Prince Philip, 95, to retire from royal duties
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.
Prince Philip is the longest-serving consort in British history.