Published: Wed, May 10, 2017
Global | By Maureen Mccoy

Prince Philip Decides 96 Is a Good Retirement Age

Both carried out official duties on Wednesday, with the Queen meeting Prime Minister Theresa May to formally agree to the dissolution of parliament ahead of June's election while Philip opened a new stand at Lord's Cricket Ground in central London.

Mass panic engulfed global media as word of "an emergency meeting" trickled out of Buckingham Palace in the wee hours of Thursday morning (local time), but fears were allayed by Prince Philip's announcement.

The Duke of Edinburgh has suffered from heart disease and other illnesses over recent years but has always maintained a rigorous schedule.

He once admitted the curtailment of his career was "disappointing", but said that "being married to the queen, it seemed to me that my first duty was to serve her in the best way I could".

Multiple media outlets reported that the prince was in good spirits and reportedly joked about his coming retirement.

When mathematician member Michael Atiyah said to him: "I m sorry to hear you re standing down", the duke replied: "Well, I can t stand up much longer!"

"Well I can't stand up much longer."

"Her Majesty will continue to carry out a full programme of official engagements with the support of members of the royal family", the palace stressed.

He will attend previously scheduled engagements until August, and would not accept any new invitations thereafter.

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She said it was time for the younger royals to step into the spotlight.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in 1947.

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.

However, "he may still choose to attend certain public events from time to time", the palace said.

The royal statement may have put her husband's future plans front and centre, but there were also clear messages from the monarch about what this will mean for her going forward. He has been by the queen's side during her 65-year reign, and they will celebrate 70 years of marriage in November.

Alan Doyle, 47, a guide with London Tailored Tours, added: "He has supported the Queen, he's been her rock".

The announcement of the royal retirement followed an emergency meeting of her royal staff at Buckingham Palace earlier today.

"He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years", Elizabeth said in a very rare personal tribute to Philip during a speech to mark their 50th wedding anniversary in 1997.

He represented the royal family in more than 200 events in 2016.

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