Since 1952, the Duke of Edinburgh completed 22,219 solo engagements and gave 5,496 speeches in his travels to more than 76 countries. Patron to more than 785 organisations, he made 637 solo overseas visits. On 2 August 2017, after a lifetime of service, the Duke of Edinburgh undertook his final official engagement.Embed from Getty Images
Just before his 95th birthday, the Duke formally announced his retirement, a decision made by the Duke himself, and a decision supported by The Queen. In a statement, Buckingham Palace said: “In taking this decision, the Duke has the full support of The Queen. Prince Philip will attend previously scheduled engagements between now and August, both individually and accompanying The Queen.
“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.
“Her Majesty will continue to carry out a full programme of official engagement with the support of members of the Royal Family.”
At his final engagement, the Duke, then 96-years-old, braved the pouring rain at Buckingham Palace to meet with Royal Marines. Some of those marines participated in the Royal Marines Global 1664 Challenge – 100 challenges completed over the course of 100 days. The Duke attended the Royal Marines’ parade at the Palace to mark the end of the challenge. At the time of the engagement, The Queen was away at Balmoral.Embed from Getty Images
After announcing his retirement, the Duke of Edinburgh joked with a well-wisher at an event who told him, “I’m sorry to hear you’re standing down.”
The Duke responded, “Well I can’t stand up much longer.”
An aide stressed it was not a medical decision. “The Duke decided this is the right time. He’s nearly 96 and most people will have retired 30 years earlier.”Embed from Getty Images
The announcement was first made to royal staff in the ballroom of Buckingham Palace. It was also made as the autumn diaries of royals were beginning to be drawn up. Throughout his final years, the Duke appeared at several royal outings, including Trooping the Colour and the annual Christmas Day church service at Sandringham.