Ever the joker, Prince Philip treated a well-wisher to his customary humour after it was announced that he would be stepping down from carrying out public engagements this autumn.
The 95-year-old Duke of Edinburgh decided to wind down his public event appearances and has the full support of the Queen, Buckingham Palace said on Thursday.
A guest at the Order of Merit service held at the Chapel Royal in St James’ Palace wish the Duke well, saying: “I’m sorry to hear you’re standing down.”
The Prince responded: “Well, I can’t stand up much longer.”
Prince Philip will attend previously scheduled engagements until August but will not be planning any more.
The full statement on his retirement reads:
His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh has decided that he will no longer carry out public engagements from the autumn of this year. In taking this decision, The Duke has the full support of The Queen.
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 Duke of Edinburgh is Patron, President or member of over 780 organisations with which he will continue to be associated though he will no longer play an active role in attending engagements.
Her Majesty will continue to carry out a full programme of official engagements with the support of members of the Royal Family.
Prime Minister Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn were among those who paid tribute to the Prince’s contribution.
The announcement came after a morning of fevered speculation after reports that the Queen’s entire household had been called to Buckingham Palace in a “highly unusual” move.