Prince Philip has thanked scientists working to find a vaccine for COVID-19 as he makes a rare statement despite his retirement.
The Duke of Edinburgh, who is 98, recognised the urgent work being carried out by medical teams and scientists ahead of World Immunisation Week.
The message reads: “As we approach World Immunisation Week, I wanted to recognise the vital and urgent work being done by so many to tackle the pandemic; by those in the medical and scientific professions, at universities and research institutions, all united in working to protect us from COVID-19.
“On behalf of those of us who remain safe and at home, I also wanted to thank all key workers who ensure the infrastructure of our life continues; the staff and volunteers working in food production and distribution, those keeping postal and delivery services going, and those ensuring the rubbish continues to be collected.”
The duke retired from public life in 2017, carrying out his final engagement in August of that year.
However he still retains many of his patronages, and is still affiliated to about 750 organisations.
This includes London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine where experts are working in a global response, and Cambridge University, where more than 1,200 scientists have volunteered to support research efforts.
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He is currently in Windsor with his wife, the Queen, where they are keeping isolated to avoid catching coronavirus.
They arrived in Windsor a week earlier than originally planned for Easter Court and a date for his return to Sandringham and hers to London is understood to not be set.
A statement from the Queen in March included her husband’s name as she said they “know that many individuals and families across the United Kingdom, and around the world, are entering a period of great concern and uncertainty”.
Since then, she has made a rare televised broadcast to address the nation and the Commonwealth as well as delivered her first ever Easter message.
The duke does not make public appearances any more but does still attend some family events, including weddings.
He gave up his driving licence after a car crash in Sandringham, where he collided with a car after being dazzled by the sun. He was 97 at the time.
The duke, who turns 99 in June, spent time in hospital around Christmas, but was being treated for a pre-existing condition.
The Royal Family has been involved in several aspects of the coronavirus response with Prince Charles, Camilla the Duchess of Cornwall and Prince William all helping to open field hospitals across the country.
Prince William and his wife the Duchess of Cambridge have carried out many engagements virtually as they cannot attend in person.