Boris Johnson Has Paid Tribute To The "Extraordinary Life" Of The Duke of Edinburgh, Who Has Died Aged 99
The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip
The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, has died aged 99.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has paid tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh following the announcement of his death at the age of 99.
Johnson noted the Duke's "steadfast support" the Queen.
"Not just as her consort by her side every day of her reign. But as her husband as 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 the devoted husband and a proud and loving father, grandfather."
Paying tribute to his military career, the Prime Minister, said: "One of the last surviving people in this country to have served in the second world war at Cape Matapan, where he was mentioned in despatches for bravery and in the invasion of Sicily, where he saved his ship by his quick thinking and from that conflict he took an ethic of service that he applied throughout the unprecedented changes of the post war era.
"Like the expert carriage driver that he was he helped to steer the royal family and the monarchy so that it remains an institution indisputably vital to the balance and happiness of our national life."
Referencing his enviromental work, Johnson said Prince Philip was a "champion of the natural world long before it was fashionable.
"With his Duke of Edinburgh awards 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."
He added: "Her Majesty said that our country owed her husband, a greater debt than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know. And I'm sure that estimate is correct. So we mourn today with Her Majesty the Queen.
"We offer our condolences to her and to all her family, and we give thanks, as a nation, and the Kingdom for the extraordinary life and work of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh."
In a statement confirming the news, Buckingham Palace said: “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.”
Flags on official buildings in Britain, including 10 Downing Street, have been lowered to half-mast as a period of mourning was announced.
Tributes from across the political spectrum have poured in since the announcement, with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer saying the UK had lost an "extraordinary public servant".
“Prince Philip dedicated his life to our country - from a distinguished career in the Royal Navy during the Second World War to his decades of service as the Duke of Edinburgh," he said.
“However, he will be remembered most of all for his extraordinary commitment and devotion to The Queen.
“For more than seven decades, he has been at her side. Their marriage has been a symbol of strength, stability and hope, even as the world around them changed - most recently during the pandemic. It was a partnership that inspired millions in Britain and beyond.
He added: “My thoughts are with The Queen, the Royal Family and the British people as our nation comes together to mourn and remember the life of Prince Philip.”
Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said: "I am saddened by news that the Duke of Edinburgh has died. I send my personal and deepest condolences – and those of [the Scottish Government] and the people of Scotland – to Her Majesty The Queen and her family."
Wales' First Minister Mark Drakeford said Prince Philip had served with "selfless devotion".
"Incredibly sad to hear of the passing of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh," he said.
"He served the crown with selfless devotion and will be sorely missed by the people of Wales and the many organisations he supported.
"My condolences to Her Majesty the Queen and the family during this sad time."
Meanwhile, Northern Ireland's First Minister Arlene Foster paid tribute to his work with the Duke of Edinburgh award, and said he had a "strong interest in Northern Ireland".
She said: "As First Minister of Northern Ireland and Democratic Unionist Party Leader, I offer my deepest sympathies to Her Majesty The Queen and to all members of the Royal Family at this sad time."
The Duke had been admitted to hospital 16 February as a "precautionary measure". Buckingham Palace later revealed his hospital stay was not related to coronavirus but said he was being treated for an "infection".
He later underwent a successful operation for a pre-existing heart condition at St Bartholomew’s hospital in London before being discharged and returning to Windsor Castle on 16 March.
In January, Buckingham Palace announced that Prince Philip and the Queen had received their first Covid-19 vaccinations from a household doctor at Windsor Castle.
In 2016, then 96-years-old, Prince Philip announced he was retiring from royal duties, having completed 22,219 solo engagements since 1952.
But the duke had continued to attend some events since retiring, with his final in-person appearance taking place on 22 July 2020 when he handed over his patronage of The Rifles to the Duchess of Cornwall.
Born in Greece in 1921, he was exiled from the country as a young child before joining the British Royal Navy in 1939.
He married Queen Elizabeth at Westminster Abbey on 20 November 1947. The couple, whose marriage is the longest of any British sovereign, celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary in November 2020.
In a speech marking their Golden Wedding Anniversary in 1997, the Queen described her husband as "someone who doesn't take easily to compliments but he has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know".
In December 2019, the duke was admitted to the King Edward VII hospital for treatment for a "pre-existing condition". He was discharged on Christmas Eve after a four night stay before travelling to Sandringham for Christmas.
He had received medical treatment for other health conditions during the last decade, including exploratory surgery on his abdomen in 2013 and a procedure for a blocked coronary artery in 2011.