The Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott used the country's national day to announce the prestigious honor. Mr. Abbot mentioned the Duke of Edinburgh was being celebrated for his contribution to Australia over the course of his wife’s soon to be 63-year reign. (She was crowned on February 6, 1952.)
Philip made his way to Australia for the first time during World War II and last visited the country when he was 90 in 2011. The Queen's husband has been there 23 times, seven of which were solo.
The Prime Minister said in a statement that the Queen had accepted his recommendation that the Prince along with Scotland-born defense force chief Angus Houston "be awarded Australia's highest honor as Knights of the Order of Australia".
He added, "Prince Philip's long life of service and dedication should be honored by Australia. For three quarters of a century, Prince Philip has served the Crown, and the wider Commonwealth. He has served Australia with distinction and is patron of over 800 organizations."
Opposition politicians described the decision as out-of-step with the times because Prince Philip was not Australian and that he had a lot of honors already but the Prime Minister stood by his decision.