Prince Philip to retire from public duties

"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 statement said. Queen Elizabeth II will continue to fulfill all of her engagements as Queen. Since then, they paid two more state visits to India - in 1983 and 1997 - and received three incoming state visits to the United Kingdom from India - 1963, 1990 and 2009. The prince is also a patron of more than 780 organizations and will continue his association with them.

"You're about to see the world's most experienced plaque-unveiler", he quipped just before pulling the cord to part a small curtain.

The royal, known for his sense of humour and off-the-cuff remarks, had indicated plans of "winding down" from public engagements on his 90th birthday.

Prime Minister Theresa May has expressed "our deepest gratitude and good wishes" to Prince Philip following the announcement of his impending retirement, and has thanked him for supporting his wife, Queen Elizabeth II.

However sources said there was no cause for concern about the welfare of the queen or Philip, who turns 96 next month.

Opposition Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, described the move as a "well-earned retirement" in his message.

In Australia, where the queen is recognized as head of state, officials praised Philip's tenacity. "The Duke decided this is the right time; he's almost 96 and most people will have retired 30 years earlier".

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The news was announced by Buckingham Palace after a much-publicised meeting of Royal Household staff.

A member of the Greek royal family in exile, he gave up his naval career in 1952 when his wife was crowned Queen.

According to the Daily Mail, staff from across the country have been summoned to the royal palace for the meeting. May was received by the queen at Buckingham Palace yesterday to mark the dissolution of Parliament ahead of the June 8 general election.

Their audience lasted over 30 minutes, much longer than the brief meeting that was anticipated.

And it was business as usual once the fanfare died down, with a meeting of the members of the Order of Merit at St James's Palace proving his trademark wit had not deteriorated. But the queen emphasised his importance in a 1997 speech marking their golden wedding anniversary, saying he "has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years".

She said it was time for the younger royals to step into the spotlight.

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