Prince Philip Decides 96 Is a Good Retirement Age

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Prince Philip conducted 219 royal engagements previous year, and was in good form when he opened a new stand at Lord's Cricket Ground in London on Wednesday.

So, he's retiring. It's hard to imagine that the Duke of Edinburgh "works", but at 95 years old, he is probably sick of making public appearances and doffing his top hat.

"The Duke of Edinburgh has decided that he will no longer carry out public engagements from the autumn of this year".

Prince Philip was in classic jovial form as he joined Queen Elizabeth at a service and lunch on Thursday for members of the prestigious Order of Merit.

Multiple media outlets reported that the prince was in good spirits and reportedly joked about his coming retirement.

"I can't stand up much", quipped the prince, whose off-the-cuff remarks have sometimes landed him in hot water.

Prince Philip is patron, president or a member of over 780 organisations, the statement added, noting he'd "continue to be associated" with the groups "although he will no longer play an active role by attending engagements".

But Buckingham Palace stressed he may decide to attend certain events from time to time.

Prince Philip playing polo in 1952.

Which is why I've been told that the Prince's plan to step away from the rigours of public duties was a very personal decision that only he could make - fully supported by his wife, of course.

Prince Philip has accompanied the Queen on all major foreign tours, including three visits to India.

A royal aide said of the Duke: "He's looking forward to enjoying more of his leisure time".

The fact that staff from all the royal households were called to the meeting at Buckingham Palace to hear the announcement is telling in itself.

The meeting had sparked widespread speculation over the health of the Queen and her husband as such an emergency meeting of staff from across the country is unusual and held mostly annually as per schedule.

The couple, who married at Westminster Abbey in 1947, are due to celebrate their platinum, or 70th, wedding anniversary in November. "He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim or we shall ever know".

Members at the event on Thursday included former Australian prime minister John Howard, TV presenter Sir David Attenborough, artist David Hockney, the former Commons speaker Betty Boothroyd and entrepreneur James Dyson.