The most famous family on earth is mourning the loss of its patriarch. Prince Philip, the husband of British monarch Queen Elizabeth II, has died, Buckingham Palace has announced. He was 99. The Duke of Edinburgh — who married then-Princess Elizabeth in 1947 — was the longest-serving consort in British history. He will be remembered for his charitable work, his dedication to public service and his mischievous sense of humor.
The duke had recently spent a month in two London hospitals, undergoing heart surgery and treatment for an infection, before returning in mid-March to Windsor Castle, where he died on Friday morning.
The College of Arms, which oversees many ceremonial aspects of the royal family’s work, said in a statement Friday that the funeral would be held at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, “in line with custom and with His Royal Highness’s wishes.”
The bells of London’s Westminster Abbey, where Prince Philip married Queen Elizabeth more than 70 years ago, rang on Friday evening in honor of him.
Paying tribute in a televised statement, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the duke had “earned the affection of generations here in the United Kingdom, across the Commonwealth, and around the world” and had lived by an ethic of service.
“Like the expert carriage driver that he was, he helped to steer the royal family and the monarchy so that it remains the institution indisputably vital to the balance of our national path. He was an environmentalist, and a champion of the natural world, long before it was fashionable,” Johnson said. “With his Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme, he shaped and inspired the lives of countless young people.”
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair said the “whole nation will be united in sadness at the passing of Prince Philip,” adding he should be recognized “as a remarkable and steadfast support to the Queen over so many years” but also “celebrated in his own right as a man of foresight, determination and courage.”
Philip married the then-Princess Elizabeth in 1947, following distinguished service in the Royal Navy during World War II. Together, they had four children — Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward — eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
When Elizabeth ascended the throne in February 1952, on the death of her father, George VI, Philip’s lifetime of service as royal consort began. Over the decades, Philip often accompanied the Queen on royal engagements, and conducted thousands of his own solo appearances. He once referred to himself as “the world’s most experienced plaque unveiler,” while the Queen lauded him as her “constant strength and guide.”
Philip continued making public appearances well into his 90s, retiring only in August 2017. He was seen in public only infrequently from that point, notably at the Windsor Castle wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in May 2018, and at the nuptials for Princess Eugenie in October 2018 and for Princess Beatrice in July 2020.
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