The Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen’s husband for 73 years, has died aged 99.
A statement from Buckingham Palace on Friday said: “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 made in due course. The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.”
He was the longest serving consort in British history, and was only months away from his 100th birthday in June.
He had returned to Windsor Castle on 16 March to be reunited with the Queen after spending a month in hospital – his longest stay. He initially received care for an infection but then under went heart surgery for a pre-existing condition.
An official notice of his death was posted on the railings of Buckingham Palace, as is traditional, but was removed shortly afterwards to avoid crowds gathering.
Philip’s health had been slowly deteriorating for some time. He announced he was stepping down from royal engagements in May 2017,and had joked that he could no longer stand up.
Into his 90s, the Duke carried out a busy programme of public engagements, reflecting his own charitable interests.
He also travelled around the country supporting the Queen, both on state occasions and royal visits.
He was taken to hospital over Christmas in 2011 for treatment for a blocked artery.
In 2012 he was admitted to hospital during the Queen's Diamond Jubilee with a bladder infection, and in 2013 had an exploratory operation on his abdomen.
He celebrated his 99th birthday in lockdown at Windsor Castle. He spent much of the Covid-19 crisis staying with the Queen at Windsor in HMS Bubble – the nickname given to the royal couple’s reduced household of devoted staff during lockdown.
The duke spent four nights at King Edward VII hospital in London before Christmas 2019 for observation and treatment in relation to a “pre-existing condition”.
Born on the island of Corfu, Prince Philip, who once described himself as “a discredited Balkan prince of no particular merit or distinction”, played a key role in the development of the modern monarchy in Britain.
At the age of 18, the prince joined the Royal Navy as a cadet.
He saw active service during the Second World War, serving in the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean, and was mentioned in despatches for his bravery.
In 1947 he renounced his Greek and Danish royal titles, took on the surname of Mountbatten and became a naturalised British subject ahead of his marriage to Princess Elizabeth.
Distantly related to the Queen – they were third cousins – their paths crossed several times before he became a serious suitor in 1946, though she was said to have fallen in love with him when she was 13.
A highly ambitious and complex man, he faced many obstacles in the early days of marriage at the palace. With no money and no title, the establishment thought him a little “below the salt”. George VI was dismayed his daughter wanted to marry the first man she had met and thought her too young. Queen Elizabeth, later the Queen Mother, and never knowingly subtle, mischievously referred to him as “the Hun”, a reference to his mixed Danish, Russian and German heritage. Her brother, David Bowes-Lyon, dismissed him as “a German”.
Their wedding was the first great state occasion after the end of the Second World War.
Though never officially given the title of prince consort, he lived a life of relentless royal duty
His commitment to the Queen was unfaltering. He gave up his career in the Navy in order to support her in her role as monarch.
The Queen has described Prince Philip as her "constant strength and stay".
He considered himself a moderniser within the British monarchy, orchestrating the first royal walkabout.
Often blunt and outspoken to the point of offensiveness, he claimed to have coined the word “dontopedalogy”: a talent for putting one’s foot in one’s mouth. Prone to bad-tempered outbursts, he never suffered fools gladly. Equally, he could be charming, engaging and witty – and displayed such genuine curiosity on his official visits that his hosts were flattered.
Prince Philip's concern for young people inspired him to create the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme, and he supported more than 800 charities and good causes - focusing on his interests in wildlife conservation, technology and sport.
The Queen and the duke had four children - Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward - and he was a much loved grandfather and great-grandfather.
The coronavirus pandemic will have a major impact on the carefully laid plans for the duke’s funeral. With restrictions still in place as a result of covid restrictions, the public elements of the final farewell will not be able to take place in their original form.
The Queen will sign off the final plans in the coming days.