Prince Philip to step down from public duties in fall: Buckingham Palace

Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who will turn 96 next month, will step down from public life this fall, Buckingham Palace announced today.

He will continue to carry out public engagements between now and August, according to a statement released by Buckingham Palace.

“In taking this decision, The Duke has the full support of The Queen,” the release announced, referring to his wife and monarch Queen Elizabeth II, 91.

After August, Prince Philip 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 press release read.

The release was timed during a staff meeting called by the Lord Chamberlain and the Queen’s most senior aides.

Reports of that meeting, first reported on Wednesday evening by The Daily Mail, set off fevered speculation overnight about the health of the monarchs, but well-placed senior Royal sources prior to Philip’s announcement had indicated there should be “no cause for alarm.”

Staff meetings like this are rare, but do happen and are “not unprecedented,” according to the Royal sources.

In December, the Queen fell ill with a “heavy cold” and was absent from public view for several weeks, setting off concern around the world for the monarch’s health.

The Prince of Wales Prince Charles, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry have all been stepping up their Royal duties in recent years.

It was announced last year that Prince William and Princess Kate would be based out of Kensington Palace as they increase their Royal duties.

Kensington Palace also announced in January 2017 that Prince William would be stepping down from his Air Ambulance job to allow him to focus on his additional responsibilities.

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ABC News: International