Duke of Edinburgh to stand down from royal duties

The Duke of Edinburgh is to stand down from royal duties for good from August, Buckingham Palace has announced.

Prince Philip, 95, is the longest serving consort in British history and the oldest serving partner of a reigning monarch.

A letter from Buckingham Palace says the Duke has made the personal decision that "he will no longer carry out public engagements from the autumn of this year" and he has "the full support of the Queen".

Prince Philip will attend previously scheduled engagements but after August will not be accepting new invitations for visits.

He may still choose to attend certain public events "from time to time".

His stepping down in August coincides with Prince William becoming a full time royal and giving up his air ambulance job.

Prince Philip is a patron for more than 780 organisations, but he will no longer play an active role.

The Queen will continue with her full programme of events.

Prime Minister Theresa May has "offered our deepest gratitude and good wishes" to the Duke.Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “We thank Prince Philip for his service to the country and wish him all the best in his well-earned retirement.”

  • Video report by ITV News North of England Correspondent Damon Green

The announcement was made after a meeting of household staff was called at Buckingham Palace at 10am on Thursday.

There was fevered speculation around the world about what the meeting would be about but Buckingham Palace had previously refused to comment but insisted there is "no cause for alarm".

The palace made no comment as they wanted to inform staff of the decision first before making a formal announcement.

It was announced today as there is no political campaigning due to local elections.

The Autumn diary is also being filled in now and it fits around the royal planning schedule.

  • ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship outside Buckingham Palace

The Duke will attend an event today with the Queen at St James's Palace.

The Duke of Edinburgh has done 22,191 solo engagements, 637 solo overseas visits, 5,493 speeches and has written 14 books in the course of his royal duties.

Both the Queen and the Prince fulfilled engagements on Wednesday before the announcement was made.

The Queen met Prime Minister Theresa May at Buckingham Palace to formally agree the dissolution of parliament ahead of the general election, while Prince Philip attended Lord's Cricket Ground to open a new stand.

Prince Philip has been at the Queen's side supporting her for more than 60 years.

He was born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark on the island of Corfu on June 10 1921 to Prince Andrew of Greece and Princess Alice of Battenberg.In 1928 he moved to England and later went on to join the Royal Navy.

They married two years after the end of the war. Within five years, George VI had died and Princess Elizabeth had become Queen.

He resigned from the Royal Navy, and has since supported the Queen with numerous royal duties, state visits and occasions.

Philip's first ever private secretary Michael Parker, a friend from the Navy, once revealed: "He told me the first day he offered me my job that his job, first, second and last was never to let her down."

He is known for his wit and no-nonsense approach and is famed for his outrageous gaffes.

In November, the royal couple are due to reach their platinum wedding anniversary - 70 years since they wed.