In Brief

Prince Philip to step down from royal duties

Buckingham Palace announces Duke of Edinburgh 'will not be accepting new invitations for visits'

Prince Philip

Prince Philip is to step down from royal duties this autumn, Buckingham Palace has announced, saying the Duke of Edinburgh made the decision with the support of the Queen.

It added: "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."

At 95, Philip "clearly feels he now wishes to curtail" his "familiar role" supporting his 91-year-old wife, said the BBC's royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell.

He added: "The Queen is going to continue, of that there is no doubt. She will continue, albeit with a somewhat lightened workload."

Palace officials summoned the Queen's entire household to an emergency meeting this morning, prompting fervent speculation over the health of both the monarch and her husband.

However, the couple "were both in good health on Wednesday", says the Daily Telegraph, when "the Queen met with Prime Minister Theresa May at Buckingham Palace while the Duke made a jovial appearance at a London cricket club."

This didn't stop The Sun from publishing a story online announcing: "Prince Philip dead at 95, how did the Duke of Edinburgh die, etc etc."

Although the article was deleted within minutes of going up, it continued to appear in Google searches, says The Independent.

The Duke of Edinburgh is known for his active lifestyle but has suffered from a number of health problems in recent years.

In 2012, he spent five days in hospital after being taken ill following the Golden Jubilee Pageant along the Thames, while this Christmas, both he and the Queen cancelled a number of engagements due to "heavy colds".

In a surprise move, Labour's anti-monarchist leader Jeremy Corbyn led the tributes to the Duke, saying: "I would like to pay tribute to Prince Philip following his decision to retire from public service.

"He has dedicated his life to supporting the Queen and our country with a clear sense of public duty.

Theresa May also took time out from campaigning for the general election next month to praise Philip's "steadfast support" of the Queen.

"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 that he will stand down from public duties in the autumn," she said.

During his time by the Queen's side, the Duke has earned a reputation for his plain speaking, although that has often led to controversy. Some of his most famous gaffes can be found here.

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