Announcement on Prince Philip’s role ends rumours about UK royal family
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Announcement on Prince Philip’s role ends rumours about UK royal family

Worldwide speculation about the health of members of Britain’s royal family ended when a statement from Buckingham Palace said Prince Philip would withdraw from public engagements this autumn.

world Updated: May 04, 2017 21:26 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
Britain royal family,Buckingham Palace,Prince Philip
File photo from October 2011 shows Britain's Queen Elizabeth II with Prince Philip during their visit to Brisbane. Prince Philip, the 95-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth II, will retire from public engagements later this year, Buckingham Palace said on May 4, 2017. (AFP)

An emergency meeting at the Buckingham Palace on Thursday morning fuelled social media frenzy over the health of royal family members, but ended with a statement that Prince Philip, 95, will withdraw from public engagements from the autumn.

There was worldwide speculation overnight after The Sun briefly published online – and later removed – “news” that Prince Philip had died. A Daily Mail report added to thespeculation by reporting that all royal staff had been called to the meeting in London.

File photo from March 2015 shows Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Britain's Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, leaving St Paul's Cathedral in London after attending a memorial service to mark the end of Britain's combat operations in Afghanistan. (AFP)

After the meeting at 10am, Buckingham Palace released a statement: “His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh has decided that he will no longer carry out public engagements from the autumn of this year. In taking this decision, The Duke has the full support of The Queen.”

The statement said Prince Philip will attend previously scheduled engagements between now and August, both individually and accompanying the Queen, but he will not accept new invitations for visits and engagements, although he may still choose to attend certain public events from time to time.

Prince Philip is patron, president or a member of more than 780 organisations, with which he will continue to be associated,though he will no longer play an active role by attending engagements, the statement said.

“Her Majesty will continue to carry out a full programme of official engagements with the support of members of the Royal Family,” the statement added.

Prince Philip’s decision is likely to lead to Prince Charles – the next in line to the throne – taking over more royal duties.

In this June 19, 1962 file photo, Britain's Prince Philip and his wife Queen Elizabeth II arrive at the Royal Ascot race meeting. Buckingham Palace said on May 4, 2017 that Prince Philip will no longer carry out engagements starting this autumn. (AP)

As the Queen’s consort, Prince Philip accompanied her to India on three occasions - 1961, 1983 and 1997.

Soon after the statement from Buckingham Palace, Prime Minister Theresa May offered “deepest gratitude and good wishes” on behalf of the country to the Duke of Edinburgh.

“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, his contribution to our United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and the wider world will be of huge benefit to us all for years to come,” she said.

First Published: May 04, 2017 15:12 IST