Prince Philip to retire from royal duties


Prince Philip has joked about his advanced years at a palace reception hours after officials announced his retirement from public duties.

Officials said the queen, who turned 91 last month, will carry on her royal engagements with the support of the royal family.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth leaves with Prince Philip after a service of thanksgiving for her 90th birthday at St Paul's Cathedral in London, Britain, June 10, 2016.

Philip is famed for his quips and outspoken remarks that amuse and offend in equal measure but he also has a passionate interest in engineering and design, has written 14 books, many on a wildlife subject matter, including Birds From Britannia, and is a qualified pilot who speaks several languages.

The Palace said in a statement that it was Prince Philip's decision taken with the support of the Queen. "The Duke decided this is the right time; he's almost 96 and most people will have retired 30 years earlier".

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

The prince was ill during the holiday period, while the queen, who is 91, was not seen in public for almost a month after missing church services on Christmas Day and New Year's Day because of what Buckingham Palace described as a persistent cold.

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One of the officials said household meetings are called from time to time.

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.

Today it was Prince Philip's turn. She has stopped making long-haul air flights to other Commonwealth countries.

They have both been cutting their workload in recent years, passing on many responsibilities to son and heir Prince Charles, and grandsons, Princes William and Harry.

The Duke of Edinburgh is Patron, President or member of over 780 organisations with which he will continue to be associated though he will no longer play an active role in attending engagements.

United Kingdom tabloid The Sun accidentally published an unfinished obituary of Prince Philip.

Despite rumors surrounding the announcement, a Buckingham Palace spokesman assured citizens there was "no cause for alarm" when it came to the health of Queen Elizabeth or Prince Philip, the Independent reported.