Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and husband to Queen Elizabeth II, has died. He was 99.
Buckingham Palace confirmed the death of the prince, who was married to the Queen for 73 years, on Friday afternoon local time. “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.”
The statement has been placed on the gates of Buckingham Palace in London. Meanwhile, the royal family’s official website, Royal.uk, is currently a memorial page for the prince and “temporarily unavailable while appropriate changes are made.” Prince Philip’s death, just two months ahead of his 100th birthday, comes a day after he featured prominently in ITV documentary “The Unseen Queen” — featuring rarely seen archive of the royal couple and their children in their early years — which aired on Thursday night to an audience of 2.4 million.
Prince Philip was in ill health before his death, having been admitted to hospital in February and later undergoing a procedure for a pre-existing heart condition. He left hospital and returned to Windsor Castle in March. The prince’s last public appearance was in July 2020 when he transferred his ceremonial role as colonel-in-chief of The Rifles to his daughter-in-law Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
In December 2019, the prince spent four days in hospital for observation and to treat an unspecified pre-existing condition.
Famously frank and sometimes controversial in his pointed — and occasionally offensive — remarks, Prince Philip leaves a “two-dimensional” legacy in the U.K., according to BBC royal correspondent Jonny Drymond, who notes that most will remember the royal consort as “salt-tongued and short-tempered, a man who told off-colour jokes and made politically incorrect remarks.” Nonetheless, he is also described as an “extraordinary man who lived an extraordinary life.”
Born in Corfu, Greece, on June 10, 1921, to Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg, Prince Philip’s family was later exiled from the country when he was an infant. After being educated in France and Germany, he joined the British Royal Navy in 1939. Before marrying Queen Elizabeth in 1947, he abandoned his Greek and Danish royal titles, becoming a naturalized British subject, and was created Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich, before the wedding in Westminster Abbey.
His many portrayals on film and television include “The Crown,” in which he has been played by Matt Smith and most recently Tobias Menzies. In season 5 of the hit show, which will premiere next year, “Game of Thrones” actor Jonathan Pryce will play the royal. American actor James Cromwell also played the prince in the film “The Queen.”
Prince Philip was a patron of several organizations focused on the environment, sports and education. His first solo engagement as Duke of Edinburgh was presenting prizes at the boxing finals of the London Federation of Boys’ Clubs at the Royal Albert Hall. He also authored several books on horsemanship and the environment.
He retired from his royal duties in August 2017 at age 96.
The prince was involved in a car crash in January 2019 as he pulled out onto a main road near the Sandringham Estate, but the official statement said he was uninjured. He is survived by his four children, Charles, Prince of Wales; Prince Andrew, Duke of York; Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex; and Anne, Princess Royal.