Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, will retire from his royal duties later this year, marking the end of a public life spanning nearly seven decades, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing Buckingham Palace.
The longest-serving consort to a monarch in British history, Prince Philip, who turns 96 next month, will continue to attend previously agreed events until August, but won’t be accepting new invitations, the palace said in a statement.
The prince, also known as The Duke of Edinburgh, made the decision himself and “has the full support of the Queen”, who will continue to fulfill her duties, supported by other members of the royal family.
The duke “may still choose to attend certain public events from time to time,” the palace said.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said in a statement: “On behalf of the whole country, I want to offer our deepest gratitude and good wishes to His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh following today’s announcement.” May was received by the queen at Buckingham Palace yesterday to mark the dissolution of Parliament ahead of the June 8 general election.
“[Prince Philip’s] contribution to our United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and the wider world will be of huge benefit to us all for years to come,” May said.
During his long public life, Prince Philip has often drawn media attention for his sometimes undiplomatic remarks. In 1986, he famously warned a group of British students in China not to stay in the country for too long lest they “come home slitty-eyed.”
Earlier this week, Prince Philip attended the opening of a new stand at London’s famous Lord’s Cricket Ground, where he jokingly described himself as “the world’s most-experienced plaque-unveiler.”
Born a prince of Greece and Denmark on the island of Corfu in 1921, he married the then Princess Elizabeth, his third cousin, when he was 26 and she was 21.
In 1940, Prince Philip joined the Royal Navy, and served with distinction in World War II in the Mediterranean and the Pacific. In 1942, at the age of 21, he was one of the youngest officers ever named first lieutenant and second-in-command of a destroyer. He gave up his naval career for full-time royal duties in 1952, when his wife became queen.
Around the time of his marriage to Elizabeth in 1947, he became a naturalized British citizen and was named Duke of Edinburgh. The couple have four children, of which the eldest, 68-year-old Prince Charles is heir to the throne.
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