Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh announced his retirement from royal duties after top secret emergency meeting called with royal staff. On May 4, 2017 Buckingham Palace announced that Prince, aged 95 is retiring from all royal engagements. He is turning 96 next month. The Queen will continue her public duties as she has always vowed to serve her country for as long as she lives. The Duke has supported his wife in public for 70 years. Philip is Britain’s longest serving consort in history.
There were speculations, ahead of the announcement that the Duke or Queen is in ill health. Not just this, some feverish rumors that their health has failed spread too. However, the Royal Standard flag over the palace remained at full mast depicting that there has been no death in the royal family. The palace spokesman said, “‘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”. It was reported that he will now attend only previously scheduled engagements but will not accept any new invitations.
According to Court Circular listings in 2016, the duke carried out 110 days of engagements which makes him the fifth busiest member of the royal family. He is patron, president or a member of more than 780 organisations and will continue to be associated with them, but “will no longer play an active role by attending engagements”, Buckingham Palace said. He has 22,191 solo engagements and 5493 speeches to his credit.
BBC royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell said the duke “clearly feels he now wishes to curtail” his “familiar role” in support of the Queen. He also added “The Queen is going to continue, of that there is no doubt. She will continue, albeit with a somewhat lightened workload.”
Royal commentator Dickie Arbiter said the duke is in “robust health”, adding: “He is not giving up on life, just stepping [down] from full-time public engagements”.
The duke attended Lord’s Cricket Ground to open a new stand on May 4 where was heard joking that he is the “world’s most experienced plaque unveiler”. He is known for his off-the-cuff remarks made at royal engagements around the world over the years.
Prime Minister Theresa May said she offered the country’s “deepest gratitude and good wishes” to the duke following his announcement.
“From his steadfast support for Her Majesty the Queen to his inspirational Duke of Edinburgh Awards and his patronage of hundreds of charities and good causes, his contribution to our United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and the wider world will be of huge benefit to us all for years to come”, she added.
Justin Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister tweeted,
On behalf of the Government of Canada, I thank Prince Philip for his decades of service and wish him the all the best in his retirement.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) May 4, 2017
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said, “He has dedicated his life to supporting the Queen and our country with a clear sense of public duty. He also wished him “all the best in his well-earned retirement”.
He added in admiration, “His Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme has inspired young people for more than 60 years in over 140 nations.” Prince Philip set up the awards in 1956 and they have become one of the UK’s best-known youth programmes. These have been motivating the young people to carry out challenges to earn bronze, silver or gold awards. Buckingham Palace reported that 4 million people have participated in the awards so far.
The duke and the Queen celebrate their platinum wedding anniversary – their 70th – in November.
Born on June 10, 1921 on the island of Corfu, when the Prince turned 90 he told the BBC it was “better to get out before you reach your sell-by date”!
A man told him –the “Duke of Jokes”–at a royal lunch shortly after his retirement, on Thursday “I’m sorry to hear you’re standing down”.
“Well, I can’t stand up much,” the duke, famed for his wit and humor, quipped.
Congratulating the Prince for his successful and celebrated royal term and wishing him health and happiness ahead.
We at mfreek tried to recapitulate his ‘Royal Journey’ through some of his photographs and life events. Have a look!
Philip dresses up for a school play in July 1935.
A keen sportsman, the young prince is pictured here at school during an athletics championship.
The Queen waves from the balcony of Buckingham Palace, with the Duke by her side, after her Coronation in June 1953.
Doting dad-Philip with his wife the Queen holding Prince Charles and Princess Anne in 1951 four years after they got married.
The Queen and Prince Philip were last seen out together over Easter, 2017.
(Gallery Source: BBC and Daily Mail, UK, official websites)