Prince Philip dies in Windsor Castle aged 99

Prince Philip, the Queen’s husband of more than seven decades and a towering figure in British public life, has died. He was 99.

The Duke of Edinburgh died at Windsor Castle, a little over three weeks after he was discharged from a London hospital for treatment for an infection and to have a heart procedure.

The cause of his death has not been disclosed.

A former naval officer renowned for his sometimes brusque manner and humour, the duke married into the royal family in 1947, five years before the Queen ascended to the throne. He was the longest-serving consort of any British monarch.

In a statement, Buckingham Palace said: “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty the Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.”

“His Royal Highness passes away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle. The royal family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.“

The statement said “further announcements” will be made in “due course”.

The royal family was preparing to celebrate his 100th birthday on June 10.

He is survived by the Queen and their children Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward. He had eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

In a statement, Australian Governor-General David Hurley described Philip’s death as a “sad and historic day”.

“As we mourn, we should also reflect and give thanks for His Royal Highness’ lifetime of service, devotion and commitment,” Hurley said.

“His Royal Highness visited Australia 21 times over the years, including on each of Her Majesty’s state visits. He was a popular, engaged and welcome visitor to our shores.

“Many Australians will have a personal memory of His Royal Highness and many around the world will, in coming days, reflect on his remarkable life and legacy.

“As we reflect and remember, we think especially of Her Majesty the Queen and the royal family, who have lost a beloved husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.

“On behalf of the Australian people, I extend our deepest condolences to Her Majesty and family, the people of the Commonwealth and to all those who share in this sad news.

“May he rest in peace.”

Hurley phoned Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday evening local-time to tell him the news. Morrison then told Senate President Scott Ryan, Speaker Tony Smith, cabinet members, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese and former prime ministers Paul Keating, John Howard, Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull.

Philip was admitted to hospital on February 17 after becoming unwell at Windsor Castle, where he and the Queen have been shielding during the coronavirus pandemic.

Palace officials said at the time that the duke was able to walk into the hospital and was admitted out of an abundance of caution.

He was discharged on March 16 after a four-week stay which included a heart procedure and treatment for an unnamed infection, which was not related to coronavirus.

He was taken to a waiting car in a wheelchair and returned to Windsor Castle, the royal residence west of London, waving to those outside as he arrived.

2017, was last seen in public at the castle in July 2020. He was also photographed with the Queen in November last year to mark the couple’s 73rd wedding anniversary.

His death triggers a commemoration and funeral operation code-named Forth Bridge, which complies with the late duke’s request for minimal “fuss”.

The plans were altered over recent months to adapt to the pandemic.

The funeral will likely be staged within eight days. The day before the funeral the duke will be transported to St George’s Chapel.

It is possible that he will be temporarily placed in the Royal Vault under the Chapel, and will eventually join the Queen in the George VI Memorial Chapel after her death.

During a visit to the Runnymede Air Forces Memorial earlier this month to mark the 100th anniversary of the Royal Australian Air Force, the Queen told Australia’s high commissioner George Brandis that she has been contemplating centenaries given Philip’s impending 100th birthday in June.


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