Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in 2015.
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LONDON – Prince Philip, the Greek-born king who was the longest-serving consort of a British sovereign as the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, passed away on Friday. He was 99 years old.
“HRH passed away peacefully at Windsor Castle this morning,” announced the Royal Family. “Further announcements will be made in due course. The royal family and people around the world mourn his loss.”
The Duke of Edinburgh’s death occurred 12 days before Queen Elizabeth’s 95th birthday on April 21. Following a long-running plan known as Operation Forth Bridge, his death ushered in a period of national mourning.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement that “it was with great sadness” that he was informed of Philip’s death by reflecting on the Duke’s “extraordinary life and works” and expressing condolences to the Queen.
“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 lives,” said Johnson. “Today we mourn with Her Majesty the Queen, we extend our condolences to her and her entire family, and we thank as a nation and kingdom for the extraordinary life and work of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.”
Philip, whom the Queen referred to as “My strength and my stay” was in February after “not feeling well“and was being treated for an infection and pre-existing heart disease, said Buckingham Palace. He was released a month later after heart surgery.
The Duke, who popularized the sobriquet “The Firm” for the family firm Windsor, finished his official duties in the fall of 2017. Months earlier, in June, he was hospitalized with an infection and missed it Speech of the Queen Opening of the newly elected parliament this month.
Two days after the absence of Easter 2018 In St. George’s Chapel he was admitted to King Edward VII Hospital for a previously planned hip operation, the palace announced. This 10-day hospital stay took place weeks before the birth of Prince William and Kate‘s third child, Prince Louis Arthur, and the marriage of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle on May 19, 2018 in St. George’s.
In January 2019, Philip was uninjured after being involved in a collision while driving a Land Rover near the Queen’s Sandringham Estate at the age of 97. The vehicle overturnedAccording to witnesses, two women were treated for injuries. Weeks later, he decided to do it hand in his driver’s license.
During the coronavirus pandemic, Philip and Elizabeth lived at Windsor Castle, west of London.
The Duke of Edinburgh supported his wife in an unprecedented time of social, economic, technological, political change and family crises.
Fourteen Prime Ministers held their offices, while Philip was British consort – companion of the sovereign – from Winston Churchill to Johnson in 1952.
Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh wave from the balcony of Buckingham Palace during the Queen’s coronation celebrations on June 2, 1953.
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Both the Duke and Queen, the world’s longest reigning monarch, saw the transformation of a once global British Empire into a Commonwealth of 52 independent member states, a free association under the Queen’s direction.
Philip’s public statements had been rare in recent years, and his direct contact with the media was even rarer. Previously, the Duke was known to express his opinion in public engagements, often with terrifying remarks that went beyond the boundaries of humor.
For example, during the 1981 recession, he said: “Everyone said we should have more free time. Now they are complaining that they are unemployed.”
“Aren’t most of you descended from pirates?” Philip asked a wealthy Cayman Islands resident in 1994.
“You are too fat to be an astronaut,” he said in 2001 to a 13-year-old boy.
When Philip met with a mayor in 2012 who was using a mobility scooter, he asked him: “Did you run over someone?”
Philip was born on June 10, 1921 on the Greek island of Corfu as the youngest child and only son of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice von Battenberg. Andrew, whose father, King George I of Greece, was murdered in 1913, was the commander of the Greek army during the war with Turkey from 1919 to 1922. After the defeat of Greece, Andrew and the family were exiled in 1922 and settled in France.
Philip’s maternal grandfather, Prince Ludwig von Battenberg, renounced his German title, took the surname Mountbatten, an Anglicized version of the German Battenberg, and became a British citizen.
At the age of 7 in 1928, Philip was sent to school in England. He lived with his maternal grandmother, Victoria Mountbatten, and his uncle, George Mountbatten.
Philip’s four sisters married German aristocrats, and three of them – Sophie, Cecilie and Margarita – joined the NSDAP. Of course, one of his brother-in-law was among those involved in the 1944 conspiracy to kill Adolf Hitler.
Published in an interview with historian Jonathan Petropoulos in his 2006 book “Royals and the Empire” Philip stressed that he was never “aware that anyone in the family was actually expressing anti-Semitic views,” but he did admit that there were “inhibitions against the Jews” and “jealousy of their success”.
Philip Mountbatten saluted his marriage to Princess Elizabeth when he resumed attending the Royal Naval Officers School at Kingsmoor, Hawthorn, England on July 31, 1947.
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As a teenager, Philip joined the Royal Navy and served in World War II, including participating in the battles of Cape Matapan and Crete and the invasion of Sicily. He was in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945 because of the Japanese surrender and later received the Greek War Cross of Valor for his service in the Navy.
In 1947, 26-year-old Philip married his third cousin, Princess Elizabeth, 21, renouncing his Greek title in order to become a naturalized British subject. He was later made Duke of Edinburgh by Elizabeth’s father, King George VI.
The royal marriage was controversial at the time as Philip was not a native son. The Queen Mother is said to have called him “the Hun”. Even so, the couple married at Westminster Abbey and received more than 2,500 wedding favors from around the world. A year later, the son and heir to the throne, Charles, was born, followed by Anne, Andrew and Edward.
Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, waved to a crowd from the balcony of Buckingham Palace in London shortly after their wedding at Westminster Abbey.
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Philip’s maritime career, during which the newly married couple were briefly stationed in Malta, later ended when George VI died on February 6, 1952 and Princess Elizabeth became Queen.
The Duke assumed his new role as wife and accompanied Her Majesty on domestic trips, state visits and Commonwealth tours around the world.
Elizabeth was officially crowned Queen in the first live televised coronation broadcast worldwide in 1953. Shortly thereafter, Philip and Elizabeth embarked on a seven-month international tour, visiting 13 countries and covering over 40,000 miles.
In addition to his royal obligations, the Duke became a qualified pilot and played polo regularly until his 50th birthday. Philip achieved many flight qualifications that earned him his Royal Air Force wings in 1953, his helicopter wings two years later, and his private pilot’s license in 1959.
Prince Philip was presented with his army wings in flying overalls by Brigadier Colin Kennedy, Commandant of the Army Air Corps Center, during the Duke’s visit.
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In an official capacity, Philip has traveled to more than 140 countries.
“The great thing about my dad is that nobody ever forgot to meet him, so they all have their stories.” Prince Edwardsaid the Earl of Wessex during an engagement at Windsor Castle in May 2017.
“Wherever he’s been, wherever in the world – people remember him. You can’t really get a better award,” he added.
The reign of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip also had to survive times of crisis, including the fact that the British monarch was fired with spaces in 1981. Two years earlier, the Queen’s art advisor, Anthony Blunt, was exposed as a communist spy and Philip’s uncle Louis “Dickie” Lord Mountbatten was killed by an Irish Republican Army bomb.
In 1992 the marriages of three of her children broke down. Andrew and Anne divorced their spouses and Charles and Diana began a breakup that ended in divorce four years later. Also in 1992, Windsor Castle, one of the couple’s official residences, was destroyed by fire. The Queen described this 12 month period as “annus horribilis”.
Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, Prince Charles and Princess Diana at Buckingham Palace for Trooping the Color. Up front are Prince Harry and Prince William.
Tim Graham | Getty Images
During Charles and Diana’s troubles, Philip reportedly advised the couple to reconcile, but to no avail. A year after their 1996 divorce, Diana and her boyfriend Dodi Fayed were killed in a car accident in Paris while photographers chased their limousine. Before the funeral, Philip successfully encouraged his 15-year-old grandson William to walk behind Diana’s coffin. Sixty years earlier, Philip, then 16, marched behind his sister Cecilie’s coffin after she was killed in a plane crash.
“If you don’t go, you will probably regret it later,” Philip told William, according to British media reports. “If I go, will you go with me?”
Fayed’s father claimed Philip ordered the couple to be executed, but in 2008 A London medical examiner dismissed Mohamed al Fayed’s allegations of conspiracyThere was no such evidence. The jury ultimately decided that the crash was due to grossly negligent driving of the couple’s chauffeur and paparazzi chasing their limousine.
Queen Elizabeth II sits with Prince Philip as she delivers her speech during the Opening Ceremony of Parliament at the House of Lords in Westminster on June 4, 2014 in London.
In the decades following his marriage to the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh had made more than 22,000 individual engagements and 637 visits abroad, delivered an estimated 5,493 speeches, and served as patron of nearly 800 organizations royal website.
One of his most successful associations has arguably been the creation of the Duke of Edinburgh Award, a youth self-improvement program that has been running for 65 years.
In May 2017, the palace announced that the then 95-year-old prince would finally cease his royal duties from autumn. Philip and his wife had gradually passed on some of their respective workloads over the past few years. Their son and heir, Prince Charles, as well as grandchildren, Princes William and Harry and other family members, assumed more collective responsibility until Andrew was effectively stripped of royal duties in 2019 for being linked to late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and Harry back as a senior Royal in 2020.
The Queen said in honor of her husband on their golden wedding anniversary on November 20, 1997: “Quite simply, he was my strength and stayed all these years and I and his whole family in this and many other countries owe him a debt that is greater is than he would ever ask, or we will ever know. “
The couple celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in November 2017. During their private celebration at Windsor Castle, Elizabeth presented this to him Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order for “services for the sovereign”.
Survivors include his wife, Queen Elizabeth II, and their children: Charles, Prince of Wales; Anne, Princess Royal;; prince Andrew, Duke of York;; and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex. The Queen and Philip also had eight grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren, including Augustus Philip Hawke Brooksbank, who was born on February 9, 2021 to Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank and was named in part in honor of the Duke of Edinburgh.
Philip had insisted he didn’t want the “excitement” of a state funeral at Westminster Hall The Times of London. Instead, his body is expected to be in St. James’s Palace, where Prince Diana’s body lay prior to her burial.
Britain’s Prince Philip, in his role as Captain General of the Royal Marines, takes part in a parade to mark the final of the 1,664 mile Global Challenge run in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace in central London on August 2, 2017. The 100-day run trek recognizes the year the Royal Marines were founded.
Yui Mok | Reuters
– CNBC’s Marty Steinberg is based in New Jersey.