After much speculation as to the nature of an emergency meeting of staff at Buckingham Palace, the Palace have confirmed Prince Philip will step down from official duties later this year
The Duke of Edinburgh has decided that he will no longer carry out public engagements from the spring (NZT) of this year. In taking this decision, The Duke has the full support of The Queen, an official statement read.
Prince Philip, who will turn 96 in June, will carry out engagements already arranged until August.
"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 statement said.
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 statement said.
Staff from royal residents across the UK were called back to London to be addressed by the Lord Chamberlain - the most senior officer of the Royal Household - along with the Queen's Private Secretary Sir Christopher Geidt, the Daily Mail reported.
The news sparked rumours of a royal death and the Queen's abdication.
The publication reported multiple sources who say this type of meeting was "highly unusual", and there was some concern for the royal couple.
"Although meetings involving the entire royal household are occasionally called, the way this has been done at the eleventh hour is highly unusual and suggests that there is something major to be disseminated," a source told the Daily Mail.
WATCH: The Queen and Prince Philip's wedding day
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