Prince Philip is retiring from his official duties and will make his final public appearance on Wednesday, August 2. The longest-serving companion in British history, the Duke of Edinburgh will not be completely disappearing from the public eye. However, due primarily to his advanced age — he turned 96 in June — it’s time for him to step down.
“I think he is retiring now in order to have a few years of retirement and I think the timing is thought through. It’s 70 years this autumn since he became the consort of Princess Elizabeth and then the Queen – so, after 70 years, I think he feels probably he has done his stuff,” Gyles Brandreth, a friend of the Duke, told BBC News.
Here is what you need to know:
1. Prince Philip Will Attend a Parade for the Royal Marines as His Final Royal Engagement
On Wednesday, the Duke of Edinburgh will attend a “parade to mark the finale of the Royal Marines 1664 Global Challenge,” according to Sky News. The event will be held at Buckingham Palace.
The 1664 Global Challenge started 100 days ago and involved all Royal Marines. According to the organization’s website, the challenge is made up of a series of events — 100 over the course of 100 days — in which participants run 16.64 miles each day for a total of 1,664 miles — the significance being that 1664 is the year that the Corps was founded.
They do this as a way to raise awareness and to raise money for the Corps’ family as a whole.
“The 1664 Global Challenge provides the opportunity and platform for the Corps’ family, both serving and retired to get involved towards fundraising efforts for The Royal Marines Charity.”
Prince Philip will attend the parade alongside Queen Elizabeth II. He has long been associated with the Royal Marines — for 64 years, to be exact. On June 2, 1953, Philip was appointed Captain General in succession to the late King George VI, according to Royal.uk.
At Wednesday’s event, Philip will meet with veterans and other Marine Corp. members. He will also receive the 1664 Global Challenge baton.
2. The Duke of Edinburgh’s Retirement Was Announced in May
Back in May, Queen Elizabeth II called an emergency meeting at Buckingham Palace, gathering the powers that be at an odd time of day. Immediately, people on social media started speculating about what the meeting might have been about. It didn’t take long for a couple of media outlets to report that Prince Philip had died, but that wasn’t the case at all.
Hours later, an official announcement was made by the palace: Prince Philip was alive and well, but he would officially retire from his royal duties this fall.
Below is the official statement announcing Prince Philip’s retirement, released to BBC News.
3. Prince Philip Will Still Support His Wife, Queen Elizabeth
Although Prince Philip will not be accepting invitations to any upcoming events officially, he will still be attending events with Queen Elizabeth II. He is expected to attend high profile events such as the annual Trooping the Colour, an annual celebration of the Queen’s birthday.
Also, when U.S. President Donald Trump visits the U.K., Prince Philip is expected to be on-hand to support the Queen.
According to BBC News, Philip will still be associated with several hundred organizations despite his retirement.
“The duke carried out 110 days of engagements in 2016, making him the fifth busiest member of the royal family, according to Court Circular listings. He is patron, president or a member of more than 780 organizations and will continue to be associated with them, but ‘will no longer play an active role by attending engagements’ Buckingham Palace said.”
4. Prince Philip Carried Out 22,191 Solo Engagements
Prince Philip has had quite the royal career. Since marrying Queen Elizabeth II in 1947 (the couple will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary in November), Philip has carried out 22,181 solo engagements. He has also taken part in 637 overseas visits without his wife. He has given 5,493 speeches and has penned a total of 14 books, according to BBC News.
Philip is going to be greatly missed; his retirement represents the end of an era for the British people — and for the rest of the world.
“I love his wit and I think people will miss seeing that on a day-to-day basis. But I don’t think it’s him disappearing, I think it’s just him being very sensible, he’s 95 years old. He’s slowing down and I’m sure we will still hear and see of him from time to time,” former royal butler Grant Harrold previously told BBC News, speaking about Philip’s retirement.
5. Prince Philip Turned 96 in June, But Is in Good Health
The Duke is in very good health despite his advanced age. He has had a few relatively normal health issues over the years, but nothing very serious.
During the last holiday season, he and Queen Elizabeth II ended up catching “heavy colds,” but they both rested for a few days and recovered just fine.
This past June, Prince Philip was hospitalized after coming down with an infection. The infection was been caused by a “preexisting condition” and Philip was up and walking around his room at King Edward VII Hospital in London soon after being admitted.
It has been made very clear that Philip isn’t stepping down from his royal duties because of his health.
“He is not giving up on life, just stepping [down] from full-time public engagements,” royal commentator Dickie Arbiter told BBC News.