Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, Prince Philip, has just officially announced he is retiring from royal duties following the northern autumn - after a day of frenzied speculation about his health, following the announcement of a mysterious and urgent staff meeting at Buckingham Palace.
A statement from the palace reads:
‘His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh has decided that he will no longer carry out public engagements from the autumn of this year. In taking this decision, The Duke has the full support of The Queen.
‘Prince Philip will attend previously scheduled engagements between now and August, both individually and accompanying The Queen. 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.
‘The Duke of Edinburgh is Patron, President or a member of over 780 organisations, with which he will continue to be associated, although he will no longer play an active role by attending engagements.
‘Her Majesty will continue to carry out a full programme of official engagements with the support of members of the Royal Family.’
The news of the royal's decision to stand down from royal duties comes as the Duke of Edinburgh is preparing to celebrate his 96th birthday this June.
The Duke had scaled back his royal commitments in recent years, after having been hospitalised numerous times for various health problems including a bladder infection and an abdominal operation.
Most recently, he battled a heavy cold that forced him and and his wife to cancel their Christmas trip to their country home at Sandringham House in Norfolk.
Retirement is another major life change for the royal, whose life has been an eventful one. He was born Philip Mountbatten to Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg on June 10, 1921 on the Greek island of Corfu.
He entered public life as one of five children: Princess Cecilie of Greece and Denmark, Princess Margarita of Greece and Denmark, Princess Sophie of Greece and Denmark, Princess Theodora of Greece and Denmark.
Prince Philip was educated in Paris, then moved to the UK and stayed at Kensington Palace with his uncle, George Mountbatten.
In 1933 he was schooled in Germany, which was owned by his brother-in-law and then he relocated with this school to Scotland.
Sadly, in 1937 his sister and her family were killed in an air crash.
In 1939 he joined the Royal Navy where he worked his way up to second-in-command of a ship during the Invasion of Sicily at just 21 and he served in the Second World War.
Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II met in the same year when she was just 13 years old.
They got engaged in 1947 when she was 21 and he was 26, with the pair marrying in November 1947 at Westminster Abbey.
The royal couple lived in Malta for the next few years where they had their first son, Prince Charles in 1949.
In 1950 they welcomed their first daughter Anne.
In 1953, Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth at age 25, inheriting the crown after the death of her father.
Prince Philip has been by her side throughout her reign.
The couple's third child Prince Andrew was born in 1960, with Queen Elizabeth giving birth to Prince Edward four years later.
The Duke of Edinburgh has eight grandchildren: Prince William, Peter Phillips, Princess Beatrice of York, Lady Louise Windsor, Prince Harry, Zara Phillips, Princess Eugenie of York and James, Viscount Severn.
He is also a great-grandfather of five: Prince George and Princess Charlotte, Savannah and Isla Phillips, and Mia Grace Tindall. And now that he is stepping away from public life, it seems that family life will be his primary pursuit.
Thanks for your years of public service, Prince Philip!
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