Prince Philip, husband and consort to Queen Elizabeth of Britain, has died at 99, Buckingham Palace announced today.
Shortly after midday, London time, Buckingham Palace stated on their website, “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. 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.”
Prince Philip, who married Elizabeth in 1947, five years before her coronation, was the longest-serving consort in British history. He had only recently returned to Windsor Castle on March 16 after spending a month in the hospital and undergoing a procedure for a pre-existing heart condition.
Prince Philip served as consort for 65 years, until retiring from public life in 2017. During his active years, he helped set a new course for the monarchy and championed environmental causes, science, and technology. He is credited with transitioning royal appearances from radio to television, and he helped found the Royal Academy of Engineering. He was the first president of the World Wildlife Fund, and he was involved in restoring both Windsor Castle and Westminster Abbey. He also established the Duke of Edinburgh Awards, “a series of challenges to encourage young people to take up adventures in the outdoors.”
Coronation Day, June 2, 1953
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Prince Philip "inspired the lives of countless young people,” and that "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."
Prince Philip was born on the Greek island of Corfu on June 10, 1921, to Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark, and Princess Alice, a daughter of Prince Louis of Battenberg and a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria.
Philip joined the Royal Navy at 18, graduating from the Britannia Royal Naval College as a top cadet. The military was a career path for the then-Greek prince. He was an exceptional officer and saw active duty from the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean, as well as participated in World War II.
Philip and Elizabeth met in 1934 at a family wedding. While Philip was away on active duty, they wrote letters. When he was in England, they would go out driving and go dancing at London nightclubs. They married at Westminster Abbey on November 20, 1947. Philip renounced his Greek royal title, becoming a British citizen, and was bestowed the title Duke of Edinburgh.
Before their wedding, Philip wrote to Elizabeth: "To have been spared in the war and seen victory, to have been given the chance to rest and to re-adjust myself, to have fallen in love completely and unreservedly, makes all one’s personal and even the world’s troubles seem small and petty."
Shortly after their wedding, Elizabeth wrote to her parents, “We behave as though we had belonged to each other for years.”
Philip remained a naval officer, commanding a battleship in Malta, until Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, died in 1952, and he became the queen’s consort, the title given to the official companion of the ruling monarch.
Philip explained in a 2011 interview why he gave up his naval career: ''Being married to the queen, it seemed to me, my first duty was to serve her in the best way I could.''
Queen Elizabeth has acknowledged his devotion, calling him her “strength and stay” in a 1997 speech on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary.
Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth had four children, eight grandchildren (including William and Harry), and 10 great-grandchildren.