Prince Philip, 95, keeps calm but won't carry on royal duty

After an overnight social media frenzy that included false reports of the Duke of Edinburgh's death attributed to an unknown French news sources, Buckingham Palace announced today that Prince Philip will simply be retiring in the fall - when he's 96 years old.

The 95-year-old has attended countless British and foreign engagements, as well as being patron or president of nearly 800 organisations.

The queen, the world's longest-reigning living monarch who celebrated her 91st birthday in April, will continue to carry out a full program of official engagements, the statement added.

Elizabeth and Philip celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary in November. After their marriage in 1947, they spent time in Malta, where he was posted - only for their lives to be changed overnight by the premature death of her father, king George VI, in 1952.

But both performed royal duties on Wednesday: The queen met Prime Minister Theresa May, and the prince cut a ribbon to open a new stand of seats at a cricket ground.

"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", the statement said.

When mathematician member Michael Atiyah said to him: "I m sorry to hear you re standing down", the duke replied: "Well, I can t stand up much longer!"


The Queen's public schedule will continue as normal but it is understood other members of the royal family will "step up" in support of the monarch.

The prince was ill during the holiday period, while the queen, who is 91, was not seen in public for almost a month after missing church services on Christmas Day and New Year's Day because of what Buckingham Palace described as a persistent cold.

The meeting was called somewhat last minute, leading many to fear that some actual emergency was taking place at the palace.

He said: "He has dedicated his life to supporting the Queen and our country with a clear sense of public duty".

The announcement followed a meeting of royal staff from around Britain, which prompted speculation about the health of the Queen and her husband. She has described him as "my strength and stay".

Members at the event on Thursday included former Australian prime minister John Howard, TV presenter Sir David Attenborough, artist David Hockney, the former Commons speaker Betty Boothroyd and entrepreneur James Dyson.

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