A royal butler claims to have shed light on the real reason why Prince Philip has decided to step down from public life.
The Duke of Edinburgh 'reassessed his priorities' after two of his closet pals died, a long standing servant claimed in a candid interview with the Daily Star .
The butler told the paper: "That (the death of his friends) hurt him quite bad.
"He thought: 'I'm 95, I need to slow down'.
"If you asked two years ago he would not have retired at all. But because of his friends' death and what happened at Christmas, he feels this is the right choice
One of the friends is believed to be Sir Brian McGrath, known as Prince Philip’s “gatekeeper”.
Sir Brian was a close friend of the Duke and the former head of his household who remained at Philip's side almost daily despite retiring in 1995.
Prince Philip, who turns 96 next month, last week announced he will withdraw from public duties.
Prince Harry is reportedly set to replace his grandfather as head of Britain’s elite Royal Marines.
The 32-year-old royal is now likely to take on the ceremonial position once the Duke of Edinburgh stands down from public duties.
He has been ceremonial head of the Royal Marines since 1953.
The role has included regular visits to the marines on exercise in Norway and at the headquarters of 3 Commando Brigade in Plymouth.
Sources say the office of Major General Rob Magowan, the Commandant General of the Corps, has approved the offer of the role and the Queen has the final decision.
The role of Captain General of the Royal Marines is valued highly by the Corps and a senior officer has the task of informing the royal of all events and producing reports on the amphibious assault force.
Two years ago Prince Harry stepped in for his grandfather at the opening ceremony of a new amphibious centre for the Royal Marines, 1 Assault Group in Plymouth.
He arrived in the uniform of an Army Air Corps Captain and senior Royal Marine Generals, including the head of the Special Boat Service, saluted him despite his lower rank.
Harry struck up a strong rapport with the green berets during fighting in in Helmand in 2008 as an “air controller” directing air strikes in support of marines from 40 Commando.
In 2012 he fought as an Apache helicopter pilot supporting Royal Marines and special forces who were tracing Taliban commanders and killing them.
The young Prince, who left the Army two years ago where he served as an Apache pilot, is the only member of the Royal family who does not hold any honorary position within the armed forces.
His brother heads the Irish Guards, his uncle Prince Edward heads several Army Reserve units, Prince Andrew has a string of Army commands and Prince Charles heads dozens of regiments including the Paras.
A senior Royal Marine officer said Prince Philip is a “hard act to follow.”
The source said: “The invite if acceptable is for Prince Harry to step into uniform and support his grandfather and eventually take over as Captain General.”
Prince Philip became head of the Royal Marines in 1953 when King George VI died and was mentored for several years by his uncle Lord Mountbatten, who as head of the Navy was also an honorary General in the Corps.
As well as being the current head of the marines his grandfather, Prince Philip, is overloaded with titles including Field Marshall of the British Army as well as the Admiral of the fleet and Marshall of the Royal Air Force.
Other appointment enjoyed by Prince Philip are head of the Intelligence Corps, the Hussars, the Royal Regiment of Scotland and the Honourable Artillery Company as well as numerous titles with the Canadian, Australian and New Zealand forces.
"If you asked two years ago he would not have retired at all. But because of his friends' death and what happened at Christmas, he feels this is the right choice."
(Culled from the Daily Mirror)