The news was announced by Buckingham Palace after a much-publicised meeting of Royal Household staff. The Palace said in a statement: "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."

Soon after the announcement was made, the Queen and her husband attended an Order of Merit reception at St James's palace.

It was here the Duke of Edinburgh – known for his choice of words down the years – made what might be one of his last public quips when a guest told him he was sorry to hear he was standing down.

"Well, I can't stand up much longer," replied the 95-year-old in one of his more tactful off-the-cuff remarks.

The Duke has made some much published gaffe's, often while making official royal visits abroad.

These include telling a group of British exchange students living in the Chinese city of Xian, "If you stay here much longer you'll all be slitty–eyed," as well as asking Aborigines in Australia if they still "throw spears at each other."

Here are some more examples of Prince Philip's legendary gaffes:

  • Answering whether he would like to visit the Soviet Union in 1967, he said: "I would like to go to Russia very much, although the b*stards murdered half my family."
  • On accepting a figurine from a woman during his visit to Kenya in 1984, he asked: "You are a woman, aren't you?"
  • To a 13-year-old while visiting a space shuttle (undated) he said: "Well, you'll never fly in it, you're too fat to be an astronaut."