Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The United Kingdom's Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip will relinquish his duties and no longer "carry out public engagements from this autumn," Reuters reported Thursday.
His wife, her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, will continue to carry out the "full program of her engagements," Reuters added.
It remains unclear what prompted the prince to take the decision.
Buckingham Palace released a statement soon after the announcement was made public.
"His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh has decided that he will no longer carry out public engagements from the autumn of this year. 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.
"The Duke of Edinburgh is Patron, President or a member of over 780 organizations, 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 program of official engagements with the support of members of the Royal Family."
Earlier on Thursday, senior staff members to the royal family were called to an emergency meeting at Buckingham Palace in London, according to The Daily Mail.
The reason for the summons at the time was unknown, but sources close to royal staff members described the order as "highly unusual," leading to speculation that an imminent announcement concerning the Queen, or her husband, would be made soon.
"Everyone is on tenterhooks," one source told The Mail.
"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," they added.