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Prince Philip gaffe: Duke of Edinburgh asks well-wisher 'Can you afford it?' after they give Queen birthday present

Mirror logo Mirror 20/04/2016 By Victoria Murphy
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It may be The Queen's birthday but Prince Philip stole the show today with one of his famous witty comments.

The Duke of Edinburgh joked "Are you sure you can afford it?” as his wife was given a fountain pen made by Birmingham company Yard-O-Lead today.

The gift was presented as she toured the Royal Mail delivery office in Windsor the day before her 90th birthday tomorrow.

She arrived at the delivery office – where the car park has been newly tarmacked – to be greeted by a Royal Mail choir singing a medley of mail-related songs, including Return To Sender and Please Mr Postman.

The Queen’s tour saw her meet postwoman Tracey Stacey, who showed her how a PDA (personal digital assistant, or electronic parcel reader) works.

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A bumper delivery of cards and presents for her 90th birthday was revealed at the site where she also unveiled a plaque, met Britain’s longest-serving postman and was introduced to the woman who actually delivers the mail to Windsor Castle.

It was part of the commemorations marking the 500th anniversary of the postal service.

An archived letter from the Queen to 'granny', Queen Mary, was also released to mark the occasion.

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In it, she signs off 'Lilibet' - her childhood nickname.

The monarch looked radiant in a bright pink coat and silk dress by Stewart Parvin with a matching hat by Rachel Trevor-Morgan.

She was also given flowers by what may well be the youngest person ever to hand her a bouquet, 18-month-old Charlie Capper.

During her tour of the office, which has been renamed the Queen Elizabeth Delivery Office in her honour, Moya Greene, the Royal Mail’s chief executive, said in a speech: “I have it on good authority that your own postmen and women will be especially busy with an enormous mail bag.”

Officials announced the building will be renamed The Queen Elizabeth Delivery Office, as Ms Greene added: "Your Majesty, the leadership and commitment to public service you have shown throughout your lifetime continues to inspire us all.

"It is our privilege to carry your cypher on our iconic post boxes and your image on our postage stamps, each of which receives your personal approval before they are issued.

"Ma'am, we are enormously grateful to you and the Duke of Edinburgh for gracing us with your visit today on the eve of a significant milestone of your own."

Afterwards Ms Stacey, 50, was overcome with emotion over meeting the Queen. “It was very emotional - just the build up of it all,” she said. “It was five minutes of sheer panic.

“She was radiant, absolutely gorgeous. If I look as good as that at 90, I will be well pleased. She looked absolutely fabulous.”

Janette Warburton, 60, who delivers the mail to Windsor Castle, said the Queen had been told how the Royal Mail delivers millions of parcels a year. She said: “The Queen said, ‘I’ve probably added to that.’”

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Mrs Warburton said she delivers the mail to the castle when the regular postman is off, although a Buckingham Palace postman collects all the Queen’s own post, which has to be scanned before it is delivered.

“You have to have a pass to go into the castle,” she said. “It is just an ordinary delivery, but it is special. Who wouldn’t want to live in a castle?”

As she left the Queen was presented with a bouquet by Bob Hartley, 68, from Leeds, who has been a postman for 53 years.

He said: “My own family’s connections with Royal Mail date back three generations, as both my father and my grandfather also worked for the business.

"That’s a total of over 100 years’ service.”

She was also presented with a bouquet by young Charlie Capper, who was there with his grandfather, Derek Warner, 69, from Horley in Sussex, who has completed 50 years’ service with the Royal Mail.

His father Michael Capper, 34, said he had been plucked out of the crowd by palace staff. “We brought flowers with us – his mum put together a little flower arrangement.”

Mr Warner said Charlie was a little distracted as he waited to give the Queen the flowers. “All the time he wanted to get into [the Queen’s] Bentley. I had to turn him round. But when he handed her the flowers he did it just right.”

She was also treated to a performance of The Beatles' classic When I'm 64 sung by local schoolchildren.

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The monarch appeared to nod her head slightly in time to the music as the pupils delivered their performance accompanied by the Band of the Irish Guards dressed in their red tunics.

The song was picked to mark the nation's longest-reigning monarch's 64 years on the throne.

Mark Taylor, head of libraries, arts and heritage for the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, who accompanied the sovereign on her visit, said afterwards: "She did enjoy that song."

He added: "I said happy birthday for tomorrow and she said 'Thank you very much'."

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Mr Taylor said that the Queen was delighted with the weather as she carried out the first set of official engagements to celebrate her 90th.

"She said 'We're so lucky to have a sunny day'. Last week it was torrential rain," he added.

Tomorrow she will

Queen Elizabeth II at 90

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