Published: Sat, May 06, 2017
Global | By Maureen Mccoy

The Sun newspaper mistakenly published a story suggesting Prince Philip had died

The Sun newspaper mistakenly published a story suggesting Prince Philip had died

He said: "Nobody deserves retirement more than Prince Philip".

Britain s Prince Philip, the 95-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth II, will retire from public engagements later this year, Buckingham Palace said Thursday in a surprise announcement.

Mass panic engulfed worldwide 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.

Despite being at the forefront of the royal family for nearly 70 years and also patron, president or a member of more than 780 organisations, he has no clear-cut constitutional role and has admitted struggling to carve out a role for himself as the queen's consort.

The queen will continue to carry out "a full program of official engagements" with the support of other members of the royal family, it said.

The prince, also known as the Duke of Edinburgh, and who has been by his wife's side throughout her 65 years on the throne, had decided he would cease public duties from autumn, the palace said in a statement.

It was after the war that he was given permission to marry Queen Elizabeth, before which, he abandoned his Greek and Danish royal titles to became a naturalised British subject, taking on his paternal grandfather's surname of "Mountbatten".

But the royal family s patriarch, who conducted 219 royal engagements a year ago, has been gradually reducing his workload in his nineties.

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

They married in 1947 and will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary on November 20. From the fall, then, the man behind the Queen will rest, while Queen Elizabeth will continue to carry out her duties.

While just hours after the official announcement was made he also joked about his advanced years at palace reception.

He represented the royal family in more than 200 events in 2016. "The duke decided this is the right time; he s almost 96 and most people will have retired 30 years earlier", the aide added.

But he has been reducing his workload in recent years, and said in 2011 that "I reckon I've done my bit, so I want to enjoy myself a bit now".

Diane Cole, 76, a retired Briton living in Melbourne, Australia, said: "The thing I like the most is when he. speaks his mind".

Philip saw the amusing side of the announcement on Thursday when he met mathematician Sir Michael Atiyah at a reception for members of the Order of Merit at St James's Palace.

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