Prince Philip will step down from public engagements from the autumn of 2017, Buckingham Palace has announced.
Reports of a meeting at Buckingham Palace sparked a frenzy of rumours about the 95-year-old’s health, although he was seen in public the previous day. He turns 96 next month.
Staff in the royal household were briefed before the news was made public
A statement from Buckingham Palace said he “has the full support of the Queen”. He will continue to attend scheduled events up to the autumn, but will no longer accept invitations after this date.
He will continue to be associated with the 780 organisations of which he is patron, although he will not attend events.
Born into the Greek royal family, Philip was exiled as a child and eventually joined the Royal Navy in 21939. He married Queen Elizabeth in 1947.
He founded the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards in 1956, and has joked he is “the world’s most experienced plaque-unveiler”.
The Prime Minister Theresa May said: “On behalf of the whole country, I want to offer our deepest gratitude and good wishes to His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh following today’s announcement that he will stand down from public duties in the autumn.”
Leader of the Labour party Jeremy Corbyn said: “I would like to pay tribute to Prince Philip following his decision to retire from public service. He has dedicated his life to supporting the Queen and our country with a clear sense of public duty.
“His Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme has inspired young people for more than 60 years in over 140 nations. We thank Prince Philip for his service to the country and wish him all the best in his well-earned retirement.”