PRINCE PHILIP, the Duke of Edinburgh, is to step down from public engagements later this year, the Royal Family announced on Thursday morning.
A statement from the Royal Family said that the husband of Queen Elizabeth II would step aside from such engagements in the Autumn, by his own decision.
Prince Philip will meet the obligations he has committed to between now and August, but he will not accept new invitations after that, though he might still choose to attend certain public events.
A member of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, Philip was born into the Greek and Danish royal families. He was born in Greece, but his family was exiled from the country when he was an infant. After being educated in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, he joined the Royal Navy in 1939, aged 18. From July 1939, he began corresponding with the 13-year-old Princess Elizabeth whom he had first met in 1934. During the Second World War, he served with the Mediterranean and Pacific fleets.
After the war, Philip was granted permission by King George VI to marry Elizabeth. Before the official announcement of their engagement, he abandoned his Greek and Danish royal titles and became a naturalised British subject, adopting the surname Mountbatten from his maternal grandparents. After an engagement of five months, he married Elizabeth on 20 November 1947. Just before the wedding, he was created Duke of Edinburgh. Philip left active military service when Elizabeth became Queen in 1952, having reached the rank of commander. He was formally made a Prince of the United Kingdom in 1957.
Philip has four children with Elizabeth: Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward. He has eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
A keen sports enthusiast, Philip helped develop the equestrian event of carriage driving. He is a patron of over 800 organisations and serves as chairman of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme for people aged 14 to 24. He is the longest-serving consort of a reigning British monarch and the oldest-ever male member of the British royal family.
The news came after a night of revered speculation that began with a story in The Daily Mail about an “emergency meeting” to which the Queen’s entire household had been summoned.
Staff were to be addressed by Lord Chamberlain, the most senior member of the Royal Household, as well as the Queen’s Private Secretary Sir Christopher Geidt, the Mail reported.
The story touched off rumours about the health of Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II, but an unnamed source told the Reuters news agency that there was no cause for alarm.
Prince Philip was present at the opening of Warner Stand, at the Lord’s Cricket Ground on Wednesday.
Queen Elizabeth II, meanwhile, met with British Prime Minister Theresa May on the same day to mark the start of the country’s election campaign.