His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, more colloquially known as Prince Philip, will no longer be a part of public royal life from September this year.
The long-serving Duke and husband of Queen Elizabeth II since 1947 has called time on his public engagements, with a statement from Buckingham Palace citing no particular reason for the decision.
Given the world’s most famous consort’s age, a well-worn 95, it’s perhaps far more surprising that it has taken him this long to make the decision. In fact, he is the longest-living of all men in the British Royal Family’s history.
The announcement was preceded by a media fracas in the United Kingdom, sparked by the calling of an emergency meeting at the Palace by the Queen on Thursday.
The subsequent statement has since iterated the British monarch’s support for her husband, while adding that Prince Philip will see out all remaining commitments between now and August.
“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 notes.
It further adds that, as the patron of more than 780 organisations, the Duke will continue his association with them, while abstaining from all public engagements.
Speaking to the BBC, writer Gyles Brandreth confirms that the Prince is in fact not retiring on the grounds of poor health.
“It's 70 years this autumn since he became the consort of Princess Elizabeth and then the Queen - so, after 70 years, I think he feels probably he has done his stuff,” he says. “I think he is retiring now in order to have a few years of retirement and I think the timing is thought through.”
The Prince was, however, overheard at a royal lunch on Thursday. "I'm sorry to hear you're standing down", the BBC overheard a guest say. "Well, I can't stand up much," the Duke quipped back.