The Queen’s husband Prince Philip has sadly passed away aged 99, Buckingham Palace has announced .
Prince Philip has passed away at the age of 99, Buckingham Palace has announced. A statement was released on Friday 9 April confirming the sad news.
It read: ” It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen has announced the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh . His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle. The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss. Further announcements will be made in due course.”
Per tradition, a note was momentarily hung on the gates of Buckingham Palace
First details for Prince Philip’s funeral announced
The Duke’s funeral will not be a state funeral and the public will not be allowed to attend . The late royal will lie in rest at Windsor Castle, in line with his wishes, before a ceremony at St George's Chapel.
In the College of Arms website , it reads: “The funeral will not be a State Funeral and will not be preceded by a Lying-in-State. His Royal Highness's body will lie at rest in Windsor Castle ahead of the funeral in St George’s Chapel. This is in line with custom and with His Royal Highness's wishes.
“The funeral arrangements have been revised in view of the prevailing circumstances arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and it is regretfully requested that members of the public do not attempt to attend or participate in any of the events that make up the funeral.”
The royal family pay tribute to Prince Philip
Prince William and his wife, The Duchess of Cambridge , paid tribute to their grandfather shortly after the sad news was made public. William and Kate’s statement read: “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen has announced the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle. The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss. Further announcements will be made in due course.”
Celebrities and world leaders also paid tribute to the late Duke of Edinburgh. Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury , said in a statement: “I join with the rest of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth in mourning the loss of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, and give thanks to God for his extraordinary life of dedicated service. Prince Philip continually demonstrated his unfailing support and unstinting loyalty to Her Majesty The Queen for 73 years.”
The public lay floral tributes while remaining socially distanced
A public announcement
As is tradition, a sign was hung on the gates of Buckingham Palace, to announce the sad news of the Duke’s passing. The statement, which was headed with a royal crest and the words Windsor Castle, read: “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen has announced the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The 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.”
Due to coronavirus restrictions, it was only present for a short amount of time, to prevent crowds from gathering. Well-wishers and royal fans however were quick to start leaving floral tributes to the much-loved family member. Within an hour of the news being announced, over 40 floral tributes had been laid, including bunches of spring daffodils.
A government announcement
Members of the public have been urged not to leave floral tributes to the Duke of Edinburgh at royal residences to prevent crowds forming during the pandemic.
The Government has warned people to continue following coronavirus rules in the wake of Philip’s death on Friday morning, and not gather at Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle.
A Cabinet Office spokesman said: “Although this is an extraordinarily difficult time for many, we are asking the public not to gather at royal residences and continue to follow public health advice, particularly on avoiding meeting in large groups and on minimising travel.
“We are supporting the royal household in asking that floral tributes should not be laid at royal residences at this time.”
Floral tributes left outside Windsor Castle
Royals make sombre change to social media channels
In the moments following the sad news of the Duke’s passing, his family updated their social media bio photographs to a plain black monogram, in a sombre tribute.
Will Prince Harry return to the UK for his grandfather’s funeral?
While no announcement has been made yet about whether Harry and his wife Meghan Markle will return to the UK to be present for the funeral, many believe he will be very keen to do so , as the pair share a very close bond. A royal source confirmed to HELLO! that Covid will of course have a huge impact on any and all funeral arrangements.
The Crown reacts to the sad news
Philip is a fan-favourite in the hit Netflix show The Crown , being played by Doctor Who star Matt Smith in the first two series, opposite Claire Foy as the Queen. He was replaced by Outlander actor Tobias Menzies for series three and four, opposite Olivia Colman as the Queen.
Matt Smith played Prince Philip in the first to series of the show
A statement from the show, written by Peter Morgan, said: “Netflix, Left Bank Pictures, Sony Pictures Television and the production team on The Crown are deeply saddened to hear of the death of The Duke of Edinburgh. "Our thoughts are with the Royal Family at this sad time.”
The Queen and Prince Philip in lockdown
The Queen , 94, and her husband have spent much of the last year in isolation from the rest of their family due to the Covid pandemic. In January, it was announced that the monarch and her husband had received their first vaccination. A royal source confirmed to HELLO! that their vaccinations were administered by a Household Doctor at Windsor Castle where they were living at the time.
Prince Philip has passed away at the age of 99
Prince Philip’s influence on the monarchy
He was a Prince with extraordinary privileges but no power, a man without a role, destined to spend his life walking three paces behind his more important wife. Despite this, Prince Philip became the greatest influence on the monarchy since Queen Victoria’s consort Prince Albert. In recent years the Queen’s energetic husband had talked of slowing down. On his 90th birthday in 2011 he told BBC TV’s Fiona Bruce that he thought “I’ve done my bit and I’d like to enjoy myself now” adding he wanted to wind down, but he showed little sign of doing so right up to the end.
When did Prince Philip retire?
He retired from royal duties in the summer of 2017, but still made occasional appearances alongside the Queen and other members of the royal family, including attending Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding in May 2018 – with a cracked rib – and Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank’s wedding later in October. Philip was, however, absent from other big celebrations including Trooping the Colour in June 2018 to mark his wife’s birthday and Prince Louis’ christening in July 2018, which the Queen did not also attend.
WATCH: Prince Philip’s incredible life achievements
Prince Philip last pictured with the royal family
While the Duke retired from public duties in 2017, touchingly he was present for some of the royal family’s biggest celebrations, including the weddings of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle , Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank , both in 2018.
But the last time he was pictured publicly with a member of his family was for Princess Beatrice’s marriage to Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in Windsor in July 2020.
Just a few days after his granddaughter’s nuptials, the Duke carried out a rare public engagement at Windsor Castle for a ceremony to mark the transfer of the role of Colonel-in-Chief of the Rifles to the Duchess of Cornwall , who was at Highgrove House in Gloucester.
Prince Philip’s hospitalisation
Philip, who indulged his passion of carriage driving up until his 97th year, was last in hospital earlier this year. In March, he left hospital after a month-long stay for treatment. He underwent a procedure for a pre-existing heart condition at another London hospital – St Bartholomew’s.
Prince Philip’s car accident
In January 2019 he suffered a car accident close to the Sandringham Estate. A statement released by the palace said: “The Duke of Edinburgh was involved in a road traffic accident with another vehicle this afternoon. The Duke was not injured. The accident took place close to the Sandringham Estate. Local police attended the scene.”
An eyewitness of the crash, Roy Warne, spoke to BBC Radio 4’s Today at the time and explained how he managed to get the Prince out of the overturned car. “I asked him to move his left leg and that freed his right leg and then I helped him get out… He was obviously shaken, and then he went and asked if everyone else was all right,” he revealed.
Prince Philip’s health
The Duke predominantly enjoyed good health in his more advanced years, but there were bouts of illness. Concerns over his health came to light over the Christmas period in 2016 when Philip and the Queen were forced to delay their travel plans to Sandringham due to “heavy colds”. Philip was well enough to attend the traditional Christmas Day service as well as the annual New Year’s Day church service, although the Queen was absent from both. It was the first time in 28 years that the monarch had missed the festive services. In 2018 meanwhile, the palace stated that Philip would not attend the Christmas Day service and would enjoy the day privately with his family at home.
The Prince retired from public life in 2017
In summer 2013, Philip was admitted to a London hospital for exploratory abdominal surgery but discharged after 11 days and then took two months off to recover. Eighteen months earlier he was admitted to Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire with serious chest pains. Doctors diagnosed blocked arteries, a stent was inserted and he was soon recovering back with his family at Sandringham.
Prince Philip’s incredible romance with the Queen
He and the Queen were married for more than 70 years but only twice kissed in public – once at Heathrow airport several years ago when they arrived and he immediately departed on another trip, and at Midnight on Millenium Eve 2000. There was never any doubt about the strength of their relationship which the Queen summed up superbly on the occasion of their Golden Wedding Anniversary in 1997, at a luncheon in the Banqueting House, Whitehall.
She said with a smile: “All too often, I fear, Prince Philip has had to listen to me speaking. Frequently we have discussed my intended speech beforehand and, as you will imagine, his views have been expressed in a forthright manner. He is someone who doesn’t take easily to compliments but he has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years and I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim or we shall ever know.”
In a tribute one palace official said: “He was a true Renaissance Man, so multi-talented that if he hadn’t been royal he could have become a famous tycoon, an artist or anything else he chose. He was an extraordinary film maker documenting the lives of his family. He shot most of the home movie footage shown in the wonderful TV programme A Jubilee Tribute to the Queen by the Prince of Wales.”
The Prince and the Queen on their wedding day
Why Prince Philip was never Prince Consort
His passing has left an enormous gap in public life. Yet the man who became the monarch’s husband lived in a kind of royal limbo. Despite marrying a queen and becoming father of a king, he was never, like his predecessor Victoria’s Prince Albert, formally appointed Prince Consort. He was always denied the possibility of assisting in affairs of state and did not sit in on the Queen’s weekly meetings with the Prime Minister.
But the Duke of Edinburgh single-handedly modernised the British monarchy. It was Philip who threw out the antiquated traditions at Buckingham Palace, who insisted that his children be sent to ordinary schools and not be educated like previous generations of Windsors by governesses behind palace walls. He introduced computers to keep a check on court expenditure and persuaded the Queen to open up more to the media. So, it wasn’t surprising that when he married King George VI’s elder daughter the Princess Elizabeth in 1947 that he was viewed with suspicion and distrust by the courtiers surrounding the throne.
Prince Philip and the Queen’s early marriage
His early years of marriage were not easy as many regarded the young naval officer from Greece as little more than an adventurer. He had arrived in England as a well-connected but impoverished refugee, cast adrift by his parents and passed around from one relative to another. He was the only son of Prince Andrew of Greece, an army officer and younger brother of King George I of Greece, both of whom were actually Danish descendants of King Christian IX of Denmark. Eventually, in England Lord Louis Mountbatten or ” Uncle Dickie”, as Philip knew him, took the homeless boy under his wing.
After leaving school, young Philip joined the Royal Navy as his guardian Lord Louis had risen high in the Senior Service. It was while he was a cadet at the Royal naval College in Dartmouth that he met his future wife for the first time. The 13-year-old Elizabeth was on an official visit with her parents Queen Elizabeth and King George VI. Legend goes that once she had set eyes on the tall, blond young naval officer, she fell in love with him and remained smitten forever afterwards.
Throughout World War II, Philip served his adopted country with distinction, at first aboard a warship in the Indian Ocean and later, after the fall of Greece, he was aboard the battleship Valiant at the landing of Allied troops on Crete. Some time later at the Battle of Matapan he was mentioned in despatches for his outstanding bravery. By 1944 he was promoted to First Lieutenant and was present at the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay.
His father died a penniless playboy the same year and his four older sisters had all married German aristocrats, which at the end of World War II made palace officials even more wary of the young Prince with an exotic background. After the war the Greek monarchy was restored raising Philip’s status but, as his relationship with the future queen became more serious, it was decided that he should take British citizenship. He also changed his religion from Greek Orthodox to Anglican.
However, the distrust surrounding the young Elizabeth’s soon-to-be-fiancé continued despite his impressive war record. When he married Elizabeth on 20 November 1947, the King bestowed on him the title His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich. The new Duke looked forward to continuing a successful career in the Royal Navy but his dreams of earning an admiral’s stripes were dashed when the King died in 1952 and his 25-year-old wife became the new Queen.
A rare outing for the Duke in his retirement
Philip had to find a new role for himself and quickly discovered there was no distinct path to follow for a royal husband. To his dismay he learned that even his children could not bear his name. “I’m nothing but a bloody amoeba!” he once complained. To resolve this problem some time later the Queen changed the name of her offspring to Mountbatten-Windsor. Determined to carve out a position he would find worthwhile, Philip concentrated on areas in which he had a special interest – science and technology, eagerly adopting new, labour-saving gadgets.
Prince Philip’s many modernisations
Appalled by meals arriving cold from kitchens almost half a mile away at the other end of the palace, he insisted on heated trolleys and began using a then innovative electric frying pan at the Queen’s breakfast table. He also introduced new, streamlined practices to the Victorian customs inside palace walls and did his best to banish the stuffed shirts surrounding the Queen.
This meant shaking up rigid old conventions and ruffling the complacency of many royal aides who until his arrival had held enormous influence at court. Even simply installing intercoms and dictaphones was considered rather daring in the prevailing Victorian atmosphere inside Buckingham Palace. In the 1960s Prince Philip was the first Londoner to drive an electric car revealing an early interest in reducing pollution. Yet when praised for his green mode of transport he self-deprecatingly told HELLO! : “I only did it because it was fun!”
He took over the loss-making royal estates Balmoral and Sandringham, both privately owned by the Queen and turned them into profitable businesses. He also threw himself into top roles with the World Wide Fund for Nature and played an active role in the International Equestrian Federation.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s greatest legacy
But his greatest legacy will be the Duke of Edinburgh Awards which have enabled more than six million youngsters to learn new skills and enjoy amazing adventures all around the Commonwealth. These have been taken over by his youngest son Edward, Earl of Wessex, who now inherits his father’s title, becoming the new Duke of Edinburgh.
Although in public Philip was forced to be nothing more than a support to his wife as Head of State, at home he was always the head of his family. “He was the eyes and ears of the Queen, going places and finding facts that she couldn’t do herself,” says one former courtier. In recognition of his unique position, his wife created him a Prince of the United Kingdom and in 1968 she gave him Britain’s highest honour the Order of Merit. She had already declared that he had “place, pre-eminence and precedence” next to herself on all occasions and at all events.
The Prince at his last official royal engagement
While no one denied that he was a hard-working and conscientious consort, his image as a father was severely dented by claims that he and his elder son had a strained relationship for some years. One report in the 1980s alleged that when the royal family gathered for Christmas at Sandringham, if the Duke walked into a room, the Prince of Wales would quickly leave it.
The Duke’s relationship with Prince Charles
While the Queen had hoped that her sons would go to Eton College, conveniently close to Windsor Castle, Philip decided they would be educated at his Alma Mater Gordonstoun School in Morayshire, Scotland. Prince Charles has made it clear throughout his life that he hated his time there but his younger brothers Andrew and Edward enjoyed it.
The Duke as a fantastic grandfather
Whether or not he was a good parent, he was certainly a success as a grandfather. Both Princess Anne’s son and daughter Peter and Zara Phillips were totally devoted to him and he forged a very close bond with Prince William. When it was suggested that Princess Diana’s boys William and Harry should walk behind her coffin during her funeral procession, William doubted that he could face such a public ordeal. It was only when his grandfather said, “If I walk with you, could you do it,” that the grieving teenager changed his mind and paid a last tribute to the mother he had lost.
Advancing age forced the Duke to give up playing polo in his fifties when he began suffering from arthritis in his shoulders and his eyesight became weaker. Too vain to wear glasses in public he often gave his bodyguards heart failure when he drove out of Buckingham Palace, zooming too close to the gateposts he could only vaguely see. In his last years he used contact lenses.
To the end he maintained the attitude of a salty sailor shouting orders from the bridge, often with language as blue as the seas on which he had served. “Get those bloody cameras away from the Queen,” he once roared at a TV cameraman who dared to step too close to his wife.
The Prince carriage driving after his retirement
The Duke as a kind man
But there was a much softer side to the old Iron Duke. His staff all worshipped him and more often than not, when retirement came, all wished to carry on serving him for many more years. His kindness to those in trouble was also legendary. One man whose marriage had just broken up was living on a royal estate but had become a recluse refusing to join in with social occasions organised for royal employees. He was surprised one Saturday night to hear a loud banging on his front door. It was the Duke who said: “You are coming to the staff party tonight. And if you refuse I’ll just stand here on the doorstep until you do.” Needless to say, the surprised man did as instructed and at the party met his second wife.
More evidence of Philip’s consideration could be seen on any walkabout. He was adept at finding children crushed against crowd barriers, and lifting them out so they could present their posies to the Queen. He carried out more than 60 years of public service with astonishing good grace and has left not just his family but his nation grieving at the loss of a remarkable man.
Author Tim Heald once asked what epitaph he would wish for, “What would he liked to be inscribed on his grave?” The Duke replied: “I am not really interested in what goes on my tombstone. I will be dead by then and not deeply concerned about what people may think.” After some thought, he added: “I don’t take myself all that seriously.”
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