UK Queen’s husband Prince Philip retires from royal duties

The prince was last seen in good spirits as he unveiled a new stand at Lord’s Cricket Ground on Wednesday. “You’re about to see the world’s most experienced plaque-unveiler,” he said at the event. 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. 

London : 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 on 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 on 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.

Prince Philip has accompanied the Queen on all major foreign tours, including three visits to India. Their first visit to India was in 1961. Since then, they paid two more state visits to India – in 1983 and 1997 – and received three incoming state visits to the UK from India – 1963, 1990 and 2009.

“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 announcement of the royal retirement followed an emergency meeting of her royal staff at Buckingham Palace earlier Thursday. The meeting had sparked widespread speculation over the health of the Queen and her husband as such an emergency meeting of staff from across the country is unusual and held mostly annually as per schedule. The staff meeting came a day after the Queen met Prime Minister Theresa May at Buckingham Palace to formally agree the dissolution of Parliament, officially kick-starting the campaign ahead of the general election on June 8.

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