NEW YORK TIMES – Prince Philip, the 95-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth II, will step back from his royal duties and stop carrying out public engagements this autumn, Buckingham Palace said in a statement on Thursday, although the role of the queen will be unchanged.
The announcement came after members of the royal staff were summoned to a meeting on Thursday in London, a development that touched off alarms about the health of the queen and her husband. A dozen television news crews headed to Buckingham Palace in the early morning, and the website of one tabloid reported, in an article that was quickly taken down, that the prince had died.
The response was a reflection of increasing concern about the health of the queen and of Prince Philip, who is also known as the Duke of Edinburgh. The prince was ill during the holiday period, while the queen, who is 91, was not seen in public for nearly a month after missing church services on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day because of what Buckingham Palace described as a persistent cold.
But both performed royal duties on Wednesday: The queen met Prime Minister Theresa May, and the prince cut a ribbon to open a new stand of seats at a cricket ground. “His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh has decided that he will no longer carry out public engagements from the autumn of this year,” the palace statement said. “In taking this decision, the duke has the full support of the queen.”