Published 8 May 2017

The Earl talks about The Duke of Edinburgh, who has made the decision to no longer carry out public engagements from the autumn of 2017.

The Earl of Wessex and The Duke of Edinburgh

During an engagement at Windsor Castle, The Earl of Wessex spoke about his father's decision to step back from public duties, at the age of 96, was 'a surprise but not really a surprise'.

'Although he's said that he's going to step back, I don't think he's going to stop for a minute,' revealed The Earl. 'There will still be lots of things for him to do. It just means there are no expectations. It was very sensible.'

The Earl admitted it was a difficult decision for The Duke to come to. 'At the end of the day, you still have to do what's sensible and practical and my father is extremely sensible and extremely practical! So he's taken that decision and we respect that – we're not going to see him disappearing into the background.'

Since marrying The Queen in 1947, The Duke of Edinburgh has taken up over 22,000 solo engagements and 637 solo overseas visits. As patron to over 780 organisations, he has given an impression 5,493 speeches.

'It has been years of staggering service and a huge number of organisations and associations and people he's helped along the way. And he's always been immensely helpful and jolly. The great thing about my father is that nobody's ever forgotten meeting him, so they've all got their stories!' he revealed. 'Wherever he's been, wherever in the world – people remember him. You can't really get a better accolade than that.'

The Earl of Wessex, who was at Windsor Castle in support of The Prince Philip Trust Fund, said that the entire family would rally together in order to support The Queen in her engagements.

'It is always a team effort and that's what we do. The show goes on – we support each other, constantly, whatever we do. That's been the case if anyone has fallen ill. We've done our best to fill that gap, to keep the show going and we will continue to do that.'

And what will The Duke be doing with his extra free time? 'I don't believe he's going to be putting his feet up completely and disappearing into the background,' assures The Earl.

'He'll pick and choose what he wants to do and how he wants to do it and what's practical. Hopefully he can do more of what he enjoys. I'm sure he probably will be doing a bit of carriage driving.'

Read 50 Facts about The Duke of Edinburgh.

Read the announcement from The Duke of Edinburgh.