LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Prince Philip, the 96-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth, pulled out of an annual service attended by the monarch on Thursday because of a hip problem, a royal source said.
Philip was due to appear with his 91-year-old wife at the Royal Maundy Service at Leicester Cathedral in central England and attend a reception and lunch afterwards.
"The duke was keen to attend but made this decision because he has been experiencing some trouble with his hip," the royal source said.
Philip, whose title is the Duke of Edinburgh, retired from public life last August although he said he would still attend some events.
Last June, he spent two days in hospital as a precautionary measure for the treatment of an infection and he pulled out of another event earlier this month because of ill health, according to British newspaper reports.
The traditional Maundy service, one of the most ancient ceremonies in the Church of England, sees the queen distribute money to 91 men and 91 women made up from pensioners in the local community.
"The order of service was printed some weeks ago when it was hoped the duke would be able to take part," Buckingham Palace said in a statement. "His Royal Highness has since decided not to attend."
Reporting by Costas Pitas and Michael Holden; editing by Stephen Addison