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Britain's Prince Philip Is Retiring From Public Duties

Prince Philip, seen here meeting pupils from St. Edward's Catholic Primary School on Wednesday, will stop accepting invitations to public events beginning in September.
Jeff Spicer
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Prince Philip, seen here meeting pupils from St. Edward's Catholic Primary School on Wednesday, will stop accepting invitations to public events beginning in September.

Queen Elizabeth's husband, Prince Philip, will "no longer carry out public engagements" starting in the fall, Buckingham Palace says, announcing what amounts to a retirement at age 95.

The change will come at the end of August, according to the Royal Communications office. Until then, Philip will continue to venture out either on his own or with the queen, who is 91.

"Her Majesty will continue to carry out a full program of official engagements with the support of members of the royal family," a statement from Buckingham Palace reads.

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.

"Following overnight reports of an emergency meeting at Buckingham Palace, many in Britain feared far worse news," Willem Marx reports for NPR from London. "But despite some occasional bouts of illness in recent years, the royal husband apparently remains in good health."

Philip, who is involved with more than 780 organizations, will continue to be associated with them, the palace says. He has spent seven decades in the public spotlight, and he and the queen will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary in November.

Prime Minister Theresa May issued a statement thanking the prince and wishing him well.

"From his steadfast support for Her Majesty the Queen to his inspirational Duke of Edinburgh Awards and his patronage of hundreds of charities and good causes," May said, "his contribution to our United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and the wider world will be of huge benefit to us all for years to come."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.

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