London, May 5: Prince Philip, the 95-year-old cricket-loving husband of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, will step down from carrying out royal engagements from September, the Buckingham Palace announced thursday.
The Duke of Edinburgh will no longer carry out public engagements from September, the palace said in a statement. “In taking this decision, the Duke has the full support of the Queen,” it said, ending frenzied speculation in the media after the Queen had called an emergency meeting of all of her staff at the palace thursday.
The palace said that the royal, who turns 96 in June, will continue to attend previously scheduled engagements between now and August, with the monarch and individually. But he will not be accepting any new invitations for visits and engagements, although he may “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,” the statement said, adding that the decision does not affect the 91-year-old monarch’s public engagement calendar. The royal, known for his sense of humour and off-the-cuff remarks, had indicated plans of “winding down” from public engagements on his 90th birthday.
The couple are set to mark their 70th or platinum wedding anniversary in November. Their son and heir, Prince Charles, and grandsons Princes William and Harry are likely to take on additional royal duties to step in for Prince Philip at public engagements from later this year.
The royal couple, both in their 90s, had already cut down on long-haul travel for some years now, with younger royals taking on those duties. Close confidants of the royal family said the decision was a personal one taken by the Duke himself, who may now devote his time to writing his memoirs. (PTI)
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