Buckingham Palace has confirmed that Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, will step down from royal public duties in autumn this year. A statement released Thursday morning explained that while the 95-year-old royal will still serve as patron, president, or a member of 780 organizations, he will no longer have "an active role."
The Palace said the decision was "fully supported" by the Queen, and after 70 years of royal service, many have described the move as "well-deserved." However, the retirement of one of the busiest members of the royal family does mark a time of change.
Analysis of the Daily Court Circular showed that Philip carried out royal engagements on 110 days of 2016, a figure which rivaled that of his children and grandchildren. According to royal biographer Marcia Moody, his choice to end these duties will have a substantial impact on both the monarch and the younger generations in the family.
"The announcement is significant, as this will mean a change in structure for the entire royal family," Moody told Harper's Bazaar. "It may well be that we see the Prince of Wales and other members of the family accompanying the Queen on more engagements now. Currently the Duke of Edinburgh is patron of hundreds of charities, and although he will still be involved in some way, many of these patronages will need to be readdressed and where appropriate, passed on to other members of the family. Therefore we're likely to be seeing a lot more of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry."
News of Prince Philip's retirement comes after it was confirmed that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will move to London this autumn, as they take on more work on behalf of the Queen. However, while the royal couple will see their official engagements rise, it doesn't mean Philip will disappear from the public eye all together.
The Queen and the Duke will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary in November and Philip will still continue to support his wife behind the scenes. It's also likely he'll make appearances as major royal events such as Trooping the Colour and there are still a number of events scheduled in Philip's diary, including a visit to the Chelsea Flower Show on May 22 and hosting King Felipe of Spain during a state visit in July.
As for his spare time? There's little evidence to show Philip is taking things easy.
Both the Queen and Philip have a passion for horses and despite warnings from aides who have suggested the Duke slow down, Philip is determined to continue his favored sport, carriage riding, The Daily Express reports.
"No one would ever dare tell him to take it easy," a source told the newspaper in March last year. "You might as well take your life in your hands." He might be turning 96 in June, but it seems nothing will get in the way of Philip and his much-loved hobby.