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May offers ‘deepest gratitude’ to Duke for service to Queen and country

Jeremy Corbyn also had words of praise for the Duke, saying his “clear sense of public duty” had inspired people for more than 60 years.

Prime Minister Theresa May has led tributes to the Duke of Edinburgh following the announcement that he is standing aside from royal duties, saying the whole country would want to offer him “our deepest gratitude and good wishes”.

Mrs May said Prince Philip had given “steadfast support” to the Queen and served the country in a way which would be “of huge benefit to us all for years to come”.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also had words of praise for the Duke, saying his “clear sense of public duty” had inspired people for more than 60 years.

In a statement issued by Downing Street, Mrs May said: “On behalf of the whole country, I want to offer our deepest gratitude and good wishes to His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh following today’s announcement that he will stand down from public duties in the autumn.

“From his steadfast support for Her Majesty the Queen to his inspirational Duke of Edinburgh Awards and his patronage of hundreds of charities and good causes, his contribution to our United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and the wider world will be of huge benefit to us all for years to come.”

Mr Corbyn said: “I would like to pay tribute to Prince Philip following his decision to retire from public service. He has dedicated his life to supporting the Queen and our country with a clear sense of public duty.

“His Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme has inspired young people for more than 60 years in over 140 nations. We thank Prince Philip for his service to the country and wish him all the best in his well-earned retirement.”

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: “Well, perhaps 30 years later than most people retire, the Duke of Edinburgh is announcing that that is what he is intending to do, and I think it is a moment to celebrate and take stock of the enormous achievements that he has made in his life so far, the enormous service he has given to his country, the service to countless charities he has supported, plus while being such a rock for Her Majesty the Queen.

“I think it is a moment for us to be genuinely reflective of a great life well-lived and great achievements.”

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “HRH the Duke of Edinburgh has dedicated his life to public service and the steadfast support he has given to the Queen throughout her reign is hugely admirable.

“His charity work, in particular his role as chairman of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards, has benefited millions of young people across Scotland. He also gave over 50 years of service to Edinburgh University during his time as Chancellor there.

“He has always served with enthusiasm and a healthy sense of humour. I have always thoroughly enjoyed any time that I have spent in his company.

“I know that, even as he steps back from public life, the Duke will continue to be a huge support to the Queen. I wish him all the very best for a happy and peaceful retirement.”

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