Seven decades of partnership comes to an end, Prince Philip of Britain passes away
LONDON (UK) – Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth’s husband, who has been a prominent figure in the British royal family for almost seven decades, passed away at the age of 99, Buckingham Palace said on Friday.
The palace said in a statement, “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.”
Known as The Duke of Edinburgh, he has been a constant presence, step-by-step with Queen Elizabeth, throughout her 69-year reign, making his own integral place in the pages of British history.
Philip, who was a Greek Prince, had a sturdy career in the Navy, until calling it quits, after Queen Elizabeth assumed her position in 1952, as the matriarch of the royal family, upholding the belief system that it stood for.
He married Elizabeth in 1947, and played a key role in leading the monarchy on the path to modernisation, in the post-World War Two period.
Elizabeth said in a personal tribute to Philip, during the auspicious occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary in 1997, she said, “He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years.”
“I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know.”
Until his retirement from public life, at the age of 95, in 2017, he had an active presence, with regard to matters of the monarchy, for providing the monarch his valuable counsel. He was someone, who was also confided in, by the Queen and had considerable influence in the decisions that were taken by the royalty.
He made his presence felt next, during the pompous wedding of his grandson Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, 2018. His death happens at a time when the Britons and the Royals, shrouded in an atmosphere of unease, a few days after the much awaited interview of Harry and Meghan with talk show host Oprah Winfrey. Almost at the same time, news about his treatment and being in hospital continued to garner attention, as his recovery indicated that a stand would be taken by the Queen, with regard to interview, which were laden with a few racist allegations by the Harry and Meghan.
After having hospitalised for at least four weeks, citing issues of infection and a heart procedure, he was brought back to Windsor in March. Philip died a few months before he would have turned 100, in June.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, “Like the expert carriage driver that he was, 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.”
In what is seen as his last public appearance, Philip was at a military ceremony at Windsor Castle, where he and the monarch have resided during COVID-19 lockdowns, in June last year.
The Queen and Prince Philip have four children, Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, Princess Anne, and Princes Andrew and Edward.
One is reminded of his speech in 1997, wherein he spoke about their seven decades of marriage, “The main lesson that we have learned is that tolerance is the one essential ingredient of any happy marriage.”
“It may not be quite so important when things are going well, but it is absolutely vital when things get difficult. You can take it from me that the queen has the quality of tolerance in abundance.”
Both the Prince and the Queen had taken vaccinations against COVID-19 in January.