Buckingham Palace has announced that Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, will stop carrying out public engagements sometime between now and August.
In it, she said: "As a country we should be truly grateful for the selfless service that HRH The Duke of Edinburgh has given to his royal duties over so many years and, in particular, for his unstinting support to HM The Queen during her 65-year reign.
The Palace has never been keen on phrases like "slowing down" or "taking a step back" when it comes to the Queen and Prince Philip. She has indicated that she does not plan to retire. He said at the time that he felt he had "done my bit".
The first acknowledgement of Philip's advancing years came in 2010 when it was announced he would relinquish his association with a number of his charities on his 90th birthday the following year. She has stopped making long-haul air flights to other Commonwealth countries.
The world's longest-reigning living monarch and her husband have gradually passed on some of the workload to their son and heir Prince Charles as well as grandsons, Princes William and Harry.
The Duke is patron, President or a member of more than 780 organisations and will continue to be associated with them, but "will no longer play an active role by attending engagements", Buckingham Palace said.
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He was also hospitalized for a bladder infection during the queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations the year before, and spent Christmas 2011 in hospital where he underwent an operation to clear a blocked heart artery after suffering chest pains. The queen and Philip were both ill with the flu over the Christmas holidays but seem to have recovered well. In Australia, where the queen is recognized as head of state, officials praised Philip's tenacity.
Global speculation followed, including a story mistakenly published by The Sun falsely reporting Prince Philip's death.
"It should not really come as a surprise that, at the age of 95, the duke has decided that now is the right time for him to retire from official duties".
Ahead of the announcement, word of an emergency gathering of royal staff and aides at the palace Thursday morning sparked speculation and media attention, along with a Twitter hashtag, #BuckinghamPalace. The incorrect report was quickly dropped.
"I can't stand up much", quipped the prince, whose off-the-cuff remarks have sometimes landed him in hot water.
Danica Kirka and Kevin Scott in London and Kristen Gelineau in Sydney contributed.
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