Britain's Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth, will permanently discontinue his royal duties in the fall, Buckingham Palace said Thursday in a surprise announcement.
The palace said while the queen would continue to carry out her full program of public engagements, she offered her full support to the Duke of Edinburgh, who turns 96 next month.
Before the announcement Thursday, senior royal staff had been summoned to attend an unusual meeting at Buckingham Palace, prompting speculation regarding the health of the 91-year-old queen or her elderly husband.
However, a source told NBC before the announcement that there was "no cause for concern" regarding the health of the royals.
Later, the palace said:
"Prince Philip will attend previously scheduled engagements between now and August, both individually and
The official royal family site on Twitter posted this photo of the couple arriving at a ceremony at St. James's Palace on Thursday.
The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh arrive for today's Service for Members of the Order of Merit at the Chapel Royal, St. James's Palace.
The site also noted that since 1952, the Duke has carried out 22,191 solo engagements.
The couple, who are due to celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary in November, have reduced their royal responsibilities in recent years.
Platinum wedding anniversary