AZUZ: For decades, Philip, duke of Edinburgh, has shared the public life of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II. They were married in 1947, and since February 6th, 1952 when she ascended the throne, the prince has participated in hundreds of public events with her each year. But an announcement was made yesterday that the public see a lot less of the prince.
CNN's Max Foster explains why from outside Buckingham Palace in London.
MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In the early hours of the morning, news leaked of an emergency meeting here at Buckingham Palace. It turns out that senior staff were called in for a special announcement. That announcement was in effect that Prince Philip is stepping back from public life.
He's not unwell, but he is about to turn 96 years old and he's made his own decision, we're told. He just pretty much doesn't want to do it anymore.
So, the queen will carry on with her role in public life. We just won't see Prince Philip alongside her in a way that we used to. Occasionally, he'll turn up in public. It means that other members of the royal family will have to step up.
We know that Prince William and the duchess of Cambridge are moving down here to London. We'll see more of them. We'll see more Prince Charles as well.
So, this is part of a gradual transition process. Buckingham Palace stage-managing how things move on.
The next king, Prince Charles, will have a higher presence. Prince Philip will have almost no presence. And the queen probably will have a bit of a smaller presence as well.
He'll be missed in public life. He's known for his gaffes. He's said some pretty extraordinary things over the years. But clearly, he wants to sit back. It's time for him to take a backseat and we're not going to see him in public life. And that's pretty big moment in British and royal history.
From Buckingham Palace, I'm Max Foster.