Prince Philip: Crowds gather at Buckingham Palace after death
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Buckingham Palace announced the sad news today that Prince Philip has died aged 99. A statement from the Palace said: “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. “His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.” He had returned from hospital to Windsor Castle in March after spending nearly a month in hospital, where he underwent a heart procedure.
The Duke was married to Queen Elizabeth II for more than 70 years and became the longest-serving consort in British history.
Philip had become an iconic staple of the Royal Family thanks to his many years of service and his loving relationship with the Queen.
He was a supportive presence for Her Majesty, epitomised by their first trip after the Queen’s Coronation in 1953.
The pair toured the Commonwealth, taking the royals away from their children for six months.
As highlighted in last night’s ITV’s documentary ‘The Queen Unseen’, Philip provided vital support as the long days “took their toll”.
While in New Zealand, the Queen was said to have found many of the visits “boring, boring, boring”.
However, Philip “rescued” her from this boredom.
As they attended one event where sheep were being sheared, Philip became an “invaluable source of support”.
Professor Jane Ridley, royal biographer, said: “Philip. looking at the sheep being sheared with a broad smile across his face, was obviously thinking there was a great joke going on.
“Philip has come to rescue her, when he’s seen her looking rather bored and not taking part in the conversation.
“And then you can see her looking at Philip. She looks adoringly at him actually. He’s her pillar, he’s her rock.
“Philip was able to break the ice.”
The Queen showed her gratitude for Philip’s support throughout the years with a touching tribute.
While celebrating their 50 years of marriage in 1997, she lauded Philip: “He is 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.”
Tributes have already started to fly in for the late royal.
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Speaking from Downing Street today, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “He [Philip] was an environmentalist, and 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.
“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.”
Labour leader Keir Starmer also said today: “The United Kingdom has lost an extraordinary public servant in Prince Philip.
“Prince Philip dedicated his life to our country – from a distinguished career in the Royal Navy during World War 2 to his decades of service as the Duke of Edinburgh.
“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.”
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