London, BBC,Sky,Mail::Political leaders, members of the public and well-wishers around the world have paid tribute to Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, after his death at the age of 99.
A statement issued by Buckingham Palace just after midday spoke of the Queen’s “deep sorrow” following his death at Windsor Castle on Friday morning.
He was the longest-serving royal consort in British history.
Prince Charles said his father’s life was an “astonishing achievement”.
Reflecting on Prince Philip’s life for a new BBC programme, which was filmed before the duke died, Prince Charles said: “His energy was astonishing in supporting my mama [the Queen] – and doing it for such a long time, and, in some extraordinary way, being able to go on doing it for so long.
“What he has done has amounted to an astonishing achievement, I think.”
Princess Anne said the duke “treated everyone as an individual, and gave them the respect he felt they were due as individuals”.
Announcing the duke’s death, the Palace said: “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband.
“The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.”
It is understood that the Prince of Wales travelled to Windsor Castle to visit his mother on Friday afternoon.
Speaking at Downing Street, prime minister Boris Johnson 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”.
In tribute to the duke, Westminster Abbey tolled its tenor bell once every 60 seconds for 99 times from 18:00 BST – to honour each year of his life.
Earlier, the flag at Buckingham Palace was lowered to half-mast and a notice was posted on the gates to mark the duke’s death.
People placed floral tributes outside the central London landmark, while hundreds visited Windsor Castle to pay their respects.
However, the government urged the public not to gather or leave tributes at royal residences amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Royal Family has asked people to consider making a donation to a charity instead of leaving flowers in memory of the duke, and an online book of condolence has been launched on the official royal website for those who wish to send messages.
A message on the website of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s non-profit organisation Archewell paid tribute to the “loving memory” of the Duke of Edinburgh, saying: “Thank you for your service… you will be greatly missed.”
From midday on Saturday, a 41-gun salute will take place for Prince Philip in cities including London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, as well as in Gibraltar and at sea from Royal Navy warships, the Ministry of Defence said. They will be broadcast online and on television for the public to watch from home.
All UK government buildings have been told to fly official flags at half-mast in tribute to the duke until 08:00 BST on the day after the duke’s funeral.
Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark was born on the island of Corfu in 1921.
At the age of 18, the prince joined the Royal Navy as a cadet.
He saw active service during the Second World War, serving in the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean, and was mentioned in despatches for his bravery.
In 1947 he renounced his Greek and Danish royal titles, took on the surname of Mountbatten and became a naturalised British subject ahead of his marriage to Princess Elizabeth.
Their wedding was the first great state occasion after the end of the Second World War.
His commitment to the Queen was unfaltering. He gave up his career in the Navy in order to support her in her role as monarch.
The Queen has described Prince Philip as her “constant strength and stay”.
They had four children – Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward – and he was a much loved grandfather and great-grandfather.
He saw himself as a moderniser within the British monarchy, orchestrating the first royal walkabout – but he was also known for his forthright views and off-the-cuff remarks.
Prince Philip’s concern for young people inspired him to create the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme, and he supported more than 800 charities and good causes – focusing on his interests in wildlife conservation, technology and sport.
Since the 1940s Prince Philip was an ever present figure in the life of the UK and leaves behind his own considerable legacy.
His funeral will be a small family service at St George’s Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle before the duke is buried in Frogmore Gardens, where Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were laid to rest. The date has not been set officially, but sources claim it could be on Saturday, April 17.
More details will emerge in the next few days, with the plan nicknamed ‘Operation Forth Bridge’, but the public have already been urged to stay away to avoid spreading Covid-19 and watch it on TV at home instead. A state funeral including a flotilla of boats on the Thames to mark her husband’s life looks impossible due to covid restrictions, but the Duke was said to have disliked the idea because he ‘didn’t want the fuss’.
The plans for the funeral were posted online by the government – before swiftly being taken down again. They appeared to confirm claims from sources.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle today paid a short tribute to Prince Philip following news of the Duke of Edinburgh’s death. In a post on their Archwell website, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex paid tribute to his grandfather with the two line message: ‘Thank you for your services… You will be greatly missed.’
The 21-word post, which takes up the whole of the website’s main page, was first revealed by their friend Omid Scobie, co-author of their biography Finding Freedom.
Harry is expected to return to the UK and be among the small number of mourners at the funeral, but it is much less clear whether his pregnant wife Meghan will return, weeks after the couple accused the Royal Family of racism in their bombshell Oprah interview while Philip lay in hospital.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s title will eventually pass on to his youngest son, Prince Edward, it was confirmed today – but he will have to wait until after the death of his mother and his brother Charles becomes king because of royal protocols.
The cause of Philip’s death has not been made public, but Philip had his first Covid-19 vaccination with the Queen on January 9, with his second one due around a week ago. It is not known if it was administered.
Parliament will be recalled from its Easter recess on Monday – a day earlier than planned – where MPs will give tributes in the Commons. The Conservatives, Labour and other major parties have suspended campaigning for the local, mayoral and police and crime commissioner elections in May out of respect for the duke.
As the Queen lost her husband, and the country mourns one of its greatest servants, it also emerged:
Her Majesty, who remains at Windsor Castle with her husband, has now started an eight-day period of mourning. She will not carry out any duties, even in private, while laws will not be given the Royal Assent and affairs of state will also be paused.
Boris Johnson led the tributes to the Queen’s husband and addressed the nation outside No 10 Downing Street shortly after the announcement. He said: ‘We give thanks, as a nation and a kingdom, for the extraordinary life and work of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh’.
He added: ‘Speaking on their golden wedding anniversary, Her Majesty said that our country owed her husband ‘a greater debt than he would ever claim or we shall ever know’ and I am sure that estimate is correct So we mourn today with Her Majesty The Queen.
‘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.’ Mr Johnson also praised his Duke of Edinburgh scheme, which has ‘shaped and inspired the lives of countless young people’.