After Queen Elizabeth called an urgent meeting at Buckingham Palace in the wee hours of the morning, the world waited anxiously to learn what the subject of the meeting was. Many speculated that the Queen's health or Prince Philip's health was the cause of concern. Fortunately, that was not the case.
Finally, at 10 a.m. an announcement was made about that Queen Elizabeth's husband of 69 years, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, will be officially retiring from royal responsibilities.
The announcement read: "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."
"Prince Philip will attend previously scheduled engagements between now and August, both individually and accompanying The Queen. Thereafter, The Duke will not be accepting new invitations for visits and engagements, although he may still choose to attend certain public events from time to time."
"The Duke of Edinburgh is Patron, President or a member of over 780 organizations, with which he will continue to be associated, although he will no longer play an active role by attending engagements.
"Her Majesty will continue to carry out a full program of official engagements with the support of members of the Royal Family."
Earlier, speculation was sent into overdrive after the news of the emergency meeting broke.
Several U.K. publications reported that Queen Elizabeth had summoned all of her U.K. staff and family members for an 11th-hour meeting at her London palace.
Staff from all around the U.K., including Windsor Castle, Balmoral and Sandringham, were requested to attend the briefing and Twitter went into overdrive with wild theories.
This news marks a significant change for the British royal family and will no doubt see Prince Charles, 68, step up on behalf his 95-year-old father.
The Duke is considered one of the hardest-working royals and conducted 110 days of appearances last year—outnumbering several young family members, including Prince William.
Speaking of her husband, who she married on November 20, 1947, the Queen has credited Philip for being a constant pillar of support throughout her life and reign.
"He is someone who doesn't take easily to compliments but he has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know," the monarch has mused.
In turn, Prince Philip has never given Queen Elizabeth special treatment because of her status—a trait the 91-year-old genuinely appreciates.
"Prince Philip is the only man in the world who treats the Queen simply as another human being. I think she values that. And it is not unknown for the Queen to tell the Duke to shut up," Her Majesty's ex-Private Secretary Lord Charteris has said.
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During his time in the spotlight, his quick wit and dead-pan sense of humor have risen to notoriety.
A classic Phil zinger includes the time he asked Aussie actress Cate Blanchett to fix his DVD player because she worked “in the film industry.”
In 2008, he quipped to the star: “There’s a cord sticking out of the back. Might you tell me where it goes?”
British actress Joanna Lumley calls him the "original James Bond."
“I think he’s just an extraordinary character," she mused.
"He rides, sails, drives horses, fishes, swims. He really could have been Bond and he was a naval commander as well like Commander Bond.”
Just last month, Philip showed off his warmth when he met with Australian songstress Kylie Minogue who called him "charm personified."
Prince Phillip is Patron to some 800 organizations and will still be associated with them.
His most successful initiative is the The Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme, which he launched in 1956.
"His Royal Highness is also involved in the work of many more charities and organizations which reflect his wide ranging interests in topics including conservation, sport, the military and engineering," their official website explains.
Philip follows in the footsteps of 82-year-old Prince Henrik of Denmark, who stepped down from royal duties at the start of 2016. His wife, Queen Margrethe of Denmark, is still a full-time royal.
The Duke was in great spirits during his most recent public appearance, when he attended the Marylebone Cricket Club to open the new Warner Stand at Lord's Cricket Ground in London on May 3.
At the event, he was even heard joking that he's the "world's most experienced plaque unveiler."
Well, after hours of global hysteria, we're so glad Prince Philip and the Queen are well.
All the best to the Duke in his retirement, you will be very missed.
This post was written by Bella Brennan. For more, check out our sister site Now to Love.
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