PRINCE Philip joked yesterday about the bombshell news he is to mount down from stately duties — quipping: “Well, we can’t mount up much longer.”
After some-more than 22,000 solo engagements and 637 abroad visits to 143 countries, the Duke of Edinburgh will all but repel from open life this autumn.
Palace sources insisted the decision — announced just over a month before his 96th birthday _ was not taken for medical reasons, but only by the Prince.
It came 64 years after Elizabeth II was crowned Queen with him at her side. Palace sources pronounced Her Majesty upheld his decision as he also prepares to stop open events for almost 800 charities and organisations.
Within hours of the news, the Prince was at a St James’ Palace engagement, where mathematician Sir Michael Atiyah, 88, told him: “I’m contemptible to hear you’re station down.”
News of the maestro royal’s approaching retirement came as:
- ROYAL staff from opposite the country were called to a dramatic secret assembly yesterday;
- PRIME Minister Theresa May hailed the long-serving Duke as a “huge benefit” to the country;
- EVEN Labour personality Jeremy Corbyn, a life-long republican, called him an “inspiration”;
- IT was suggested that Philip will spend some-more time at Windsor Castle, and
- THE 91-year-old Queen vowed to go on alone.
Royal staff called to London were told at their hush-hush assembly that the Prince, who served in the Royal Navy, would do all existent commitments but take on no new ones past autumn.
Buckingham Palace pronounced in a statement: “His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh has motionless that he will no longer lift out open engagements from the autumn of this year.
“In holding this decision, the Duke has the full support of the Queen.
“Prince Philip will attend formerly scheduled engagements between now and August, both away and concomitant the Queen.
“Thereafter, the Duke will not be usurpation new invitations for visits and engagements, nonetheless he may still select to attend certain open events from time to time.”
The thespian news was kept to a parsimonious middle circle, but core staff and members of the Royal Family were told.
It was only when stately employees were called to Buckingham Palace that news of an approaching proclamation began to leak.
On Wednesday evening, rumours of a major explanation began present within the press.
By morning, crowds of reporters and TV cameras had collected in front of the stately residence.
Insiders were left to boot fears of death or ill health, lecture reporters that both the Queen and her husband were alive and well.
But they kept still about the news until 10am and, even then, had to highlight there was no specific health reason for the retirement.
A stately help told The Sun: “This decision has not been taken on medical grounds.
“It was wholly his decision. He’s scarcely 96, he motionless this is the right moment to take a step back.
“The reason this is being announced now is since this is the time invitations are flooding in for his autumn programme.
“He felt it was only satisfactory to the 780-odd organisations with which he has links that he should be signalling his intentions publicly now.”
The Duke of Edinburgh’s retirement from open engagements comes as he and the Queen ready to symbol a touching personal miracle this year.
In November, they are due to strech their gold marriage anniversary, imprinting 70 married years.
He drew laughs from the throng as he joked he was “the world’s many gifted board unveiler”.
Yesterday he again looked in good spirits as he arrived at St James’ Palace for the service for Members of the Order of Merit at the Chapel Royal. He after had lunch with guests.
Among 780 patronages at charities and other organisations, he is many famous for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, which has speedy immature people to go outdoor and stay active for generations.
The stately is also enthusiast of the World Wildlife Fund and has a clever seductiveness in the environment, science, engineering and the forces.
But he had already started handing over responsibilities — giving up some-more than a dozen positions when he incited 90. And he upheld over his clientele of the RAF Air Cadets after 63 years as air commodore-in-chief to the Duchess of Cambridge, who became Honorary Air Commandant in 2015.
Despite this, the Prince remained the fifth-busiest stately last year — with a towering 110 open engagements.
One prankster suggested he was job it a day to equivocate having to meet US boss Donald Trump at the arriving state visit.
Another joked: “Is Prince Philip timid as he is worried he will be deported back to Greece post Brexit? Did he not get his permanent residency?”
The torment surrounding Buckingham Palace’s top-secret assembly yesterday morning also sent Twitter into a frenzy.
Igor Lima said: “Southern Rail just announced my sight is behind since the motorist was watchful for Buckingham Palace’s announcement.”
Others joked that the Queen was scheming to announce the further of a new corgi to the stately household.
Footie fans also waded in on the action, with one Arsenal believer derisive up an picture of the Queen on the Palace balcony, holding a sign declaring: “Wenger Out”. Plenty of people also used the arise to have a puncture at the EU.
One Brexit voter posted a snap of the Queen with her corgis. They combined the caption: “One has motionless one does not like that man Juncker. Neither do the corgis. No deal. Pull up the drawbridge.”
And Charlotte Norton cheekily questioned either the emergency assembly was called since messaging app WhatsApp was down.