Britain’s Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, has died at 99

Britain’s Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, has died on the age of 99 after seven many years on the coronary heart of public life as consort to Queen Elizabeth II.

“It’s with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen broadcasts the loss of life of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh,” Buckingham Palace stated in an announcement.

“His Royal Highness handed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Fortress.”

A charismatic determine famed for his deep sense of public responsibility, Prince Philip was the longest-serving consort of any British monarch after his marriage to Her Majesty in 1947 and her accession to the throne in 1952.

Philip was seen as an embodiment of British tradition. However as with many nineteenth- and twentieth-century British royals, his household origins have been a largely continental combine.

He was born on the Greek island of Corfu on June 10, 1921 to Andrew, Prince of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenburg, a royal from the traditional German principality of Hesse and a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria.

A battle hero of continental origins

Philip thought of himself Danish in the beginning – but in addition confirmed satisfaction in his Russian in addition to German and Greek roots. As a descendant of the Romanov dynasty, Philip gave in 1993 a DNA pattern that recognized the our bodies of Tsar Nicholas II, his spouse and 5 kids in an unmarked Siberian grave – dispelling the legend that the younger Grand Duchess Anastasia had escaped the Bolshevik firing squad within the 1917 Russian Revolution.

Philip’s household left Greece as a child when the royal household was exiled in 1922, as his uncle King Constantine I used to be blamed for the nation’s defeat within the Greco-Turkish Battle. He was then educated in France and Germany. “For those who couldn’t consider a phrase in a single language, you tended to go off in one other,” he later advised The Unbiased of his polyglot household life.

He was at boarding faculty in Germany when Adolf Hitler took energy in 1933. The college’s Jewish headmaster fled to the UK, the place he based the boarding faculty Gordonstoun in Scotland. The younger Philip went with him.

On the recommendation of his uncle, Greece’s King George II, Philip pursued his coaching within the Royal Navy upon leaving Gordonstoun in 1939, because the spectre of Nazism menaced Europe. He served with bravery all through the Second World Battle – principally within the Mediterranean theatre, the place he was recommended for his position alongside Greek forces within the 1941 Battle of Crete.

However Philip’s biggest second of the battle got here in the course of the 1943 Allied invasion of Sicily, a yr after he was made first lieutenant of HMS Wallace. A Luftwaffe bombing marketing campaign mercilessly attacked the ship, decided to destroy it, till Philip hatched a plan to set off smoke flares, fooling the German bombers into pondering that they had already sunken the boat. With out Philip’s actions, these aboard would have had “little likelihood of survival”, one veteran recounted sixty years later.

Through the battle Philip corresponded with the then Princess Elizabeth. They’d met in 1939 when he escorted the longer term Queen and her sister Margaret throughout their father King George VI’s go to to the Royal Naval School, the place Philip was coaching. The 13-year-old Elizabeth fell in love with 18-year-old Philip and determined she wished to marry him.

They have been married in Westminster Abbey in 1947, months after Philip renounced his Greek and Danish royal titles and have become a British topic. On the morning of the marriage, George VI made him Duke of Edinburgh.

Philip continued his naval profession, spending a yr accountable for the frigate HMS Magpie – once more within the Mediterranean, the place a lot of the Royal Navy was stationed to discourage the growth of communism – till his profession at sea led to 1951. With George VI’s well being failing, the Duke turned a full-time consort to the longer term Queen.

On this June 19, 1962 file picture, Britain’s Prince Philip and his spouse Queen Elizabeth II arrive at Royal Ascot race assembly, England. Buckingham Palace says Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, has died aged 99. © AP Photograph/File

‘Will you stroll with me?’

On February 6, 1952, George VI died and Her Majesty ascended to the throne. Philip turned famend for his dedication to public service, finishing greater than 22,000 solo engagements over 65 years till retiring from public responsibility in 2017 on the age of 96.

The Duke was both president or patron of some 780 charities and organisations that promoted causes corresponding to environmental conservation, science and know-how and participation in sport.

He performed an instrumental position in founding the World Wildlife Fund in 1961, serving as the primary president of its UK department, then serving as president of the worldwide organisation from 1981 to 1996 – utilizing the pomp and circumstance of British royalty to assist make the WWF an influential environmentalist pressure throughout the globe.

Philip’s most well-known charitable trigger within the UK was the Duke of Edinburgh Award, a programme for younger folks he arrange in Britain in 1956 earlier than increasing to 144 nations. It stays well-liked: Greater than 400,000 younger Britons are at the moment finishing their DoE, as it’s generally recognized. The award develops folks’s expertise and boosts their well-being by means of necessities together with rigorous coaching in sport or health, volunteering for charitable causes and – most famously – the planning and endeavor of a difficult expedition over pure terrain.

The Duke was additionally recognized for his gaffes. At his spouse’s coronation with one of many Crown Jewels the yr after her ascension to the throne, he requested Her Majesty: “The place did you get that hat?” To a gaggle of younger deaf folks standing subsequent to a really loud metal band in Cardiff in 1999, he stated: “For those who’re close to there, no surprise you’re deaf.” In 2002, when Her Majesty requested a younger military cadet blinded by an Irish nationalist bomb how a lot he may see, the Duke stated: “Not loads, judging by that tie.”

When a member of the general public advised Philip, “I’m sorry to listen to you’re standing down” after his retirement was introduced, the then 96-year-old responded: “Properly, I can’t rise up for for much longer.”

However Philip famously deployed his softer aspect within the aftermath of Princess Diana’s loss of life in 1997, some of the tough weeks of Her Majesty’s reign. The 15-year-old Prince William, who had grown very near Philip throughout household holidays, was reluctant to stroll behind the coffin on the state funeral, eager to mourn his mom as privately as attainable. However the Duke persuaded him: “For those who don’t stroll, I feel you’ll remorse it later. If I stroll, will you stroll with me?” he stated.

Just a few months later, at an occasion to mark their Golden Wedding ceremony anniversary, the Queen paid tribute to Prince Philip: “He’s somebody who does not take simply to compliments however he has, fairly merely, been my power and keep all these years.” She echoed this upon her Diamond Jubilee in 2012, describing him as a supply of “fixed power” all through the course of their marriage.

Philip gave Her Majesty this assist throughout her record-breaking reign as an unchanging incarnation of the British nation – by means of dizzying change over a rare timespan. Britons see her as their biggest ever monarch.

Given Prince Philip’s position in supporting their Queen over greater than seven many years of marriage, his biographer Gyles Brandreth wrote, “the joint writer of that success has been the Duke of Edinburgh”.

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