Prince Philip has died aged 99, Buckingham Palace announces

Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, has died aged 99, Buckingham Palace has announced.

A statement issued by the palace just after midday spoke of the Queen’s “deep sorrow” following his death at Windsor Castle on Friday morning.

The Duke of Edinburgh, the longest-serving royal consort in British history, was at the Queen’s side for more than her six decades of reign.

Boris Johnson said he “inspired the lives of countless young people”.

“It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband,” the palace said.

“The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.”

Speaking at Downing Street, the prime minister said that the duke had “earned the affection of generations here in the United Kingdom, across the Commonwealth, and around the world”.

Meanwhile, Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said he “consistently put the interests of others ahead of his own and, in so doing, provided an outstanding example of Christian service”.

The flag at Buckingham Palace was lowered to half-mast and a notice was posted on the gates following the announcement of the duke’s death.

People placed floral tributes outside the palace, while hundreds visited Windsor Castle to pay their respects.

However, the government urged the public not to gather or leave tributes at royal residences amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Royal Family has asked people to consider making a donation to a charity instead of leaving flowers in memory of the duke, and an online book of condolence has been launched on the official royal website for those who wish to send messages.

In further tribute to the duke, Westminster Abbey will toll its tenor bell once every 60 seconds, 99 times, from 18:00 BST on Friday evening.

The BBC’s royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell said it was “a moment of sadness” for the country and “most particularly, for the Queen losing her husband of 73 years – a bigger span of years than most of us can imagine”.

He said Prince Philip had made “a huge contribution to the success of the Queen’s reign”, describing the duke as “utterly loyal in his belief in the importance of the role that the Queen was fulfilling – and in his duty to support her”.

“It was the importance of the solidity of that relationship, of their marriage, that was so crucial to the success of her reign,” he added.

A bank of photographers and cameramen were lined up around the growing number of tributes at Buckingham Palace on Friday afternoon, said BBC News reporter Marie Jackson.

Rhea Varma, from Pimlico, pulled up to the gates on her bike to lay flowers and a note saying Rest in Peace Duke.

She said the news was “super sad”. To her, the duke was “the kind of stability that’s so old-fashioned it’s difficult to comprehend. He was a rock who brought integrity.”

Adam Wharton-Ward, 36, also arrived to leave lilies by the palace gates. He is visiting London from his home in France but was so moved by the news, he wanted to “rally round” for the Queen’s sake.

“It’s so sad. He’s been with her for 73 years. If it wasn’t for him who knows if she would have got through it,” he said.

The duke’s appeal, he added, was that he was “almost normal with his gaffes”.

“Now that normality has gone,” he said.

The prince married Princess Elizabeth in 1947, five years before she became Queen.

In March, the duke left King Edward VII’s hospital in central London after a month-long stay for treatment.

He was admitted on 16 February after feeling unwell, and later underwent a procedure for a pre-existing heart condition at another London hospital – St Bartholomew’s.

Source – BBC

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