Buckingham Palace announced the Duke of Edinburgh will step down from official duties.
According to a statement provided by Buckingham Palace, the 95-year-old Duke of Edinburgh will no longer carry out public engagements as of this autumn, although the queen's role will remain the same. The prince will still attend previously scheduled events but will no longer accept new invitations after the conclusion of his final public engagement at the end of August.
The announcement came after members of the royal staff were summoned to an "emergency meeting" on Thursday, May 4 in London, which sounded off alarm bells about the health of the royal couple. Dozens of news crews camped outside the palace awaiting news, many anticipating the worst. The website of one tabloid even reported Prince Philip had died before realizing their error and removing the article.
In the last year there has been an increase in concern about the health of the queen and Prince Philip. The prince fell ill during the holiday period with a "severe cold" while the 91-year-old queen was absent from the public eye for nearly a month during the same period.
Buckingham Palace released the following statement on May 4:
"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. Prince Philip will attend previously scheduled engagements between now and August, both individually and accompanying The Queen. Thereafter, The Duke will not be accepting new invitations for visits and engagements, although he may still choose to attend certain public events from time to time.
"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. Her Majesty will continue to carry out a full programme of official engagements with the support of members of the Royal Family."
The royal couple, who are just one year away from reaching their platinum anniversary, originally met at the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth in 1939. The queen and Prince Philip exchanged letters before announcing an engagement in 1947, shortly after Queen Elizabeth's 21st birthday.
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