|The Duke of Edinburgh as colonel in chief of the Canadian Royal Regiment. |
Image: Wikimedia Commons
After more than 65 years of public service, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, is retiring this autumn, Buckingham Palace has announced. (Read - Royal Profile: Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh)
Prince Philip will turn 96 this June and has decided to step down from royal duties. He has the Queen’s support for this, a statement from Buckingham Palace revealed.
"I'm sorry to hear you're standing down", one man told him at a royal lunch on Thursday. "Well, I can't stand up much," the duke quipped.
The duke will attend all engagements slated for him until August but will no longer accept any invitation afterwards.
Meanwhile, Her Majesty the Queen "will continue to carry out a full program of official engagements", a statement from Buckingham Palace said.
Earlier prior the official statement, news outlets and the social media were touched off following a report in The Daily Mail, that a senior Palace aide called all of the Queen’s staff as well as employees of all the royal residences for an emergency meeting in London, which was “highly usual.”
Speculations then begin to circulate regarding the Queen or the Duke of Edinburgh’s condition. A palace official, however, allayed fears, saying such gatherings happened every now and then, and that there was “no reason for alarm.”
British tabloid The Sun, however, mistakenly published an unfinished obituary of Prince Philip on its website for a few minutes Thursday morning. The headline read: “Prince Philip dead at 95, how did the Duke of Edinburgh die, etc etc.” In fact, all seems to be well in Buckingham Palace, and New York Times noted “palace gardeners could be seen jovially going about their chores.” The Queen and Prince Philip had also busied themselves with a round of engagements on Wednesday. If someone in the Royal Family had died, the palace would have been in a remarkably stoic mood.
Prince Philip has been one of the most dedicated members of the British Royal Family, perhaps, the strongest support to Queen Elizabeth II. He made a total of 22,191 solo engagements and 637 solo overseas visits, gave 5,493 speeches, supported 785 organizations, presented 54 colours, received 32 service appointments, and authored 14 books (Telegraph).
The retirement of the Duke of Edinburgh ushers in a new era for the Royal family, as younger members of the Royal Family are slated to take on more active role. The Prince’s children, the Earl of Wessex and the Princess Royal, already busy as ever, will accept workload in the coming years to make up for the Duke of Edinburgh’s retirement (Royal Central). More importantly, The Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge, will have to be busier this time, being the first and second in line to the throne, respectively.
Prince Philip, the longest-serving royal consort in British history, follows the step of Prince Henrik of Denmark who retired from royal duties in 2016. (Read: Prince Henrik of Denmark to retire from royal duties)