10 April 2021

UK: Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (1921–2021)

Buckingham Palace announced on Friday 9 April 2021 the death of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, husband of Queen Elizabeth II:

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 be made in due course.  

The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.   

Prince Philip (Filippos), who died two months short of his 100th birthday, was born on at Corfu in Greece on 10 June 1921 as the fifth and youngest child and only son of Prince Andreas of Greece (1882–1944) and Princess Alice, née Princess of Battenberg (1885–1969). In 1922 the family was forced into excile and Prince Philip grew up in France, Germany and the United Kingdom. After leaving Gordonstoun School in Scotland in 1939 he joined the British Royakl Navy and served in the British forces during WW2. In 1947 Prince Philip was naturalized as a British subject, he abandoned his Greek and Danish royal titles (there is till a question mark on how this was made legal in Greece and Denmark) and took the surname Mountbatten (an Anglization of his mother's Battenberg family name). On 20 November 1947 in Westminster Abbey, London he married Princess Elizabeth of the United Kingdom. from 1952 Queen Elizabeth II, eldest daughter of King George VII (1895–1952) and Queen Elizabeth, née Bowes-Lyon (1900–2002). He received the style Royal Highness and was created Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich. In 1957 he was created Prince of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Prince Philip left behind his wife of 73 years, Queen Elizabeth II, his four children Charles (the Prince of Wales), Anne (the Princess Royal), Andrew (the Duke of York) and Edward (the Earl of Wessex), 8 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. His titles Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich were upon his death inherited by the Prince of Wales in accordance with the Letters Patent of 1947). See my blog article of 10 March 2019 for details of the title Duke of Edinburgh, which in due time will be bestowed on the Earl of Wessex.

Prince Philip's death didn't come as a big surprise, as he looked very frail when he left hospital last month. But I kind of expected that he would at least say on and have his big day on 10 June when he was to turn 100. But unfortunately we lost him yesterday. It is almost impossible to write a blog article which gives justice to such a grand man, who was the longest-serving consort of a British monarch. He dedicated his life to the British Crown and people. When he decided to retire from public life in 2017, we learnt that he had carried out 22,191 solo engagements since 1952. The number speaks volumes. He will perhaps first of all be remembered for his supporting role to Queen Elizabeth. As the Queen said herself during the celebrations of the couple's golden anniversary in 1997: «He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I, and his whole family, and this and manybother countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know.»

We will remember his smile and sparkle in the eye and all his witty remarks. Yes, he crossed the line a few times, he was far from perfect, but he was first of all a funny and generous man who will be sadly missed by his family and by everyone who cares about the British royal family and monarchy.

Salute

Gun salutes have been fired across the United Kingdom and in Gibraltar at noon today marking the death of Prince Philip. The British always do it proplerly, as described in The Telegraph: «Saluting batteries began firing 41 rounds at one round every minute from midday on Saturday in cities including London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, as well from Royal Navy warships.»

Tributes

Current and former heads of state, other diginitaries and politicians all over the world have expressed their condolences following the news of Prince Philip's death. The statement at the website of the Norwegian Royal Family said yesterday:

The Duke of Edinburgh

The Royal Family has received the news that His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh has passed away with great sorrow.

“Our thoughts are with Queen Elizabeth and the rest of her family. We also send our condolences to the British people,” said His Majesty King Harald.

His Majesty has decided that a flag will be flown at half-mast from the Palace balcony today and on the day of the funeral.

Sweden: 
Following the death of HRH The Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh HM The King has made a statement:

The Queen and I were deeply saddened to learn of the death of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh.

Prince Philip has been a great friend of our family for many years, a relation which we have deeply valued.

His service to his country will remain an inspiration to us all.

We offer our sincere condolences to Her Majesty The Queen, The Royal Family and the people of the United Kingdom.

CARL GUSTAF

The Queen of Denmark has also sent her condolences to Queen Elizabeth. The head of the Serbian Royal Family, Crown Prince Alexander, has paid the following tributes:

Their Royal Highnesses saddened by the passing of Prince Philip

TRH Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine and the entire Royal Family received with great sadness the news that HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the husband of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, godmother of the Crown Prince, passed away today.

The whole life of Prince Philip was dedicated to the service of the British Crown and the people. He is survived by his wife, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, four children, eight grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren.

Prince Philip was the son of the Greek and Danish Prince Andrew, the brother of the Greek King Constantine, the maternal great-grandfather of the Crown Prince Alexander.

Crown Prince Alexander and the Royal Family had a good cousin, a sincere friend in the late Duke, whose memory will live forever. His departure will create a great void in the hearts of all who knew him.
The British Prime minister, Boris Johnson, gave a televised statement which can be read here. He said among others that «Prince Philip earned the affection of generations here in the United Kingdom, across the Commonwealth and around the world.» 

The prime minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, expressed among others: «A man of great service to others – first as a decorated naval officer and later as a dedicated leader in the areas of community engagement and philanthropy – the Duke always sought out the best in people and challenged them to strive for greater heights.» 

Australia's prime minister Scott Morrison said: «Your Majesty, here in Australia, and indeed across the world, your Commonwealth family joins in your sorrow and your mourning and that of your family. But also, we give thanks for the life of who you described as your strength and your stay. Your Prince, Prince Philip. Husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. The Duke's life was one of duty and of service, of loyalty and of honour. Memories of him will of course tell stories of his candour, and a unique and forceful and authentic personality. But above all, he was a man who was steadfast, who could be relied upon, always standing by his Queen.»

President Joe Biden gave the following statement:
On behalf of all the people of the United States, we send our deepest condolences to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the entire Royal Family, and all the people of the United Kingdom on the death of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. Over the course of his 99-year life, he saw our world change dramatically and repeatedly. From his service during World War II, to his 73 years alongside the Queen, and his entire life in the public eye — Prince Philip gladly dedicated himself to the people of the UK, the Commonwealth, and to his family. The impact of his decades of devoted public service is evident in the worthy causes he lifted up as patron, in the environmental efforts he championed, in the members of the Armed Forces that he supported, in the young people he inspired, and so much more. His legacy will live on not only through his family, but in all the charitable endeavors he shaped.

Jill and I are keeping the Queen and Prince Philip’s children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren in our hearts during this time.
Every living former US presidents have also expressed their condolences, as summed up on the website of BBC News.

Selected obituaries
Funeral

Details of Prince Philip's funeral have yet to be published. According to his own wishes, it will be a relatively low-key service at the St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. Covid-19 restrictions will also hae an impact on the service and the number of people attending will be smaller than originally planned. The prince will first be interred in the royal family vault beneath the chapel, and then later be transferred to the King George VI Memorial Chapel following the death of the queen.

Updated on Thursday 15 April 2021 at 20:15 (more precise details concerning Prince Philip's interment added).

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