British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has expressed condolences over the passing of Prince Philip.
He has described the Duke of Edinburgh as a man who lived an extraordinary life. Prince Philip passed away this morning at Windsor Castle at the age of 99.
The Prince recently spent a month in hospital for heart-related surgery. Flags are flying at half mast in Britain. Johnson says Prince Philip was a devoted consort to Queen Elizabeth.
Prince Philip spent over seven decades by the Queen’s side after marrying in 1947.
A statement from The Royal Family says further announcements would be made in due course.
After earning the label as one of the hardest working royals, the Duke of of Edinburgh retired from official royal duties with the full support of the Queen in 2017. Spending a lifetime supporting The Queen, often a step or two behind her in public to observe protocol, they marked their 73rd wedding anniversary last November.
Mood in Buckingham Palace:
Born on the Greek Island of Corfu in 1921, Philip Mounbatten’s engagement to Princess Elizabeth, as she was then, was announced in 1947.
Philip had spent the Second World War serving in the Navy, where he was mentioned in dispatches for his bravery and quick thinking during fierce fighting.
Wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill described the royal wedding in November 1947 as a ‘flash of colour’ in a country struggling to rebuild after the horrors of war.
His Royal Highness, as he became known from then onwards, was forced to cut his naval career short with the worsening health of his father in law, King George VI.
It was whilst in Kenya, on a tour of the Commonwealth, that Prince Philip told his wife that the King had died, and she was now queen.
America’s reaction to the Duke’s death:
From the coronation in 1953 to when he retired from public duties in 2017, Prince Philip was never far from the Queen’s side.
But as a husband, and not a King, he was left to forge his own path.
His socialising in 1950s London raised eyebrows, and his blunt and sometimes insensitive comments when on royal visits, were front page news.
But his concern for the welfare of children and young adults became a driving force in his life.
The scheme that still bears his name helped build self confidence and create fun and friendships for young people from all walks of life.
“With his Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme, he shaped and inspired the lives of countless young people and at literally tens of thousands of events, he fostered their hopes and encouraged their ambitions. 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,” says Prime Minister Johnson.
The Duke of Edinburgh visited 143 countries in an official capacity, often on solo tours. Keen to modernise the monarchy, he had the ear of the longest reigning British monarch through some turbulent times. In later years his public role diminished, although palace insiders often said that his influence didn’t. – Additional reporting by SABC News’ UK Correspondent, John Bevir.