Prince Philip has just announced his retirement at age 95 via an address at Buckingham Palace just after 10 a.m. London time on Thursday. This announcement quelled rumors that the prince had died.
Since news started to circulate that Queen Elizabeth had called a top secret emergency meeting at Buckingham Palace, rumors were flying. As staff arrived at Buckingham Palace ahead of the meeting, media outlets began reporting of a medical emergency thanks to the early hour. Not long after, people started suspecting Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth, had died. This rumor was fueled further when a French outlet reported the death. Not long after that, The Sun went on to also report Prince Philip’s death according to the Sydney Morning Herald. The Sun article, titled, “Prince Phillip dead at 95, how did the Duke of Edinburgh die, etc etc,” could still be found using a Google search, however, clicking on the article brought readers to a blank page or an error message.
The speculation was so fierce, a statement was issued, prior to the 10 a.m. announcement, by a royal source to the Associated Press, indicating that there was “no cause for concern” in regard to the health of both Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth, according to ABC Australia.
The other most common rumor in regard to the announcement was that the Queen was about to step down from her position. This would likely mean that Prince Charles would be King.
As the deadline approached, local media waited patiently outside Buckingham Palace for the results of the secret emergency meeting. Just after 10 a.m., the announcement of Prince Philip’s retirement was made.
“Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth, is to permanently stand down from royal duties in the autumn,” Buckingham Palace revealed in a statement on Thursday morning, Reuters reported.
“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.”
While Prince Philip will be retiring shortly, he will be attending some functions, most notably, he will be “seen at the Queen’s side in November to celebrate the royal couple’s wedding anniversary,” according to the Express. The pair will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary on November 20 and an event is likely to be held at Westminster Abbey.
As recently as the day prior to the announcement, Prince Philip was seen attending public events. This has fueled speculation, even after the official announcement was made, that Prince Philip is, potentially, unwell and that is why the emergency meeting was called so early on Thursday morning. However, while Prince Philip will step down from active duties in autumn, he will still commit to engagements already booked up until that point.
“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 official statement about Prince Philip’s retirement also referenced all the organizations he is associated with, indicating he will still participate with to varying degrees regardless of his retirement.
“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.”
While Prince Philip, who will turn 96 next month will be retiring from his duties, it is understood that Queen Elizabeth (who is 91) will not be stepping down for her official duties. Previously, she has insisted she will be a queen until her death, so this news is not unexpected.
“Her Majesty will continue to carry out a full program of official engagements with the support of members of the Royal Family.”
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