Prince Philip: Britain joins the Queen in mourning the loss of an extraordinary man


Prince Philip: Harry and Meghan’s Archewell website tribute royal

The Duke of Edinburgh, who returned to Windsor Castle three weeks ago after a month in hospital, died just two months before his 100th birthday. Her Majesty spoke of her “deep sorrow” on losing the love of her life and the steadfast royal consort who imprinted his vitality and dynamic personality on so much of British life.

The longest-serving royal consort in British history, Philip died at Windsor Castle yesterday morning. His death follows a testing time for the Royal Family after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s exit and the bitter rift that has ensued.

He had struggled with his health for some time since retiring from public duties in 2017. The Queen, who will be 95 later this month, announced the death of Philip, the dashing war hero she called her “strength and stay”, in a short statement at noon yesterday.

Buckingham Palace said: “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty the Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

“His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle. Further announcements will be made in due course.

“The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.”

The news was sent out to the world on Twitter.

The Duke of Edinburgh

The Duke of Edinburgh died just two months before his 100th birthday (Image: Getty )

Royal staff also placed the announcement in a framed notice and fixed it to the Buckingham Palace railings.

The national sense of loss was reflected across Britain yesterday with floral tributes laid at the Queen’s homes.

Within an hour of Prince Philip’s death being announced, flowers were being placed at the gates of Buckingham Palace, Balmoral Castle, Sandringham and Windsor Castle.

Philip’s funeral is expected to be televised and will take place at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, on Saturday, April 17, if the Palace sticks to a long-agreed plan for the service to be held eight days after his death.

But it will be a family affair, ­limited to 30 people because of Covid restrictions.

Details are likely to be confirmed by the Queen later today.

The Duke’s daughter Princess Anne said in a pre-recorded ­tribute: “Without him, life will be completely different.”

The Queen

The Queen spoke of her ‘deep sorrow’ on losing the love of her life (Image: Anwar Hussein)

Prince Charles was seen leaving Windsor Castle yesterday after ­visiting the Queen following the announcement.

In Downing Street, the Prime Minister led the nation in paying tribute to Philip, who gave up a promising Naval career in 1951 to devote his life to supporting his wife in her role as head of state.

Boris Johnson recalled Philip’s many achievements. These included championing the natural world long before it was fashionable, and creating the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award youth scheme.

Mr Johnson said: “It is to Her Majesty, and her family, that our nation’s thoughts must turn today.

“Because they have lost not just a much-loved and highly respected public figure, but a devoted husband and a proud and loving father, grandfather and, in recent years, great-grandfather.” The head of the Armed Forces said the Duke “leaves us with a legacy of indomitable spirit, steadfastness and an unshakeable sense of duty”.

General Sir Nick Carter said Prince Philip was a “gallant officer” who, during his wartime career, was know for his “bravery and enterprise”.

consort

The Duke of Edinburgh was the longest-serving consort in British history (Image: Getty )

As a mark of respect, British politics will shut down for an as yet unspecified period.

Campaigning in elections north and south of the border is now suspended and planned announcements, press conferences and television appearances by ministers have been paused.

Westminster Abbey tolled its tenor bell once every 60 seconds 99 times last night in tribute to Philip.

Across the UK, in Gibraltar, and on Royal Navy ships at sea, 41-round death gun salutes will be fired in honour of the Duke today.

Around the globe, world leaders paid tribute.

US President Joe Biden joined predecessors, including Donald Trump, Barack Obama and George W Bush, in sending condolences.

European royal families remembered Philip as a “great friend” who “never ceased to leave an unforgettable impression”.

Born in Corfu, Philip was the nephew of King Constantine of Greece but had a nomadic ­upbringing after his family was forced to flee their homeland in 1922 when Philip was just one.

Prince Philip

Prince Philip represented more than 750 charities and made 637 official visits to 143 countries (Image: Getty )

He endured a difficult childhood, in which his parents Prince Andrew of Greece and Princess Alice of Battenberg split. His mother ­suffered mental health problems and was confined to an asylum.

Eventually, he was enrolled at Dartmouth Naval College thanks to the influence of his uncle Louis Mountbatten.

He and the Queen are ­understood to have met as children for the first time in 1934 at the wedding of Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark to Prince George, Duke of Kent, the fourth son of George V.

But their first significant meeting was at Dartmouth in 1939.

Philip, an 18-year-old cadet, was asked to chaperone the 13-year-old Princess Elizabeth during a royal visit to the college with her parents and sister, Princess Margaret.

Their meeting sparked a flurry of letters and eventually a romance, leading to their marriage eight years later. In between, he served with distinction in the Royal Navy during the Second World War on ships in the Indian Ocean, the Mediterranean and the Pacific.

At the Battle of Cape Matapan in March 1941, he was mentioned in dispatches for spotting an ­unexpected enemy vessel with a search light.

Philip and Princess Elizabeth

Philip and Princess Elizabeth walked down the aisle in November 1947 (Image: Getty)

In November 1947, Philip and Princess Elizabeth walked down the aisle, lighting up ration and bomb-damaged Britain and ­creating one of the 20th century’s greatest marriages.

But after almost 70 years of walking one step behind her with arms folded behind his back, he retired from public life in August 2017.

Throughout most of those years, he was one of the busiest royals, clocking up 22,219 solo engagements and 5,496 speeches.

He represented more than 750 charities and made 637 official visits to 143 countries.

Even in his final year of public service, he remained more active than the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

His first solo engagement was on March 2, 1948.

At the age of 26, he presented prizes at the London Federation of Boys’ Clubs Boxing Finals at the Royal Albert Hall.

Throughout it all, he stuck to one priority – to support the Queen.



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