Prince Philip to begin his retirement

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Over the past 65 years, he has carried out 637 visits overseas on his own, given nearly 5,500 speeches, and was patron, president or a member of more than 780 organisations. "Every year, he and (his daughter) Princess Anne vie to which of them does more", one of his biographers, Gyles Brandreth, told BBC radio.

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH accidentally published an article on its website stating that the Duke of Edinburgh had died - but Prince Philip is still alive and in the middle of his final day of public engagements. "I had to try to support the queen as best I could, without getting in the way".

The Duke is known for his quips and over the past few months has been joking about his impending retirement, even telling celebrity cook Prue Leith at a Palace event "I'm discovering what it's like to be on your last legs."
Buckingham Palace has stressed although the Duke's diary of engagements will come to an end after today, he may decide to attend certain events, alongside the Queen from time to time. The paper quickly deleted the article, which contained such touching tributes as "Prince Philip, whom the Queen described as her "strength and stay" during her record-breaking reign, passed away XXXXXXX FILL IN DETAILS".

Earlier this year it was announced Philip would retire after the summer.

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"How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to get them through the test?" he once asked a driving instructor in Scotland.

While someone would soon pay for the gaffe, the day goes down in history with Prince Philip relinquishing his duties after an unprecedented 22,219 solo engagements since 1952, serving as the patron, president and member of nearly 783 organisations.

Both the senior royals have taken a step back in recent years, leaving their eldest son and heir Prince Charles and grandson Prince William to take their places.

But while the queen supports her husband's decision to retire, experts say her own sacred vow at her 1953 coronation to serve for life was unbreakable.

  • Sonia Alvarado