Queen Elizabeth II loses husband Prince Philip
The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, who served as consort to his wife Queen Elizabeth II for more than 60 years, has died at the age of 99.
Prince Philip, whom the Queen described as her “strength and stay” during her record-breaking reign, passed away at Windsor Castle on Friday.
“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,” the palace said in a statement. The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.
“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 duke had suffered failing health in recent years, and retired from royal duties in 2017.
The Duke was last seen in public on March 16 as he left the private King Edward VII hospital, where he had been recuperating following heart surgery at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, a leading cardiac unit.
A statement from Buckingham Palace at the time of his admission said he had been sent to hospital on the advice of his doctor after feeling unwell.
A week later the Palace said he was battling an “infection” and would be staying in hospital.
However the royal family continued to give an upbeat assessment of his health, with his youngest son Prince Edward saying he was “a lot better” and was “looking forward to getting out”.
He had been admitted to the hospital on Feb 16 for “rest and observation” after feeling unwell.
But that stay was extended and the palace later revealed he was being treated for an infection. After 13 nights, he was transferred to St Bartholomew’s for specialist cardiac treatment. Royal aides revealed that on March 3, he underwent “a successful procedure for a pre-existing heart condition”.
He was carefully shielded as he left the King Edward VII hospital in a wheelchair and was helped into a car for the 27-mile trip back to Windsor Castle, where he was reunited with the Queen following 28 nights as an in-patient, his longest ever hospital stay.
Previously, the Duke was last seen in public in July 2020, when, despite his advanced years, he briefly returned to royal duties to hand over his role as Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles.
The Duke left strict isolation at Windsor Castle to be honoured by one of his oldest military ties after 67 years of service, accepting thanks and touching good wishes of “fair winds and following seas”.
He was also pictured at Princess Beatrice’s wedding that month, and photographed alongside the Queen for his 99th birthday in June.
Last November marked the release of the last official photograph, when the Duke was pictured sitting alongside the Queen at Windsor Castle as they admired a homemade card made by their great grandchildren Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, ahead of their 73rd wedding anniversary.
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. pic.twitter.com/XOIDQqlFPn
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) April 9, 2021
A royal ceremonial funeral with full military honours had been expected to take place in 10 days’ time, although coronavirus restrictions will now alter some of those arrangements.
No further details have yet been released about the funeral, codenamed Operation Forth Bridge by the Royal Household, as the final say about the nature of the ceremony rests with the Queen.
However, Palace insiders have said the Duke specified he wanted a “low key” funeral at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, where he will also be interred.
The Duke’s body is expected to be taken to the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace in London, where it will lie until the day of the funeral. From there it will be taken by road to Windsor Castle.