Prince Philip has died aged 99, Buckingham Palace announces
Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, has
died aged 99, Buckingham Palace has announced.
In a statement shortly after midday, the palace said:
“His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this
morning at Windsor Castle.” The Duke of Edinburgh,
who was the longest-serving consort in British history,
had returned to Windsor Castle on 16 March after a
month in hospital. Boris Johnson said he “inspired
the lives of countless young people”.
Speaking at Downing Street, the prime minister added
that the duke had “earned the affection of generations
here in the United Kingdom, across the Commonwealth,
and around the world”. Meanwhile, Justin Welby,
the Archbishop of Canterbury, said he “consistently put
the interests of others ahead of his own and, in so doing,
provided an outstanding example of Christian service”.
The palace added: “The Royal Family join with people
around the world in mourning his loss.”
The flag at Buckingham Palace was lowered to half-mast
and a notice was posted on the gates following the
announcement of the duke’s death.
Bunches of daffodils, tulips, roses and lilies were among floral
tributes placed by people outside the palace, while crowds began
to gather at Windsor Castle.
The BBC’s royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell said it was “
a moment of real national sadness” and “a moment of sadness,
most particularly of course, for the Queen losing her husband of
73 years – a bigger span of years than most of us can imagine”.
He said Prince Philip had made “a huge contribution to the
success of the Queen’s reign”, describing the duke as “utterly
loyal in his belief in the importance of the role that the Queen
was fulfilling – and in his duty to support her”.
“It was the importance of the solidity of that relationship, of their
marriage, that was so crucial to the success of her reign,” he
added. A bank of photographers and cameramen were lined up
around the growing number of tributes at Buckingham Palace on
Friday afternoon, according to BBC News reporter Marie Jackson.
Rhea Varma, from Pimlico, pulled up to the gates on her bike to
lay flowers and a note saying Rest in Peace Duke.
She said: “It’s just super sad. I think it might be the beginning of
big change in our country. Without him, the Queen might not
reign much longer.” To her, the duke was “the kind of stability
that’s so old-fashioned it’s difficult to comprehend. He was a rock
who brought integrity.” The prince married Princess Elizabeth in
1947, five years before she became Queen.
In March, the duke left King Edward VII’s hospital in central
He underwent a procedure for a pre-existing heart condition at
another London hospital – St Bartholomew’s. As news of the
duke’s death rippled through this royal borough, people started
to gather outside the gates of Windsor castle. Locals, including a
young girl, have left flower bouquets at the castle entrance. More
are being brought. One of the cards attached to the flowers
simply reads RIP Prince Philip. Another is addressed to Her
Majesty The Queen sending their deep condolences. There is a
sombre mood here in Windsor as people quietly reflect on the
news of the duke’s death. It was here where he spent his last
weeks after being discharged from hospital. His last days spent
with his wife, the Queen. Prince Philip and the Queen had four
children, eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. Their
first son, the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, was born in 1948,
followed by his sister, the Princess Royal, Princess Anne, in 1950,
the Duke of York, Prince Andrew, in 1960 and the Earl of Wessex,
Prince Edward, in 1964.Prince Philip was born on the Greek island
of Corfu on 10 June 1921.His father was Prince Andrew of Greece
and Denmark, a younger son of King George I of the Hellenes.
His mother, Princess Alice, was a daughter of Prince Louis of
Battenberg and a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria.
Politicians across the UK were united in mourning
following the announcement of the duke’s death. Labour leader
Sir Keir Starmer said the UK had “lost an extraordinary public
servant”, while Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said his
“long contribution to public life in Scotland will leave a profound
mark on its people”. Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford said the
duke “served the crown with selfless devotion and generosity of
spirit”. Parliament will honour the duke on Monday, with the
House of Commons sitting at 14:30 BST for tributes following his
death. Parties have also suspended their campaigning elections
on 6 May, which will see voters head to the polls for council and
mayoral positions in England, the Scottish Parliament and Welsh
Parliament. The palace said further announcements would be
made “in due course”.