Buckingham Palace has announced that Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, is retiring in August, aged 96, with the full support of Queen Elizabeth II, for a well-earned rest.
However, Prince Philip will continue carrying out scheduled official engagements between now and August, on his own as well as accompany the Queen, including today’s Service for Members of the Order of Merit at the Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace.
He will no longer be accepting new invitations for visits and engagements, although he may choose to attend public events from time to time.
Prince Philip will no longer play an active role by attending engagements as Patron, President or a member of over 780 organisations.
He was the fifth-busiest member of the Royal Family in 2016, as he spent 110 days carrying out official duties, and 25 days in 2017.
Prince Philip is a great man who deserves a rest. https://t.co/MjNdhHiSdb
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) May 4, 2017
Meanwhile, the Queen will continue to carry out a full programme of official engagements with support from other members of the Royal Family.
Emergency Meeting At Buckingham Palace
As we reported earlier today, staff from the royal household were notified around 3.00 am (12 noon AEST) for an emergency meeting at Buckingham Palace at 10.00 am (7.00pm AEST).
Since the news broke, speculation ran rife on social media with news reports claiming Prince Philip had died. Or whether the Queen will abdicate? Or would Buckingham Palace announce a Regency, as the Queen would not abdicate?
Former Royal Press Secretary Dickie Arbiter offered this suggestion to help calm the speculation.
Staff meetings are called from time to time nothing unusual & could well be about the Buckingham Palace refurbishment https://t.co/jsJZpK128n
— Dickie Arbiter (@RoyalDickie) May 4, 2017
Buckingham Palace later assured royal correspondents, including Juliet Rieden from The Australian Women’s Weekly who said the meeting had nothing to do with the Queen or Prince Philip’s health on 2GB’s The Chris Smith Show.
Lots of hysterical speculation about a Buckingham Palace announcement. There *is* a meeting today. But it’s not -as some say- due to a death pic.twitter.com/Xi9HKkPO6G
— Chris Ship (@chrisshipitv) May 4, 2017