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Prince Philip, 95, keeps calm but won't carry on royal duty

Associated Press logo Associated Press 5/5/2017 By GREGORY KATZ, Associated Press
Britain's Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh speaks to guests after attending the Order of Merit service at Chapel Royal in St James's Palace, London, Thursday May 4, 2017. Prince Philip, the consort known for his constant support of his wife Queen Elizabeth II as well as for his occasional gaffes, will retire from royal duties this fall, Buckingham Palace said Thursday. (John Stillwell/Pool Photo via AP) © The Associated Press Britain's Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh speaks to guests after attending the Order of Merit service at Chapel Royal in St James's Palace, London, Thursday May 4, 2017. Prince Philip, the consort known for his constant support of his wife Queen Elizabeth II as well as for his occasional gaffes, will retire from royal duties this fall, Buckingham Palace said Thursday. (John Stillwell/Pool Photo via AP)

LONDON (AP) — For decades, he has stood loyally at the side of Queen Elizabeth II and made thousands of solo appearances as well. He calls himself the world's most experienced unveiler of plaques.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth, right, and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh arrive at Chapel Royal in St James's Palace, London, for an Order of Merit service, Thursday May 4, 2017. Prince Philip, the consort known for his constant support of his wife Queen Elizabeth II as well as for his occasional gaffes, will retire from royal duties this fall, Buckingham Palace said Thursday. (John Stillwell/Pool Photo via AP) © The Associated Press Britain's Queen Elizabeth, right, and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh arrive at Chapel Royal in St James's Palace, London, for an Order of Merit service, Thursday May 4, 2017. Prince Philip, the consort known for his constant support of his wife Queen Elizabeth II as well as for his occasional gaffes, will retire from royal duties this fall, Buckingham Palace said Thursday. (John Stillwell/Pool Photo via AP)

He has been eligible for a government pension since June 10, 1986, yet still soldiered on.

FILE - In this Wednesday, May 3, 2017 file photo Britain's Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, smiles during his visit to Lord's Cricket Ground to open the new Warner Stand, in London. Buckingham Palace said Thursday May 4, 2017 that Prince Philip will no longer carry out engagements starting this fall. (Arthur Edward/Pool Photo via AP) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Wednesday, May 3, 2017 file photo Britain's Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, smiles during his visit to Lord's Cricket Ground to open the new Warner Stand, in London. Buckingham Palace said Thursday May 4, 2017 that Prince Philip will no longer carry out engagements starting this fall. (Arthur Edward/Pool Photo via AP)

Now, at age 95, Prince Philip says he is retiring from royal duties.

Britain's Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh arrives at Chapel Royal in St James's Palace, London, for an Order of Merit service, Thursday May 4, 2017. Prince Philip, the consort known for his constant support of his wife Queen Elizabeth II as well as for his occasional gaffes, will retire from royal duties this fall, Buckingham Palace said Thursday. (John Stillwell/Pool Photo via AP) © The Associated Press Britain's Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh arrives at Chapel Royal in St James's Palace, London, for an Order of Merit service, Thursday May 4, 2017. Prince Philip, the consort known for his constant support of his wife Queen Elizabeth II as well as for his occasional gaffes, will retire from royal duties this fall, Buckingham Palace said Thursday. (John Stillwell/Pool Photo via AP)

The queen's husband said Thursday he will carry out scheduled engagements for the next few months but won't take on new ones starting in the fall.

FILE - In this Wednesday, May 3, 2017 file photo Britain's Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, smiles during his visit to Lord's Cricket Ground to open the new Warner Stand, in London. Buckingham Palace said Thursday May 4, 2017 that Prince Philip will no longer carry out engagements starting this fall. (Arthur Edward/Pool Photo via AP) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Wednesday, May 3, 2017 file photo Britain's Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, smiles during his visit to Lord's Cricket Ground to open the new Warner Stand, in London. Buckingham Palace said Thursday May 4, 2017 that Prince Philip will no longer carry out engagements starting this fall. (Arthur Edward/Pool Photo via AP)

His retirement announcement followed a night of frenzied speculation caused by news reports about an "emergency" palace meeting Thursday.

FILE - In this June 20, 1959 file photo Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip are pictured in Schefferville, as they listen to explanation on workings of an iron ore mine on another stop in their royal tour of Canada. Queen Elizabeth II's husband, Prince Philip, will stop carrying out public engagements this fall, Buckingham Palace announced Thursday May 4, 2017. (AP Photo, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this June 20, 1959 file photo Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip are pictured in Schefferville, as they listen to explanation on workings of an iron ore mine on another stop in their royal tour of Canada. Queen Elizabeth II's husband, Prince Philip, will stop carrying out public engagements this fall, Buckingham Palace announced Thursday May 4, 2017. (AP Photo, File)

Buckingham Palace said Philip, also known as the Duke of Edinburgh, made the decision to retire with the full support of the queen.

FILE - In this Wednesday, May 25, 2011 file photo President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama welcome Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip for a reciprocal dinner at Winfield House in London. Queen Elizabeth II's husband, Prince Philip, will stop carrying out public engagements this fall, Buckingham Palace announced Thursday May 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Wednesday, May 25, 2011 file photo President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama welcome Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip for a reciprocal dinner at Winfield House in London. Queen Elizabeth II's husband, Prince Philip, will stop carrying out public engagements this fall, Buckingham Palace announced Thursday May 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

Tall, craggy-faced and always elegantly dressed, Philip is as famous for his occasional off-color gaffes and one-liners as he is for his devotion to the monarch, and he joked about his retirement at an Order of Merit reception at St. James's Palace.

FILE - In this Wednesday, May 3, 2017 file photo Britain's Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, smiles during his visit to Lord's Cricket Ground to open the new Warner Stand, in London. Buckingham Palace said Thursday May 4, 2017 that Prince Philip will no longer carry out engagements starting this fall. (Arthur Edward/Pool Photo via AP) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Wednesday, May 3, 2017 file photo Britain's Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, smiles during his visit to Lord's Cricket Ground to open the new Warner Stand, in London. Buckingham Palace said Thursday May 4, 2017 that Prince Philip will no longer carry out engagements starting this fall. (Arthur Edward/Pool Photo via AP)

"I'm sorry to hear you're standing down," said 88-year-old mathematician Michael Atiyah said, using the British expression for retirement.

FILE - In this Wednesday, May 9, 2012 file photo Britain's Queen Elizabeth II sits next to Prince Philip in the House of Lords as she waits to read the Queen's Speech to lawmakers in London. Queen Elizabeth II's husband, Prince Philip, will stop carrying out public engagements this fall, Buckingham Palace announced Thursday May 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Wednesday, May 9, 2012 file photo Britain's Queen Elizabeth II sits next to Prince Philip in the House of Lords as she waits to read the Queen's Speech to lawmakers in London. Queen Elizabeth II's husband, Prince Philip, will stop carrying out public engagements this fall, Buckingham Palace announced Thursday May 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)

"Well, I can't stand up much longer," Philip replied. He walked with his head held high, despite his self-deprecating claim.

FILE - In this Nov. 25, 1953 file photo Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh leaving the House Of Assembly after the Queen had addressed Bermuda's Colonial Parliament, in Hamilton, Bermuda. Queen Elizabeth II's husband, Prince Philip, will stop carrying out public engagements this fall, Buckingham Palace announced Thursday May 4, 2017. (AP Photo, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Nov. 25, 1953 file photo Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh leaving the House Of Assembly after the Queen had addressed Bermuda's Colonial Parliament, in Hamilton, Bermuda. Queen Elizabeth II's husband, Prince Philip, will stop carrying out public engagements this fall, Buckingham Palace announced Thursday May 4, 2017. (AP Photo, File)

Harvey Oyer, a Florida attorney who was invited to a Buckingham Palace lunch reception, told The Associated Press that Philip looked remarkably well.

FILE - In this June 29, 2011 file photo, Queen Elizabeth II, right, and the Duke of Edinburgh walk back into the Palace after attending the annual summer garden party held at Buckingham Palace in London. Queen Elizabeth II's husband, Prince Philip, will stop carrying out public engagements this fall, Buckingham Palace announced Thursday May 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, Pool, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this June 29, 2011 file photo, Queen Elizabeth II, right, and the Duke of Edinburgh walk back into the Palace after attending the annual summer garden party held at Buckingham Palace in London. Queen Elizabeth II's husband, Prince Philip, will stop carrying out public engagements this fall, Buckingham Palace announced Thursday May 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, Pool, File)

"The big takeaway is there was no indication that this was a farewell," Oyer said. "He did not look unhealthy in any way. He was as spry and humorous and engaging as he has always been."

FILE - In this Oct. 17, 1957 file photo President Dwight Eisenhower and first lady Mamie are flanked by their royal guests, Britain's Queen Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip, at the White House. Queen Elizabeth II's husband, Prince Philip, will stop carrying out public engagements this fall, Buckingham Palace announced Thursday May 4, 2017. (AP Photo, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Oct. 17, 1957 file photo President Dwight Eisenhower and first lady Mamie are flanked by their royal guests, Britain's Queen Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip, at the White House. Queen Elizabeth II's husband, Prince Philip, will stop carrying out public engagements this fall, Buckingham Palace announced Thursday May 4, 2017. (AP Photo, File)
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Philip has made earlier concessions to age, announcing when he turned 90 in 2011 that he was "winding down" his official duties. He said at the time that he felt he had "done my bit."

FILE - In this Tuesday, April 9, 2002 file photo members of Britain's Royal family follow the coffin of the Queen Mother , en route to her funeral in Westminster Abbey in London. They are from left: Prince Andrew, Prince Charles, Prince Philip, Princess Anne and Prince Edward. Queen Elizabeth II's husband, Prince Philip, will stop carrying out public engagements this fall, Buckingham Palace announced Thursday May 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Santiago Lyon, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Tuesday, April 9, 2002 file photo members of Britain's Royal family follow the coffin of the Queen Mother , en route to her funeral in Westminster Abbey in London. They are from left: Prince Andrew, Prince Charles, Prince Philip, Princess Anne and Prince Edward. Queen Elizabeth II's husband, Prince Philip, will stop carrying out public engagements this fall, Buckingham Palace announced Thursday May 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Santiago Lyon, File)

Since then, he's had some serious health issues, including a blocked heart artery, and has been hospitalized several times.

FILE - In this Friday Oct. 9, 2009 file photo Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip leave London's St. Paul's Cathedral, following a Commemoration service to mark the end of combat operations in Iraq. Queen Elizabeth II's husband, Prince Philip, will stop carrying out public engagements this fall, Buckingham Palace announced Thursday May 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Sang Tan, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Friday Oct. 9, 2009 file photo Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip leave London's St. Paul's Cathedral, following a Commemoration service to mark the end of combat operations in Iraq. Queen Elizabeth II's husband, Prince Philip, will stop carrying out public engagements this fall, Buckingham Palace announced Thursday May 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Sang Tan, File)

There were no indications that Philip suffers from any new health problems. The statement indicated Philip will carry out previously scheduled engagements between now and August.

FILE - In this Thursday, June, 16, 2011 file photo Britain's Queen Elizabeth II with Prince Philip arrive by horse drawn carriage in the parade ring on the third day, traditionally known as Ladies Day, of the Royal Ascot horse race meeting at Ascot, England. Queen Elizabeth II's husband, Prince Philip, will stop carrying out public engagements this fall, Buckingham Palace announced Thursday May 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Thursday, June, 16, 2011 file photo Britain's Queen Elizabeth II with Prince Philip arrive by horse drawn carriage in the parade ring on the third day, traditionally known as Ladies Day, of the Royal Ascot horse race meeting at Ascot, England. Queen Elizabeth II's husband, Prince Philip, will stop carrying out public engagements this fall, Buckingham Palace announced Thursday May 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)

Few would begrudge him a chance to take it easy after more than 22,000 solo royal engagements since Elizabeth ascended to the throne in 1952.

FILE - In this Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016 file photo, Britain's Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, attends the official opening of the annual Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey in London. Queen Elizabeth II's husband, Prince Philip, will stop carrying out public engagements this fall, Buckingham Palace announced Thursday May 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, file) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016 file photo, Britain's Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, attends the official opening of the annual Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey in London. Queen Elizabeth II's husband, Prince Philip, will stop carrying out public engagements this fall, Buckingham Palace announced Thursday May 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, file)

He quickly discovered he had no defined constitutional role and had to carve his own path, making it his top priority to support his wife in her considerable public endeavors.

FILE - In this Saturday, June 11, 2016 file photo Britain's Queen Elizabeth II waves as she watches the flypast, with Prince Philip, right, Prince William, centre, his son Prince George, front, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge holding Princess Charlotte, centre left, The Prince of Wales, third left, The Duchess of Cornwall , second left, and Princess Anne on the balcony during the Trooping The Colour parade at Buckingham Palace, in London. Queen Elizabeth II's husband, Prince Philip, will stop carrying out public engagements this fall, Buckingham Palace announced Thursday May 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Saturday, June 11, 2016 file photo Britain's Queen Elizabeth II waves as she watches the flypast, with Prince Philip, right, Prince William, centre, his son Prince George, front, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge holding Princess Charlotte, centre left, The Prince of Wales, third left, The Duchess of Cornwall , second left, and Princess Anne on the balcony during the Trooping The Colour parade at Buckingham Palace, in London. Queen Elizabeth II's husband, Prince Philip, will stop carrying out public engagements this fall, Buckingham Palace announced Thursday May 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland, File)

While few were surprised that Philip is stepping back, tourists outside the imposing gates of Buckingham Palace expressed unhappiness about the news.

FILE - In this Tuesday, May 14, 1991 file photo President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush accompany Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip across the South Lawn of the White House. Queen Elizabeth II's husband, Prince Philip, will stop carrying out public engagements this fall, Buckingham Palace announced Thursday May 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Doug Mills, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Tuesday, May 14, 1991 file photo President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush accompany Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip across the South Lawn of the White House. Queen Elizabeth II's husband, Prince Philip, will stop carrying out public engagements this fall, Buckingham Palace announced Thursday May 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Doug Mills, File)

"He's been an icon for so long, and I've really admired him, and it saddens me in a way," said Grace Marie, who nonetheless said she understood his decision.

Britain's Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh waves as he leaves in a car with Queen Elizabeth II from Buckingham Palace in London, Thursday, May 4, 2017. Prince Philip, the consort known for his constant support of his wife Queen Elizabeth II as well as for his occasional gaffes, will retire from royal duties this fall, Buckingham Palace said Thursday. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham) © The Associated Press Britain's Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh waves as he leaves in a car with Queen Elizabeth II from Buckingham Palace in London, Thursday, May 4, 2017. Prince Philip, the consort known for his constant support of his wife Queen Elizabeth II as well as for his occasional gaffes, will retire from royal duties this fall, Buckingham Palace said Thursday. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

She said it was time for the younger royals to step into the spotlight.

FILE - In this June 19, 1962 file photo Britain's Prince Philip and his wife Queen Elizabeth II arrive at Royal Ascot race meeting, England. Buckingham Palace said Thursday May 4, 2017 that Prince Philip will no longer carry out engagements starting this fall. (AP Photo, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this June 19, 1962 file photo Britain's Prince Philip and his wife Queen Elizabeth II arrive at Royal Ascot race meeting, England. Buckingham Palace said Thursday May 4, 2017 that Prince Philip will no longer carry out engagements starting this fall. (AP Photo, File)
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There was praise for Philip from other parts of the Commonwealth. In Australia, where the queen is recognized as head of state, officials praised Philip's tenacity.

FILE - This is a June. 2, 1953 file photo of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, as they wave to supporters from the balcony at Buckingham Palace, following her coronation at Westminster Abbey. London. Buckingham Palace said Thursday May 4, 2017 that Prince Philip will no longer carry out engagements starting this fall. (AP Photo/Leslie Priest, File) © The Associated Press FILE - This is a June. 2, 1953 file photo of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, as they wave to supporters from the balcony at Buckingham Palace, following her coronation at Westminster Abbey. London. Buckingham Palace said Thursday May 4, 2017 that Prince Philip will no longer carry out engagements starting this fall. (AP Photo/Leslie Priest, File)

"It says something about an individual that they get to the age of 95 before they decide to officially retire," Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce told reporters. "It's something to aim for."

FILE - In this Aug. 1951 file photo then Princess Elizabeth stands with her husband Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, and their children Prince Charles and Princess Anne at the couple's London residence at Clarence House. Buckingham Palace said Thursday May 4, 2017 that Prince Philip will no longer carry out engagements starting this fall. (AP Photo, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Aug. 1951 file photo then Princess Elizabeth stands with her husband Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, and their children Prince Charles and Princess Anne at the couple's London residence at Clarence House. Buckingham Palace said Thursday May 4, 2017 that Prince Philip will no longer carry out engagements starting this fall. (AP Photo, File)

Philip, a member of the Greek royal family in exile, sacrificed a successful naval career to support Elizabeth when she became queen.

FILE - In this June 15, 1998 file photo Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip, right, lead the annual procession of members of the Order of the Garter from Windsor Castle to St. George's Chapel in Windsor, England Monday. Buckingham Palace said Thursday May 4, 2017 that Prince Philip will no longer carry out engagements starting this fall. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File): FILE - In this June 20, 1959 file photo Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip are pictured in Schefferville, as they listen to explanation on workings of an iron ore mine on another stop in their royal tour of Canada. Queen Elizabeth II's husband, Prince Philip, will stop carrying out public engagements this fall, Buckingham Palace announced Thursday May 4, 2017. (AP Photo, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this June 20, 1959 file photo Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip are pictured in Schefferville, as they listen to explanation on workings of an iron ore mine on another stop in their royal tour of Canada. Queen Elizabeth II's husband, Prince Philip, will stop carrying out public engagements this fall, Buckingham Palace announced Thursday May 4, 2017. (AP Photo, File)

He became the longest-serving consort in British history in 2009 — much as Elizabeth has become the country's longest reigning monarch.

FILE - In this Monday, June 8, 2015 file photo Britain's Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, unveils a plaque at the end of his visit to Richmond Adult Community College in Richmond, south west London. Buckingham Palace said Thursday May 4, 2017 that Prince Philip will no longer carry out engagements starting this fall. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, Pool, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Monday, June 8, 2015 file photo Britain's Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, unveils a plaque at the end of his visit to Richmond Adult Community College in Richmond, south west London. Buckingham Palace said Thursday May 4, 2017 that Prince Philip will no longer carry out engagements starting this fall. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, Pool, File)

Philip is known for having a sometimes-offensive sense of humor — and for gaffes that accompanied his many travels. Among his most infamous was in 1986, while visiting Beijing, where he told a group of British students: "If you stay here much longer you'll all be slitty-eyed."

FILE - In this Nov. 9, 2006 file photo Britain's Prince Philip shares a joke with a war veteran, unseen, following a ceremony for the Opening of the Field of Remembrance, on the grounds of the Westminster Abbey, in central London. Buckingham Palace said Thursday May 4, 2017 that Prince Philip will no longer carry out engagements starting this fall. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Nov. 9, 2006 file photo Britain's Prince Philip shares a joke with a war veteran, unseen, following a ceremony for the Opening of the Field of Remembrance, on the grounds of the Westminster Abbey, in central London. Buckingham Palace said Thursday May 4, 2017 that Prince Philip will no longer carry out engagements starting this fall. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis, File)

Officials said the queen, who turned 91 last month, will carry on her royal engagements with the support of the royal family. She has indicated that she does not plan to retire, saying it her duty to serve for life.

FILE - In this Wednesday, May 3, 2017 file photo Britain's Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, cuts a ribbon during his visit to Lord's Cricket Ground to open the new Warner Stand, in London. Buckingham Palace said Thursday May 4, 2017 that Prince Philip will no longer carry out engagements starting this fall. (Arthur Edward/Pool Photo via AP) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Wednesday, May 3, 2017 file photo Britain's Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, cuts a ribbon during his visit to Lord's Cricket Ground to open the new Warner Stand, in London. Buckingham Palace said Thursday May 4, 2017 that Prince Philip will no longer carry out engagements starting this fall. (Arthur Edward/Pool Photo via AP)

Elizabeth has, however, reduced her workload considerably in recent years as her children and grandchildren have moved to the fore. She has stopped making long-haul air flights to other Commonwealth countries and cut back on travel to continental Europe.

Britain's Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh speaks to guests after attending the Order of Merit service at Chapel Royal in St James's Palace, London, Thursday May 4, 2017. Prince Philip, the consort known for his constant support of his wife Queen Elizabeth II as well as for his occasional gaffes, will retire from royal duties this fall, Buckingham Palace said Thursday. (John Stillwell/Pool Photo via AP) © The Associated Press Britain's Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh speaks to guests after attending the Order of Merit service at Chapel Royal in St James's Palace, London, Thursday May 4, 2017. Prince Philip, the consort known for his constant support of his wife Queen Elizabeth II as well as for his occasional gaffes, will retire from royal duties this fall, Buckingham Palace said Thursday. (John Stillwell/Pool Photo via AP)

Attention has been increasingly focused on her son Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, and on her grandson Prince William and his wife, Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge.

Britain's Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh wipes his face as he speaks to guests after attending the Order of Merit service at Chapel Royal in St James's Palace, London, Thursday May 4, 2017. Prince Philip, the consort known for his constant support of his wife Queen Elizabeth II as well as for his occasional gaffes, will retire from royal duties this fall, Buckingham Palace said Thursday. (John Stillwell/Pool Photo via AP) © The Associated Press Britain's Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh wipes his face as he speaks to guests after attending the Order of Merit service at Chapel Royal in St James's Palace, London, Thursday May 4, 2017. Prince Philip, the consort known for his constant support of his wife Queen Elizabeth II as well as for his occasional gaffes, will retire from royal duties this fall, Buckingham Palace said Thursday. (John Stillwell/Pool Photo via AP)

Prince Harry has also commanded considerable attention, most recently by talking openly about emotional problems he dealt with for 20 years after his mother, Princess Diana, died in a car crash in Paris.

Britain's Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, left, leaves with Reverend Canon Paul Wright after an Order of Merit service, at the Chapel Royal in St James's Palace, London, Thursday May 4, 2017. Prince Philip, the consort known for his constant support of his wife Queen Elizabeth II as well as for his occasional gaffes, will retire from royal duties this fall, Buckingham Palace said Thursday. (John Stillwell/Pool Photo via AP) © The Associated Press Britain's Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, left, leaves with Reverend Canon Paul Wright after an Order of Merit service, at the Chapel Royal in St James's Palace, London, Thursday May 4, 2017. Prince Philip, the consort known for his constant support of his wife Queen Elizabeth II as well as for his occasional gaffes, will retire from royal duties this fall, Buckingham Palace said Thursday. (John Stillwell/Pool Photo via AP)

Philip may feel the monarchy is in good hands, with the line of succession extending to William and Kate's children, Prince George, 3, and Princess Charlotte, who just turned 2.

FILE - In this Thursday, May 19, 2011 file photo, Britain's Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh looks at Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, during their visit to the National Stud Farm in Kildare, Ireland. Queen Elizabeth II's husband, Prince Philip, will stop carrying out public engagements this fall, Buckingham Palace announced Thursday May 4, 2017. (Pool Photo via AP, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Thursday, May 19, 2011 file photo, Britain's Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh looks at Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, during their visit to the National Stud Farm in Kildare, Ireland. Queen Elizabeth II's husband, Prince Philip, will stop carrying out public engagements this fall, Buckingham Palace announced Thursday May 4, 2017. (Pool Photo via AP, File)

The palace said Philip will continue his role with more than 780 charitable organizations but will not regularly attend engagements.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II leaves Buckingham Palace by car with Prince Philip for an engagement in London, Thursday, May 4, 2017. Prince Philip, the consort known for his constant support of his wife Queen Elizabeth II as well as for his occasional gaffes, will retire from royal duties this fall, Buckingham Palace said Thursday. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant) © The Associated Press Britain's Queen Elizabeth II leaves Buckingham Palace by car with Prince Philip for an engagement in London, Thursday, May 4, 2017. Prince Philip, the consort known for his constant support of his wife Queen Elizabeth II as well as for his occasional gaffes, will retire from royal duties this fall, Buckingham Palace said Thursday. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

He is not expected to disappear completely from the public stage; the palace said he may still take part in some events from time to time.

The queen is normally quite reserved about her private life, but she broke with tradition in a 1997 speech marking their 50 years of marriage.

"He is someone who doesn't take easily to compliments," she said. "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."

Earlier Thursday, a report by Britain's Daily Mail about an unusual meeting of royal household staff prior to the retirement announcement sparked a worldwide wave of internet speculation about the health of Elizabeth and Philip, including incorrect reports that the flag atop Buckingham Palace had been lowered to half-staff.

Britain's Sun tabloid briefly reported on its website that Philip had died. The incorrect report was quickly dropped.

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Associated Press writers Danica Kirka and Kevin Scott in London, Kristen Gelineau in Sydney and Adriana Gomez Licon in Miami contributed.

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