Staff for the royal family were called to London on Wednesday for a household meeting from the various residences they maintain for the Crown. The meeting was called somewhat last minute, leading many to fear that some actual emergency was taking place at the palace. It was even reported that Prince Philip had died. He didn’t! He’s okay, everyone!
Queen Elizabeth II’s secretary released a statement reported by E!, saying that Prince Philip is certainly not dead, he has simply "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."
So, he’s retiring. It’s hard to imagine that the Duke of Edinburgh “works,” but at 95 years old, he is probably sick of making public appearances and doffing his top hat. Philip is apparently “Patron, President or a member” of over 780 organizations and can no longer play an active role in all of them. E! reports that he made 110 appearances in 2016, so he it sounds like he only manages to get to each organization at least once every seven years. That's a long circuit for a man in his nineties to start again.
Prince Philip still has scheduled appointments to make between now and his official retirement in August, many of them accompanying the Queen, and plans to fulfill those obligations. But after that, forget it.
“The Duke will not be accepting new invitations for visits and engagements,” the announcement continues. “Although he may still choose to attend certain public events from time to time."
The Queen is officially in support of Philip’s decision, though the final sentence of her statement makes it clear who the real head of the royal family is:
"Her Majesty will continue to carry out a full program of official engagements with the support of members of the Royal Family."
Of course she will.