Prince Edward says 'the show goes on' as the Duke of Edinburgh retires

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Media captionPrince Edward: "Nobody's ever forgotten meeting him."

The show will go on when the Duke of Edinburgh steps down from public duties as other royal family members take on his roles, the Earl of Wessex says.

But Prince Edward, the first royal to publicly comment about the decision, said the 95-year-old will not be "disappearing into the background".

Prince Edward added: "It was a surprise, but not really a surprise."

He said Prince Philip "just proved that it might be possible to retire, which is quite good for the rest of us".

The duke, who turns 96 in June, will retire from royal duties in the autumn after more than 65 years supporting the Queen.

He will attend scheduled engagements between now and August but will not accept new invitations.

The prince said: "Although having for many years said it is a job from which you can't retire, he's just proved that it might be possible to retire, which is quite good for the rest of us.

"But at the end of the day you still have to do what is sensible and practical and as we all know from my father, he's extremely sensible and extremely practical.

"He's taken that decision and we respect that but we are not going to see him disappearing into the background."

'Everyone shuffles around'

The prince was asked if other members of the royal family would now be supporting the Queen.

"It is always a team effort and that's we do, and the show goes on," he replied.

"If an actor retires from a show, guess what? The show goes on and everybody shuffles around and we all fill in the spaces and keep it all going. That's what we will do... We support each other."

The Duke of Edinburgh


years old


years as Queen's companion

  • 22,219 solo engagements since 1952

  • 5,496 speeches given

  • 785 organisations have him as patron, president or member

  • 4 million people have taken part in Duke of Edinburgh Awards

Getty Images

The duke carried out 110 days of engagements in 2016, making him the fifth busiest member of the royal family, according to Court Circular listings.

He is patron, president or a member of more than 780 organisations and will continue to be associated with them, but "will no longer play an active role by attending engagements", Buckingham Palace said in its announcement on Thursday.

The prince said: "The great thing about my father is that nobody's ever forgotten meeting him.

"So they've all got their stories and wherever he's been, wherever in the world, people still remember him and will continue to remember him and you can't get a better accolade than that."

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