The Queen’s longtime companion, the Duke of Edinburgh, was 99 years old.
Despite all the planning for the eventuality, it was still a deep shock. He was the only constant at the monarch’s side – her closest advisor, confidante, and partner throughout their 73-year marriage.
As the nation mourns his death and ponders how difficult it must be for the royal family today, one small consolation for the queen may be how much time she has had to spend with her beloved husband over the past 12 months. The couple settled in Windsor Castle, west of London, with a small circle of domestic workers when the coronavirus pandemic hit the UK last spring.
It was an epic love story spanning decades that began as a war romance. A few years after World War II, a young Princess Elizabeth married the British throne much earlier than either expected when her father, King George VI, died. Philip had a difficult childhood, spending his early life in exile from his native Greece, which his family had fled 18 months after his birth in 1921, amid the turmoil of interwar Europe. When he met Elizabeth in 1939 he was the alpha male in every way – a dominant force and strong character as he became an excellent war hero and naval officer.
He devoted himself entirely to the queen. These personal sacrifices would define his legacy.
Although he may not find it convenient to give his wife a supporting role, he did so without public complaint. It may not have been an easy transition, and there have certainly been ups and downs, but he found a public role for himself through his community service – particularly in conservation and through the Duke of Edinburgh Awards. He founded this program in 1956, which rewards children for achievements in personal development and community engagement.
Behind the scenes, he was the family patriarch who made important decisions such as: For example, where the children would go to school, or suggested taking part in documentaries to demystify the family to the public. More recently, he has dealt with family crises.
Philip was the only person the Queen could be “normal” with and they were captured from time to time for laughing together. Even their children must follow royal protocols and bow or curtsey when they see them.
Without him, the monarchy as we know it today would not have looked the same. He played an important role in family dynamics that the public was never privy to. His legacy is the lasting and real impact it leaves.
His death is a loss to the family and the Queen no longer has her unwavering support. One thing to watch over the coming months will be how the monarchy develops. Charles and William are likely to be even more advocate of engagements on behalf of the 95-year-old sovereign than they have in previous years. Philip’s death signals a new era for the family and it will take time for them to get used to a world without him.
TRIBUTES POUR IN
The world reacts
After the news of Philip’s death, honors poured in from world leaders. US President Joe Biden and his wife Jill offered condolences to the Queen, the Royal Family and the United Kingdom, saying they would keep the Royals “in our hearts” during this time. Messages of support and remembrance were also shared by the leaders of the Commonwealth. These included Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who remembered the Duke as a man of “great service to others,” and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who said, “He embodied a generation we will never see again.”
Funeral arrangements are expected on Saturday
The funeral arrangements for the Duke of Edinburgh are expected to be confirmed by Buckingham Palace on Saturday, according to a Royal source. CNN believes plans for royal funerals have been in place for many years, but the ceremonial elements have had to be changed due to the current pandemic restrictions in the UK. On Friday, the College of Arms confirmed that Philip’s body will not be in the state but will rest in Windsor Castle before a funeral at St George’s Chapel in Windsor. A cabinet spokesman for the UK government also urged the public not to gather in royal residences or to pay tribute to flowers because of the pandemic.
PRINCE PHILIP: A LIFE IN PICTURES 1921-2021
While Prince Philip was best known for his marriage to the Queen, he was an extraordinary figure himself.
In his seven decades in service, he often accompanied the monarch on royal engagements and conducted thousands of his own solo performances before retiring from public life four years ago.
Prince Philip was born into the royal families of Greece and Denmark. His family left Greece in 1922 and settled in Paris after his uncle, King Constantine I, was overthrown.
Prince Philip was dressed for a production of “Macbeth” when he attended school in Scotland in July 1935.
Prince Philip sits with his fiancée, Princess Elizabeth, in July 1947. He had become a naturalized British citizen and citizen by the surname Mountbatten, an English translation of his mother’s maiden name. He was also an officer in the British Royal Navy and fought in World War II.
The Queen and Prince Philip pose for a picture with their children Prince Edward, Prince Charles, Princess Anne and Prince Andrew in 1979.
More pictures from Philip’s extraordinary life here::
DECLARATION BY THE UK PRIME MINISTER
Shortly after the Buckingham Palace announcement on Friday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson stood on the podium outside Downing Street to honor the Duke of Edinburgh. Here is his full statement:
It was with great sadness that I recently received the news from Buckingham Palace that His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh has passed away at the age of 99.
Prince Philip has earned the affection of generations here in the UK, the Commonwealth and around the world.
He was the longest serving consort in history, one of the last survivors in this country who served at Cape Matapan during World War II where he was mentioned in Courage Dispatches and the Invasion of Sicily where he saved his ship by his quick thinking and out out of this conflict, he adopted an ethic of service that he applied during the unprecedented changes of the post-war era.
Like the seasoned coachman that he was, he helped steer the royal family and monarchy so that it remains an institution that is indisputably vital to the balance and happiness of our national life.
He was an environmentalist and advocate for nature long before it was fashionable.
With his awards program for the Duke of Edinburgh, he shaped and inspired the lives of countless young people and raised their hopes and ambitions at literally tens of thousands of events.
We remember the Duke for all of this and, above all, for his unwavering support for Her Majesty the Queen.
Not only as her wife, by her side every day of her reign, but as her husband, her “strength and residence” for more than 70 years.
And our nation today must turn to Her Majesty and her family.
Because not only have they lost a beloved and highly respected public figure, but also a devoted husband and a proud and loving father, grandfather and, in recent years, great-grandfather.
On her golden wedding anniversary, Her Majesty said that our country owed her husband “a greater debt than he would ever ask or we will ever know,” and I am sure the estimate is correct.
Therefore, today we mourn with Her Majesty the Queen, extend our condolences to her and her whole family and, as a nation and kingdom, thank Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh for the extraordinary life and work.
Watch the Prime Minister’s address here:
“He’s someone who doesn’t make it easy to give compliments, but he has simply been my strength and my stay over the years, and I, his whole family and this and many other countries owe him a greater debt than he would ever claim, or we will ever know. “
The Queen expresses her admiration for her husband on their golden wedding anniversary in 1997