The Duke of Edinburgh to step down from public engagements, Royal Family announces

The Royal Family has announced that the Duke of Edinburgh will no longer carry out public engagements from later this year.

The move comes after speculation over a reported emergency meeting of the Queen's entire household apparently called for tonight (NZT).

In a statement issued this evening about Prince Philip, who will turn 96 next month, the Royal Family said the Queen's husband would 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," the statement said.

The Duke has the full support of the Queen, it said.

Prince Philip is Patron, President or a member of more than 780 organisations, "with which he will continue to be associated, although he will no longer play an active role by attending engagements".

"Her Majesty will continue to carry out a full programme of official engagements with the support of members of the Royal Family," the statement said in regards to the Queen.

Talk about an 'emergency meeting' has sent the rumour mill into overdrive. Emma Keeling reports with an update from London. Source: 1 NEWS

She was joined by Princes Philip, Charles, William and Harry, as well as Camilla and Catherine. Source: 1 NEWS

Britain's Daily Mail had earlier reported that servants from royal residences across the country have been ordered to London and were to be addressed tonight (NZT) by the Lord Chamberlain, the most senior officer of the Royal Household, as well as Her Majesty's right-hand man, Private Secretary Sir Christopher Geidt.

It's 40 years to the day since the Queen Elizabeth unveiled a commemorative plaque in the reception hall of the famous building. Source: 1 NEWS

The report said multiple sources described the meeting as "highly unusual" and it had sparked fevered talk about an imminent announcement concerning the monarch or her husband.

"You could safely assume the Queen and Prince Philip are not dead," the palace press office earlier told a 1 NEWS reporter in Auckland by phone this afternoon, about 4am UK time. 

The Queen and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh leave the Easter Day service at St George's Chapel on April 16, 2017 in Windsor, England. Source: Getty

The Queen, 91, has just returned to her London residence following her extended Easter break at Windsor.

The Queen has slowly been handing over a number of her more onerous duties including all those involving long-haul travel and many of her regular investitures in recent years.