Prince Philip steps down from active duty
The British monarchy has had a busy few days. High off the celebrations of Princess Charlotte’s second birthday (the second child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Prince William and Duchess Kate), the week ends with the unexpected—but not altogether unsurprising—news of the retirement of the Queen’s husband, Prince Philip, from official royal duties.
At 95 years old, the Duke of Edinburgh has always been seen as somewhat of a contentious national treasure, famed for his off-the-cuff comments with his tongue firmly in cheek. Calling himself “the world’s most experienced plaque unveiler”, this is just one of many sardonic quips of which Prince Philip earned a reputation during his 65 years as royal consort, the longest-serving consort of a reigning monarch in British history.
The retirement announcement comes with the full support of the Queen and Buckingham Palace, especially as the Duke himself (whose 96th birthday is fast approaching on 10th June) comments rather jokingly: “I can't stand up much longer”. In the official statement, the Palace said: “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”. The statement was also keen to alleviate any questions regarding the Queen’s position, who, at 91 years old herself, “will continue to carry out a full programme of official engagements with the full support of members of the royal family”.
Prince Philip was just x when he married his third cousin, then Princess Elizabeth, in a lavish affair in London’s Westminster Abbey, on November 20th 1947, whom he affectionately calls “cabbage”, and has been active in the public eye ever since—a reign that has since been depicted in the highly regarded Netflix original series The Crown. The much-loved consort has oft been widely praised as having one of the royal family’s busiest diaries despite his advancing age—according to The Guardian, Prince Philip has undertaken 22,191 solo engagements and given 5,493 speeches in the seven decades at the Queen’s side, and even authored 14 books. Despite his impending retirement, Prince Philip is determined to continue his association with more than 780 organisations of which he is a patron or member of.
As he himself declares: “I reckon I've done my bit—it’s better to get out before you reach your sell-by date”. And now with his retirement impending in just over 3 months’ time, he hands the baton onto the younger members of the royal family to continue his noble philanthropic legacy. I think the whole country will unite in thanking Prince Philip for his years of dedicated service, and hopes that he enjoys a healthy and happy retirement as the Duke and the Queen gear up to celebrate their platinum wedding anniversary in November.