn, appeared relaxed and chatty as he met a selection of the 2017 award winners at a palace garden reception in Edinburgh.

The royal entertained his young audience at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Credit: PA

Since he founded the Duke of Edinburgh's Awards in 1956, six million people have taken part and 2.7 million awards have been handed out as it became the world's leading youth achievement award.

The duke once praised the charity for helping "countless young people on their sometimes difficult path to adulthood".

Thursday's presentation reception honoured 350 gold award holders at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

The Duke of Edinburgh's Award is available to all 14-24 year olds. Credit: PA

Philip arrived to the sound of the Royal Marines Scotland band for what is also believed to be his final official royal engagement in Scotland.

The 96-year-old royal leant on an umbrella while chatting to the award winners.

Rachel Brutin, 18, said it was "lovely to meet him" adding: "He's an amazing man."

The 96-year-old was centre of attention at the palace garden reception. Credit: PA

The duke had asked her if she got lots of blisters while doing the expedition part of the award.

Rachel added: "It is quite poignant that this could be his last awards ceremony."

One of the guest presenters agreed it was a "great honour" to join the duke for the 2017 awards.

Prince Philip plans to retire from public duties in the autumn. Credit: PA

Corporal Andy Reid, who lost both legs and his right arm after stepping on an IED in Afghanistan, works as a motivational speaker.

"It's quite a historic moment and it's great to be part of it," he said.

"It's great to meet all these fantastic young people who are striving to achieve better in their lives."

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