Prince Philip is to permanently retire from royal duties, an emergency meeting of senior Royal Household staff have been told at Buckingham Palace this morning, according to the BBC.
Buckingham Palace said in a statement it was the Duke’s decision taken with the support of the Queen.
The 95-year-old will no longer carry out public engagements from the autumn.
A statement from the palace said: ‘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. pic.twitter.com/lH2zsYKXsp
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) May 4, 2017
‘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.’
Philip has generally been in good health in recent years and On Wednesday when he opened a new stand at Lord’s cricket ground in central London looked relaxed, lively and walked confidently down a flight of uneven steps when he strode onto the outfield.
But it appears the Duke has decided that, now in his advanced years, the time has come to step back from royal duties that can involve extensive travel.
His grandson the Duke of Cambridge has already announced he will be leaving his job as an air ambulance helicopter pilot to concentrate on his public role, and it is likely he will be further supporting the Queen in her position as head of state now the Duke has retired from official engagements.
But a royal aide stressed Philip is likely to attend events in the future and will not completely disappear from public life.
Speculation had been rife ahead of the 10am meeting, with French media reporting that the Duke of Edinburgh had died.
Staff from across the country were addressed by the Lord Chamberlain, the most senior officer in the Royal Household, and Sir Christopher Geidt, the Queen’s private secretary.It was described as ‘highly unusual’ and speculation ahead of the meeting was rife.
Among the staff who were at the meeting were servants from Balmoral in Scotland, Windsor Castle and Sandringham.
A source told the Daily Mail late last night: ‘Everyone is on tenterhooks. Although meetings involving the entire royal household are occasionally called, the way this has been done at the eleventh hour is highly unusual and suggests that there is something major to be disseminated.A former worker at the Palace told metro.co.uk ahead of the meeting: ‘This is very strange. In the decade that I worked there I can’t remember anything like this happening.’
‘But at the moment, only those closest to her genuinely know what on earth this is all about.’