Queen’s ‘deep sorrow’ as ‘beloved husband’ Duke of Edinburgh dies aged 99
The Queen is grieving for her beloved husband the Duke of Edinburgh who has died aged 99.
Buckingham Palace announced Philip’s death just after midday issuing a statement that spoke about how the royal family joined with people across the globe “mourning his loss”.
The Palace said in a statement: “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces 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 made in due course.
“The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.”
The announcement of Philip’s death reflected tradition and modern times with the statement tweeted on the royal family account and also a framed notice attached to the railings of Buckingham Palace for a short period.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson was one of the first national figures to pay tribute to the duke – longest-serving consort in British history.
Speaking from a podium in Downing Street, Mr Johnson said: “He was an environmentalist, and a champion of the natural world long before it was fashionable.
“With his Duke of Edinburgh awards scheme he shaped and inspired the lives of countless young people and at literally tens of thousands of events he fostered their hopes and encouraged their ambitions.
“We remember the duke for all of this and above all for his steadfast support for Her Majesty the Queen.
“Not just as her consort, by her side every day of her reign, but as her husband, her ‘strength and stay’, of more than 70 years.
“And 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.”
Tributes also flooded in from around the world, including from the Australian prime minister Scott Morrison, Irish premier Micheal Martin, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte, and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi.
European royal families remembered Philip as a “great friend” who “never ceased to leave an unforgettable impression”, with King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden hailing the duke as “an inspiration to us all”.
Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said Philip was an “outstanding example of Christian service”, adding: “On the occasions when I met him, I was always struck by his obvious joy at life, his enquiring mind and his ability to communicate to people from every background and walk of life. He was a master at putting people at their ease and making them feel special.”
Members of the public have also started placing floral tributes at the front gates of Buckingham Palace and outside Windsor Castle.
The Cabinet will meet at 5pm to pay tribute to the duke and Parliament will be recalled from its Easter recess on Monday, a day earlier than its scheduled return.
The death of the duke comes in the midst of the worst public health crisis for generations as the UK and countries around the globe reel from the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
It has also taken place in the aftermath of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s bombshell Oprah interview which left the monarchy in crisis after Meghan accused an unnamed royal of racism and the institution of failing to help her when she was suicidal.
Philip had returned to Windsor Castle on March 16 to be reunited with the Queen after spending a month in hospital – his longest ever stay.
He initially received care for an infection but then underwent heart surgery for a pre-existing condition.
The duke had looked gaunt as he was driven away from King Edward VII’s Hospital in central London, having been pushed in a wheelchair to the waiting car.
Philip – father to the Prince of Wales, the Princess Royal, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex – was just two months away from his 100th birthday in June.
He spent much of the Covid-19 crisis staying with the Queen at Windsor in HMS Bubble – the nickname given to the couple’s reduced household of devoted staff during lockdown.
Philip briefly stepped out of retirement in July 2020 when he carried out a rare official public engagement at Windsor.
The duke looked in fine form as he made his way down the steps to the Castle’s quadrangle for a socially distanced ceremony to hand over his Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles role to the Duchess of Cornwall, who was almost 100 miles away at Highgrove.
He showed he had lost none of his mischievous sense of humour when he joked with one of the soldiers about their fitness levels.
In April 2020, the duke released his first major statement since his retirement, praising key workers including refuse and postal staff, for keeping essential services running during the pandemic.
He was also pictured with the monarch at the Berkshire castle to mark his 99th birthday on June 10, at the secret lockdown wedding of his granddaughter Princess Beatrice on July 17 and with the Queen to mark their 73rd wedding anniversary in November.
On December 18, Philip released a rare public message praising teachers and school staff for their efforts teaching the nation’s children during the pandemic.
The Queen and Philip spent a quiet Christmas in 2020 at Windsor alone, except for their staff, and Buckingham Palace announced on January 9 2021, during England’s third national lockdown, that they had both received their Covid-19 vaccinations.
But the duke was hospitalised for a month from the middle of February, eventually having heart surgery.
The royal family has experienced troubled times in recent years.
They had to deal with Megxit, when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex quit as senior royals in order to earn their own money in the US, following frustrations with their role within the monarchy and Harry’s rift with his brother, the Duke of Cambridge.
Then on March 7 2021, Harry and Meghan’s explosive two hour televised Oprah Winfrey interview was aired.
In November 2019, the Queen and Philip’s second son the Duke of York stepped down from public duties, following his disastrous Newsnight interview about his association with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Philip survived a car crash when he was 97 near the Sandringham estate early in 2019, emerging unscathed when his vehicle flipped over after colliding with another carrying two women and a baby.
He was initially trapped and had to to be helped out of the sunroof by a passing motorist.
Shortly after, he was pictured driving on the estate without a seat belt.
He voluntarily surrendered his driving licence and the Crown Prosecution Service confirmed he would face no further action.
The duke was the oldest serving partner of a reigning monarch.
He and the Queen celebrated a poignant personal milestone in November 2017 – their platinum wedding anniversary.
In 1997, in a speech to celebrate their golden wedding anniversary, the Queen touchingly paid tribute to her husband, summing up his far-reaching influence.
“He is someone who doesn’t take easily to compliments,” she said. “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.”
Philip was the youngest child and only son of Prince Andrew of Greece, an officer in the Greek army, and Princess Alice of Battenberg.
Although he was a Prince of Greece, he had no Greek blood and his complex background was in fact Danish, German, Russian and British. He was born on the Greek island of Corfu on June 10 1921.
In the early 1920s, Greece was politically unstable and Philip’s family fled in exile.
King George V ordered that a Royal Navy ship should evacuate them, and 18-month-old Philip was carried to safety in a cot made from an orange box in December 1922.
The family settled in Paris but Philip later went to stay with relatives in Britain, where he attended boarding school.
Although they had met previously, the 18-year-old Philip, and 13-year-old Princess Elizabeth – both great-great-grandchildren of Queen Victoria – had their first publicised meeting in July 1939 at Dartmouth Naval College.
The tall, blond, good-looking and athletic prince impressed Lilibet by jumping over the college tennis nets.
Philip was a dashing naval officer in the Second World War and saw active service against German, Italian and Japanese forces.
He married Princess Elizabeth in a fairytale wedding in the austere world of post-war Britain in November 1947.
Their idyllic life as a Royal Navy husband and wife was shattered when King George VI’s health began to fail.
He died in 1952 and the Queen acceded to the throne.
The royal couple had four children: Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward.Published: by Radio NewsHub