LONDON – Prince Philip, 95-year-old husband of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, is to step down from public life, Buckingham Palace announced on Thursday.
The prince, who has been at the Queen’s side for her 65-year reign, will stop accepting invitations for public engagements from September, the palace said.
The Queen, who is 91 and has gradually scaled back her public appearances in recent years, “will continue to carry out a full program of official engagements”, 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,” the Buckingham Palace statement said, referring to the prince by one of this other titles.
“Prince Philip will attend previously scheduled engagements between now and August, both individually and accompanying The Queen,” the statement added.
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) May 4, 2017
The duke carried out 110 days of engagements in 2016, making him the fifth busiest member of the royal family, according to Court Circular listings.
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.
Prime Minister Theresa May said she offered the country’s “deepest gratitude and good wishes” to the duke following his announcement, the BBC reported.
She added: “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.”