The entire staff of the Royal Family was called into a mysterious emergency meeting and speculation ran wild over the reason behind the gathering.
However at 10 a.m. BST Buckingham Palace confirmed in a statement that the meeting was about Prince Philip stepping down from public life.
The meeting was first reported by the Daily Mail and speculation over the Queen or Prince Philip’s health was fuelled by an unnamed source telling the newspaper:
“Everyone is on tenterhooks. Although meetings involving the entire royal household are occasionally called, the way this has been done at the eleventh hour is highly unusual and suggests that there is something major to be disseminated. But at the moment, only those closest to her genuinely know what on earth this is all about.”
However, from 4 a.m. BST onwards, a number of media outlets around the world published statements from official spokespeople as well as unnamed sources, stating that there is no cause for concern that the Queen or Prince Philip has died.
At 4 a.m. BST, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson told a New Zealand TV station 1 NEWS that “you could safely assume the Queen and Prince Philip are not dead.“
At around 7 a.m. BST several media outlets also reported that no one had died. A “well-placed source” told Reuters that there was no cause for alarm about the welfare of the Queen of Prince Philip. A Buckingham Palace official also told The Associated Press there is “no cause for concern.“
At 8 a.m. BST, the BBC’s Hunt said in a tweet: “There’ll be a staff meeting at Buckingham Palace this morning. It’s not to do with the health of either the Queen or Prince Philip.“
At 10 a.m. BST, The Sun’s political editor tweeted: “Prince Philip is stepping down from public life, Royal sources say. That’s apparently the big announcement.” Around the same time, ITV’s royal editor tweeted the palace’s statement:
Business Insider has repeatedly tried to get through to representatives at Buckingham Palace for comment.
The Queen recently celebrated her 91st birthday. She met Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday to mark the dissolution of parliament due to the general election. The Queen and her husband Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, 95, returned to the palace recently after celebrating Easter.
Prince Philip also visited the Lord’s Cricket Ground on Wednesday, where he opened the new Warner Stand:
A video taken by the BBC’s royal correspondent Peter Hunt also showed Prince Philip in good spirits:
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