Speed Reads

The Royals

Britain's Prince Philip announces retirement from royal engagements

Britain's Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and husband to Queen Elizabeth II, has decided to stop accepting new public engagements in the fall, and the queen fully backs his decision, Buckingham Palace announced Thursday. Philip turns 96 on June 10, and he and Queen Elizabeth, 91, celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary in November.

Rumors had swirled about Philip's health after it was reported early Thursday that the queen had called an unusual meeting of the royal household, but Buckingham Palace did not give any new details of his or the queen's health. Both appeared in good shape in appearances on Wednesday, and Prince Philip showed that he has his wits about him, joking at the unveiling of a new stand at the Lord's Cricket Ground that he's the "world's most experienced plaque unveiler." He had public engagements on 110 days last year, BBC News reports, making him the fifth most active member of the royal family.

Prince Philip will continue to head numerous charitable organizations and "may still choose to attend certain public events from time to time," the palace said, but he "will no longer play an active role by attending engagements." The queen, on the other hand, "will continue to carry out a full program of official engagements."