Rumors from 3 May 2017 that a significant royal announcement was forthcoming from Buckingham Palace led to much online speculation about a possible royal death or abdication. In the event, that announcement proved to be somewhat less momentous than what much of the chatter assumed it would be: The Palace issued a statement declaring that Prince Philip, who is 95, will no longer be carrying out public engagements after this autumn:
His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh has decided that he will no longer carry out public engagements from the autumn of this year. In taking this decision, The Duke has the full support of The Queen.
Prince Philip will attend previously scheduled engagements between now and August, both individually and accompanying The Queen. Thereafter, The Duke will not be accepting new invitations for visits and engagements, although he may still choose to attend certain public events from time to time.
The Duke of Edinburgh is Patron, President or a member of over 780 organisations, with which he will continue to be associated, although he will no longer play an active role by attending engagements.
Her Majesty will continue to carry out a full programme of official engagements with the support of members of the Royal Family.
The Associated Press noted of the consort's retirement that:
Philip, a member of the Greek royal family in exile, has been at Elizabeth's side in countless public appearance since their marriage in 1947. He gave up a successful naval career to support her when she became queen in 1952.
He became the longest-serving consort in British history in 2009 — much as Elizabeth has become the longest reigning monarch in British history.
Prime Minister Theresa May expressed gratitude "on behalf of the whole country" to Philip for his decades of service.
"From his steadfast support for Her Majesty the Queen to his inspirational Duke of Edinburgh Awards and his patronage of hundreds of charities and good causes, his contribution to our United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and the wider world will be of huge benefit to us all for years to come," she said.
Officials said the queen, who turned 91 last month, will keep carrying out royal engagements with the support of the royal family. She has indicated that she does not plan to retire.