Prince Philip, 95, to re­tire from royal du­ties

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - GRE­GORY KATZ LON­DON —

For decades, he has stood loy­ally at the side of Queen El­iz­a­beth and made thou­sands of solo ap­pear­ances as well. He calls him­self the world’s most ex­pe­ri­enced un­veiler of plaques.

He has been el­i­gi­ble for a gov­ern­ment pen­sion since June 10, 1986, yet still sol­diered on. Now, at age 95, Prince Philip says he is re­tir­ing from royal du­ties.

The Queen’s hus­band said Thurs­day he will carry out sched­uled en­gage­ments for the next few months but won’t take on new ones start­ing in the fall.

Buck­ing­ham Palace said Philip, also known as the Duke of Ed­in­burgh, made the de­ci­sion to re­tire with the full sup­port of the Queen.

Tall, craggy-faced and al­ways el­e­gantly dressed, Philip is as fa­mous for his oc­ca­sional off-colour gaffes and one-lin­ers as he is for his devotion to the monarch, and he joked about his re­tire­ment at an Or­der of Merit re­cep­tion at St. James’s Palace.

“I’m sorry to hear you’re stand­ing down,” said 88-year-old math­e­ma­ti­cian Michael Atiyah said, us­ing the Bri­tish ex­pres­sion for re­tire­ment.

“Well, I can’t stand up much longer,” Philip replied. He walked with his head held high, de­spite his self­dep­re­cat­ing claim.

Philip has made ear­lier con­ces­sions to age, an­nounc­ing when he turned 90 in 2011 that he was “wind­ing down” his of­fi­cial du­ties. He said at the time that he felt he had “done my bit.”

Since then, he’s had some se­ri­ous health is­sues, in­clud­ing a blocked heart artery, and has been hos­pi­tal­ized sev­eral times.

There were no in­di­ca­tions that Philip suf­fers from any new health prob­lems. The state­ment in­di­cated Philip will carry out pre­vi­ously sched­uled en­gage­ments be­tween now and Au­gust.

Few would be­grudge him a chance to take it easy af­ter more than 22,000 solo royal en­gage­ments since El­iz­a­beth as­cended to the throne in 1952.

He quickly dis­cov­ered he had no de­fined con­sti­tu­tional role and had to carve his own path, mak­ing it his top pri­or­ity to sup­port his wife in her con­sid­er­able pub­lic en­deav­ours.

Philip, a mem­ber of the Greek Royal Fam­ily in ex­ile, sac­ri­ficed a suc­cess­ful naval ca­reer to sup­port El­iz­a­beth when she be­came Queen.

He be­came the long­est-serv­ing con­sort in Bri­tish his­tory in 2009 — much as El­iz­a­beth has be­come the coun­try’s long­est reign­ing monarch.

The palace said Philip will con­tinue his role with more than 780 char­i­ta­ble or­ga­ni­za­tions but will not reg­u­larly at­tend en­gage­ments.

He is not ex­pected to dis­ap­pear com­pletely from the pub­lic stage; the palace said he may still take part in some events from time to time.

CANA­DIAN PRESS FILE PHOTO

Prince Philip is the long­est-serv­ing con­sort in Bri­tish his­tory.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.