Prince Philip shares important message in rare public statement since retirement

Prince Philip retired from royal duties in 2017

Prince Philip
(Image credit: Alastair Grant - WPA Pool/Getty Image)

Prince Philip has made a rare public statement to praise the work of "selfless" teachers and school staff after schools broke up for the Christmas holidays this week.

The 99-year-old retired from royal duties in 2017, but remains patron of the Chartered College of Teaching.

Hailing their ability to continue working "in the most challenging conditions," amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Duke of Edinburgh said: "I commend all teachers and school staff for your professional and resolute commitment throughout the past year to teaching our children and young people in the most challenging conditions.

"As patron of the Chartered College of Teaching, I wish to thank you all for your selfless dedication and send you my best wishes for a well-deserved break over Christmas and the New Year."

Since his retirement, Prince Philip has made few official appearances or comments. He was last seen in public during the summer when he handed over his role as Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles to the Duchess of Cornwall.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh attend The OUT-SOURCING Inc Royal Windsor Cup 2018 polo match at Guards Polo Club

(Image credit: Photo by Antony Jones/Getty Images)

Announcing his retirement from royal duties in May 2017, Buckingham Palace said in a statement: "His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh has decided that he will no longer carry out public engagements from the autumn of this year. In taking this decision, The Duke has the full support of the Queen.

"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.

"The Duke of Edinburgh is Patron, President or a member of over 780 organizations, 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."

Jenni McKnight is a beauty, lifestyle and entertainment journalist and a regular contributor to woman&home, having previously worked as Acting Senior Content Editor of our former sister site, CelebsNow. She has also written for HELLO! Magazine, GoodToKnow, the Daily Mirror and Yahoo!