Prince Philip steps down from public life

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However, "he may still choose to attend certain public events from time to time", it said.

From his childhood, to becoming a doting husband, to watching generations of his family grow and flourish, click through to see Prince Philip's life in pictures.

It said he would attend previously scheduled engagements until August, and would not accept any new invitations thereafter.

Both royals have gradually been cutting their workload in recent years, passing on many responsibilities to son and heir Prince Charles, and grandsons, Princes William and Harry.

Prince Philip spent 110 days past year making official engagements, the BBC reported, makng him the fifth busiest member of the royal family. The reason for the move is likely to make it easier for the young couple to take on more work in behalf of the queen.

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He seemed to be in good health and a fine mood on Wednesday (Thursday NZT) during an appearance at a London cricket club.

The Prime Minister has paid tribute to Prince Philip for his contribution to Britain and beyond, his "steadfast support" of Queen Elizabeth and for his patronage of hundreds of charities and good causes.

The Lord Chamberlain, the most senior officer of the Royal Household and in charge of ceremonial events, and Sir Christopher Geidt, the Queen's Private Secretary, addressed staff from the Queen's royal residences across the United Kingdom.

Since then, he's had some serious health issues, including a blocked heart artery, and has been hospitalized several times.

In Australia, where the queen is recognised as head of state, officials praised Philip's perseverance.

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It is understood the Duke had been thinking about stepping down from public duties in the past few months and made the announcement now as his diary for the autumn would have been finalised during this period.

The Queen had called an emergency meeting to announce Philip is stepping down from royal duties.

Prince Philip is patron, president or a member of over 780 organisations, the statement added, noting he'd "continue to be associated" with the groups "although he will no longer play an active role by attending engagements".

"It says something about an individual that they get to the age of 95 before they decide to officially retire", Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce told reporters.

The Sun tabloid briefly reported on its website that Philip had died.

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