Prince Philip will stand down from his royal duties in the autumn, Buckingham Palace has confirmed, ending feverish speculation after an entire staff meeting was called late last night.
The Duke of Edinburgh, who will be 96 this year, "has decided that he will no longer carry out public engagements from the autumn of this year", according to a palace statement.
"In taking this decision, The Duke has the full support of The Queen," the statement continued.
He will continue to appear at official public engagements alongside other members of the royal family until August.
Following that, he will no longer accept invitations to events, although the statement noted that "he may still choose to attend certain public events from time to time".
Prime minister Theresa May paid tribute to the Duke's years of service, offering her "deepest gratitude and good wishes". She continued that his contribution to the Commonwealth and the UK, would be "of huge benefit to us all in years to come".
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also paid his respects, praising the Duke's service over the years – specifically the Duke of Edinburgh's Award – and wishing him "all the best in his well-earned retirement."
The announcement ends speculation following a Daily Mail report that the British royal household had been gathered for an "highly unusual" emergency meeting – with some staff coming down from the Queen's Scottish residence, Balmoral, to attend the meeting.
The article was quickly picked up by some outlets and social media users all over the world.
On Twitter, users starting posting that French media were claiming that Prince Philip had died, while the British newspaper The Sun accidentally published an obituary of the Queen's husband.
Another rumour claimed that the flag above Buckingham Palace was flying at half-mast – despite it being roughly 4am UK time, and dark. Observers pointed out that the flag was not at half-mast, indicating there had not been a death in the royal family.
Both the Queen and Prince Philip appear in good health. Yesterday, the 91-year-old monarch met with prime minister Theresa May ahead of the UK's general election on June 8. Her husband made an appearance at a London cricket ground.
The royal correspondent who wrote the Daily Mail story later tweeted to say international speculation over a potential death was "wide of the mark".
The BBC's royal correspondent also tweeted that the meeting had nothing to "do with the health of either the Queen or Prince Philip".
However, this did not prevent much of the world's media decamping outside Buckingham Palace on Thursday morning.
The UK is holding a general election in June. An earlier version of this article misstated the month.
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