Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II’s husband andthe longest serving consort in history, died at age 99, Buckingham Palace confirmed on Friday.
“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,” the announcement reads.
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, @theroyalfamily one of the last of his generation to have fought in World War II, overcame a difficult family life, lack of money, nationality and surname to marry Princess Elizabeth and stay by her side for 73 years. His job, as explained by The Guardian, was “first, second and last, never let the Queen down.”
Her “strength and stay,” the Queen called him.
At the thousands of engagements that the couple presided over during their seven decades together, Prince Philip would be seen, as protocol dictated, at the queen’s side or a few paces behind.
The most experienced plaque unveiler
Characterized through the years as brusque and easily exasperated, his disinclination to suffer fools became more familiar to the public at large thanks to his depiction in the popular television series, The Crown.
Self-described as “the world’s most experienced plaque unveiler,” he was recognized as a hard-working royal with one of the busiest programs of daily events. He stepped back in 2017 after undertaking 22,191 solo engagements and giving 5,493 speeches.
His last official engagement was July, 2020, when he passed his role of colonel-in-chief of The Rifles over to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, in a ceremony at Windsor.
Before the most recent spats between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and the British press, Prince Philip had maintained a difficult relationship with the press, which he described as “bloody reptiles.”
A lifetime of service
Philip and the queen met for the first time in 1939 when the then-13-year-old Princess Elizabeth made a royal visit to the Royal Naval College at Dartmouth where he was a cadet.
The 18-year-old Philip was among the officers charged with entertaining Elizabeth and her younger sister, Princess Margaret.
Prince Philip was born on the Greek island of Corfu on June 10, 1921, the son of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark, who was a younger son of King George I of the Hellenes.
Philip’s mother, Princess Alice, was a daughter of Lord Louis Mountbatten and a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria.
Philip once described himself as “a discredited Balkan prince of no particular merit or distinction.”
The royal marriage of Princess Elizabeth and the Greek Prince who became Duke of Edinburgh took place in 1947. She became queen five years later on the death of her father, King George VI, in 1952.
Prince Philip and the queen had four children, eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
Their first son, the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, was born in 1948, followed by his sister, the Princess Royal, Princess Anne, in 1950, the Duke of York, Prince Andrew, in 1960 and the Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward, in 1964.
His role in the monarchy
Generally found several steps behind the queen, he — who was never officially given the title of prince consort — lived a life of royal duty and played a key role in the development of the modern monarchy in Britain.
“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,” said Primer Minister Boris Johnson.
In March 2021, the Duke of Edinburgh had been released from hospital after a month-long stay for treatment. He had gone through a procedure for a pre-existing heart condition at another London hospital, St Bartholomew’s.