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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 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
The world's longest-reigning living monarch and her husband have gradually passed on some of the
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip completed official duties on Wednesday. The queen met with Prime Minister Theresa May to formally dissolve parliament ahead of June's general election and Philip opened a new stand at London's Lord's Cricket Ground.
Philip was born on the island of Corfu on
During the World War I, Philip's grandfather Prince Louis of Battenberg changed the family's name to Mountbatten.
Then-Princess Elizabeth married the prince Greece and Denmark, her third cousin, in 1947. He had served with the Royal Navy during World War II. Charles was born a year later, followed by Anne in 1950, Andrew in 1960 and Edward in 1964.
In 2009, Philip became the longest-serving British consort to the sovereign, a distinction previously held by Queen Charlotte, wife of George III, who reigned from 1760 to 1820.