Prince Philip, the 95-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth, is to retire from carrying out royal engagements later this year, Buckingham Palace has announced.
The Duke of Edinburgh's decision to step down from public duties has been met with tributes praising his contribution to national life - and a lighthearted quip from Philip himself.
Philip, a member of the Greek royal family in exile, sacrificed a successful naval career to support Elizabeth when she became queen.
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.
Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard was one of a number of dignitaries to be with Prince Philip in the hours after he revealed he will no longer be available for public engagements.
"Prince Philip will attend previously scheduled engagements between now and August, both individually and accompanying The Queen", the palace said in a statement. This media house does not correct any spelling or grammatical error within press releases and commentaries.
"He s looking forward to enjoying more of his leisure time", a royal aide said.
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But Buckingham Palace stressed he might decide to attend certain events from time to time.
The palace said Philip will continue his role with more than 780 charitable organizations but will not regularly attend engagements.
Prime Minister Theresa May offered the country's "deepest gratitude and good wishes" to Philip on his retirement.
He is not expected to disappear completely from the public stage; the palace said he may still take part in some events from time to time. They married in 1947 and will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary on Nov 20.
Prince Philip may have made a decision to step down from his public role as he approaches his 96th birthday, but he apparently has no intention to retire his famous one-liners.
The speculation began when royal household staff from as far as Scotland were summoned to the palace for an emergency meeting today.
When he opened the new Warner stand at Lord's cricket ground on Wednesday, the Duke joked just before he pulled a cord to expose a monument to his visit: "You're about to see the world's most experienced plaque-unveiler". "He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim or we shall ever know".
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