Prince Philip steps down from public life

Prince Philip steps down from public life

Prince Philip steps down from public life

Known for his support of his wife Queen Elizabeth II and for his occasional gaffes, Prince Philip will retire from royal duties this August - Buckingham Palace announced on Thursday.

The Queen's consort will retire from royal engagements in the autumn after more than 65 years supporting the Queen in her role as head of state and attending events for his own charities and organisations.

"Thereafter, the duke will not be accepting new invitations for visits and engagements, although he may still choose to attend certain public events from time to time", it said.

The palace also announced that the queen herself "will continue to carry out a full programme of official engagements".

A report by the Daily Mail of an unusual meeting of royal household staff sparked a worldwide wave of speculation about the health of the queen and Philip, including incorrect reports that the flag atop Buckingham Palace had been lowered to half staff.

Both royals have gradually been cutting their workload in recent years, passing on many responsibilities to son and heir Prince Charles, and grandsons, Princes William and Harry.

Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard was one of a number of dignitaries to be with Prince Philip in the hours after he revealed he will no longer be available for public engagements.

Prince Philip and the queen, 91, are scheduled to celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary in November.

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Prime Minister Theresa May offered him the whole country's "deepest gratitude and good wishes".

His 219 engagements a year ago were made up of 101 official visits, 91 receptions and 21 other engagements.

Philip met the then Princess Elizabeth just before the World War II, and they exchanged letters while he served with the Royal Navy.

They were all carried out in Britain as Queen Elizabeth and her husband have cut down their overseas travel.

The Duke of Edinburgh, has suffered from heart disease and other ailments in recent years but has nonetheless maintained a vigorous public schedule.

"[Prince Philip's] contribution to our United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and the wider world will be of huge benefit to us all for years to come", May said.

Diane Cole, 76, a retired Briton living in Melbourne, Australia, said: "The thing I like the most is when he. speaks his mind".

During his long public life, Prince Philip has often drawn media attention for his sometimes undiplomatic remarks.

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