Jewish leaders have wished 95-year old Prince Philip a “happy retirement” after Buckingham Palace announced on Tuesday that he would be stepping down from public engagements from the autumn.
Board of Deputies President Jonathan Arkush paid tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh’s work, saying: “Prince Philip has been given long and tireless public service to our country for over 60 years. We salute him and wish him a very happy retirement.”
Simon Johnson, Chief Executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, said:
“His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh has been selfless and dedicated in his public service.
“His commitment to the wellbeing of the Jewish community, and all of the peoples of our country, has been outstanding. We wish him a healthy and contented retirement.”
Karen Pollock, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust said: “As His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh stands down from royal engagements, we thank him for all the support he has given us over a great many years. Together with Her Majesty The Queen, Prince Phillip has helped to shine a spotlight on the importance of remembering and educating about the Holocaust. In particular I will never forget the mutual affection, humour and respect shared between HRH with survivors and liberators in 2015 when he and The Queen visited Bergen-Belsen. We wish him a happy and well-earned retirement!”
The Duke is patron, president or member of more than 780 organisations, but had now decided the time was right to step back from public duties, in a decision which had “the full backing of the Queen”.
It prompted Arkush to recall meeting Prince Philip at a school event, in which the Royal – known for his sense of humour – left an indelible mark.
“I had the honour of conducting him on a tour of Hertsmere Jewish Primary School at its opening in 2000 when I was the Chair of Governors,” recalled Arkush.
“He was a wonderful guest, engaging beautifully with the children and giving an outstanding witty speech. It was a memorable occasion which those present will always recall with pleasure.”
In a statement on Thursday, the Palace said: “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.”