A couple of hours after Buckingham Palace announced Prince Philip's retirement, the Duke of Edinburgh attended an engagement with his wife the Queen. The 95-year-old Prince was pictured being driven from Buckingham Palace to St James's Palace, and gave a cheery wave from his car. The couple attended a service for members of the Order of Merit at the Chapel Royal, after which they hosted a luncheon for those at the service.
The Order of Merit is often hailed "the UK's highest honour" and at any point in time, there can only be a total of 24 members. Members are given a red and blue enamel badge, which reads "For Merit", but the honour does not come with a title so there's no immediate way of knowing if someone has been bestowed it. When a member dies, the badge is returned to the Queen and a new member is chosen to join the exclusive club.
Prince Philip will continue to carry out his scheduled engagements until the autumn, when he officially retires. The father-of-four appeared to be in high spirits as he attended the service and luncheon with his wife, who looked resplendent in purple. On Thursday morning, Buckingham Palace released a statement, saying: "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 organisations, 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 programme of official engagements with the support of members of the Royal Family."