His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, husband to Queen Elizabeth II, died at the age of 99 on Friday, April 9, 2021.
“It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen has announced the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh,” Buckingham Palace shared on Twitter and on the official royal website.
The post added, “His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle. The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.”
No specific cause of death was given.
At 99 years old, the duke had been hospitalized several times throughout recent years for various illnesses, but his most recent stay was his longest. Philip was admitted to the private King Edward VII hospital on February 16 after feeling under the weather and ended up spending a month there, Reuters reported. He was given treatment for an unspecified illness, but Buckingham Palace noted it was not related to COVID-19.
During the extended hospital stay, he was treated for an infection, Buckingham Palace later revealed. Nearly two weeks into his stay, the duke was transferred to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital for cardiac treatment for a pre-existing heart condition, according to the Telegraph.
Philip was last seen in public leaving the King Edward VII hospital in a wheelchair on March 16. He eventually returned home to Queen Elizabeth II in Windsor Castle after a total of 28 nights in the hospital. The stay marked his longest time at a hospital, per the Telegraph.
At the time, Philip’s eldest son and heir to the throne, Prince Charles, initially seemed optimistic about his father’s return home. “I am thrilled about it,” Prince Charles said, per Reuters.
“Buckingham Palace also issued a statement in which the Duke thanked the medical staff and all those who had sent their good wishes,” Reuters reported, adding that “a royal source said the prince was in good spirits.”
The Queen Called Her Husband Her ‘Strength & Stay’
Prince Philip married then-Princess Elizabeth in 1947 when he was 26-years-old. Five years later, Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth II. The duke was the longest-serving consort, or spouse, to a monarch in British history. The two had a total of four children, eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
They first welcomed Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales and heir to the throne, in 1948. Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, was born in 1950; Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, was born in 1960; and Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, was the youngest child, born in 1964.
The duke played a significant role in Buckingham Palace. The queen described her beloved husband as her “strength and stay” during her reign, per Time.
Prince Philip stepped back from his official royal duties in August 2017. Buckingham Palace released a statement five months prior stating that although he no longer has required engagements, he is still free to attend any events he would like.
Prince Philip valued his time in the military and continued to honor it. In July 2020, the Duke broke his isolation time at Windsor Castle to hand over his role as Colonel-in-Chief of the Rifles, per the Telegraph. He was honored for his 67 years of service.
The UK Is Mourning His Death
Being a stable figure at Buckingham Palace for nearly 75 years, Philip was one face of the Crown. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke at Downing Street after the prince’s death, noting he “inspired the lives of countless young people.”
Johnson added, “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. … Prince Philip earned the affection of generations here in the United Kingdom, across the Commonwealth, and around the world.”
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also chimed in, tweeting, “I am saddened by news that the Duke of Edinburgh has died. I send my personal and deepest condolences – and those of @scotgov and the people of Scotland – to Her Majesty The Queen and her family.”
Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, also shared his condolences, writing on Twitter, “He consistently put the interests of others ahead of his own and, in so doing, provided an outstanding example of Christian service. … As we recover and rebuild after the terrible trial of the coronavirus pandemic, we will need fortitude and a deep sense of commitment to serving others.”
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