After an emergency all-staff meeting, Buckingham Palace announced this morning that Prince Philip will be stepping down from public life this Autumn at the age of 95.
Unsurprisingly, Twitter has been absolutely frantic since news of the meeting broke last night, with inevitable assumptions that either Philip or the Queen had passed away. The Sun actually reported that he'd died, before noticing and awkwardly deleting it.
Others speculated that the Queen was going to cancel Brexit (you wish) or that she just wanted to say "May the fourth be with you."
The Queen's health has been on everyone's minds lately – the longest-reigning living monarch in the world turned 91 in April, after a fascinating article about the official plan for her death went viral the month before. However, as yet she's shown no signs of stepping down or indeed departing this mortal coil. The Queen Mother lived to 101.
Philip, on the other hand, has had some health problems of late, and even in these cash-strapped helltimes, 95 (or 96, as he'll be when his engagements actually end) seems a fair age to be allowed to retire. Quite why the meeting was convened in such a last-minute, emergency-like manner is not clear, but presumably the decision has only just been made and the Palace wanted to inform the royal household first. The Queen apparently supports his choice.
We wish the Duke a long and happy retirement pruning the hedges and shaking his fist at youngsters.
Main image: shining.darkness via Flickr CC