Prince Philip dies: Anne says life will be 'completely different'

Prince Philip’s children Anne and Edward praise his ‘wonderful’ sense of humour but say life will now be ‘completely different’ after his death aged 99 today

  • Princess Anne and Prince Edward paid tribute to their father Prince Philip, who has passed away aged 99
  • In pre-recorded interviews, the Princess Royal and the Earl of Wessex reflected on relationship with Philip
  • Anne said how life will be ‘completely different’ without him while Edward praised his ‘wonderful’ humour
  • The Duke of Edinburgh spent his last days at Windsor Caste with his wife the Queen and died this morning 

Princess Anne and Prince Edward emotionally paid tribute to their father Prince Philip, describing how ‘life will be completely different’ without the Duke of Edinburgh as Buckingham Palace announced his death today. 

In interviews recorded for broadcast after the duke had passed away, the Princess Royal and the Earl of Wessex reflected on their loving relationship with their father and the nation’s longest serving consort.

Britain has entered eight days of mourning ahead of Philip’s expected funeral next Saturday. The duke was the Queen’s ‘strength and guide’ throughout their 73-year marriage and her 69-year reign, as crowds of mourners laying flowers and tributes at palaces became so large they were told to disperse because of Covid. 

Anne told ITV News’ royal editor Chris Ship how Philip was ‘able to keep pace with the kind of technological changes that have such an impact’ on society over the course of his 99-year life.

She spoke movingly of her father’s decision to give up his career in the Royal Navy in 1951 so he could support the Queen, pointing to how it showed ‘a real understanding of the pressure [she] was going through’.

The duke joined the Royal Navy in 1939 when he was still a teenager. By 1942, he had risen to the rank of First Lieutenant after bravely fighting in the Battle of Crete and the conflict at Cape Matapan. His glittering career saw him amass a chestful of medals which he proudly displayed at numerous functions.  

Princess Anne also told the broadcaster that the Prince Consort’s long-lasting legacy would be embodied in the Duke of Edinburgh Award he founded in 1956 to give young people a structured outlet. 

Edward agreed that the spread of the Duke of Edinburgh Award to more than 140 countries, including beyond the Commonwealth, is ‘enormous testament to that original vision’. The earl also said how Philip and the Queen, who met as teenagers before the Second World War, had been a ‘fantastic support’ to each other. 

‘For what he has done in his public life for all the organisations he has supported and influenced and obviously as my father and husband to my mother and all the work that he has done there and as a family we will remember that more than anything else,’ he movingly told ITV News. 

Anne said in a pre-recorded interview: ‘Without him life will be completely different. But I think also from society’s perspective he’s been able to keep pace with the kind of technological changes which have had such an impact… but at the bottom of all that it’s not about the technology it’s about the people.’

She said of his position as the longest-serving Prince Consort: ‘It must have evolved quite dramatically from the early stages. I don’t think the structure in terms of support to the monarchy was designed to deal with a consort.

‘Nobody had thought about what he was going to do. And it took a while to find people who understood he had extraordinary experience and skills that they could make use of. But he also found ways he could make an impact.’ 

The duke spent his final days at Windsor Castle with his wife, who he lovingly called Lilibet, after a 28-night stay in hospital having been admitted in mid-February for an infection and a pre-existing heart condition.

Her Majesty announced her husband’s death at midday as the Union Flag was lowered to half-mast outside Buckingham Palace, in Downing Street and on public buildings across the UK and Commonwealth. Westminster Abbey will ring its bells 99 times in his memory from 6pm tonight.

Prince Charles was seen leaving Windsor Castle this evening, hours after the news of his father’s death broke. The Prince of Wales visited his mother on Friday travelling from his Gloucestershire home, sources have said. 

The Royal Family 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 made in due course. The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss’.  

Princess Anne and Prince Edward emotionally paid tribute to their father Prince Philip, describing how ‘life will be completely different’ without the Duke of Edinburgh as Buckingham Palace announced his death today

In interviews recorded for broadcast after the duke had passed away, the Princess Royal and the Earl of Wessex reflected on their loving relationship with their father and the nation’s longest serving consort

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip watching a flypast of Spitfire & Hurricane aircraft on July 10, 2015

Queen Elizabeth poses with her husband Prince Philip and their children Prince Charles and Princess Anne

Buckingham Palace announced the death of Prince Philip at just after midday today – and described the Queen’s ‘deep sorrow’

A lifelong supporter of the Royal Family lays a wreath at the gates of Buckingham Palace this afternoon, hours after the Queen announced the death of her husband at the age of 99 today


The nation is in mourning today with a huge outpouring of grief for Prince Philip after his death was announced by the Queen.

Thousands of tributes were posted online with heartfelt words for Her Majesty – who was described by one well-wisher as having ‘lost the brightest jewel in her crown’.

Flags were flown at half-mast across the country while thousands flocked to Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle to leave flowers and mourn.  

But Palace officials and No10 encouraged the public not to congregate in large groups amid coronavirus restrictions, as mounted police asked people to obey socially distancing measures.

Philip spent his final days at the family’s Berkshire home with the Queen after a 28-night stay in hospital for an infection and a pre-existing heart condition.

As the longest serving consort in British history, the Prince was a popular but often misunderstood figure in the eyes of the public.

Some found his gaffes and outbursts offensive while most believed he was comical – but millions across the country united in grief at his death today.

Hundreds revealed the heartbreaking news had left them in tears while others could not believe the Duke had died having been a figure throughout their lives.

Speaking about Philip’s childhood, Anne described his lifestyle as ‘nomadic’ and suggested it ‘must have been really quite difficult because he was that much younger than his sisters’.  

The duke, born on June 10, 1921 on the kitchen table at his family home Mon Repos on the Greek island of Corfu, was forced to flee his homeland after the King of Greece was exiled from his own country amid war.

In the political recriminations that followed, Philip’s father, a Lieutenant-General in the Greek army, was accused of high treason after allegedly disobeying an order and abandoning his post with his cavalry regiment in the face of attack during the catastrophic Greco-Turkish War which followed the 1914-18 war. 

The family managed to escape on British naval vessel HMS Calypso, with the newborn prince famously carried to safety in a cot crafted from an unused fruit box. With his mother in a psychiatric clinic and his exiled father mostly absent, the young duke spent his early years living with various relatives.

The father figure was very intermittent then went and his mother struggled at that stage, so he had friends elsewhere who took him in during the holidays. ‘He [Philip] was virtually a refugee at this stage, because he had nowhere else to go, literally,’ Anne said. ‘And that probably is why Gordonstoun had such an impact.’

Philip’s grounding at Gordonstoun School, a boarding school in Moray, Scotland, ultimately fuelled his life-long passion for sports and shaped his famed Duke of Edinburgh Award, which he hoped would encourage others to find extra-curriculum activities they too were passionate about. 

Prince Edward said: ‘The Duke of Edinburgh Award is probably among the best-known of the foundations in his name, and initially started by his former headmaster Kurt Hahn, who when it was rolled out beyond Gordonstoun came to my father and said ‘would you get involved in this.’

‘My father got Lord Hunt involved in helping to shape how it would roll out and that was of course one of his geniuses, being able to find the right people to take things on and shape them.’

‘The fact it has now spread to more than 140 countries, way beyond the Commonwealth, way beyond the English speaking world, is enormous testament to that original vision.’ 

Edward told ITV News that his father had a ‘wonderful’ sense of humour, but people could misinterpret things or ‘turn it against them’. ‘He used to give them as good as he got and always in a very entertaining way,’ the earl said.

‘He was brilliant. Always absolutely brilliant. He had a wonderful sense of humour but of course you can always misinterpret something or turn it against them, so it sounds like it’s not right. But anyone who had the privilege to hear him speak said it was his humour which always came through and the twinkle in his eye.’  

A frail Philip was last seen leaving hospital for Windsor on March 16. His death plunges the nation and the Royal Family into mourning and brings to an end his lifetime of service to Britain and to Elizabeth, the Queen who adored him since her teens. The couple shared their 73rd wedding anniversary last November and he was due to turn 100 on June 10 this year. 

Hundreds gathered in the spring sunshine at the palace and in Windsor, where many hugged and wiped away tears as they laid flowers in his memory – and left messages of love and support for the Queen and her family. 

Philip has served Britain since his youth and the world is mourning his death at Windsor Castle today, with the Royal Family releasing this photo and tribute shortly after his death

Boris Johnson spoke outside Downing Street to remember Philip, the love and support he had shown for the Queen and the impact he had on people all over the world

In a post on their Archwell website, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said: ‘Thank you for your services… you will be greatly missed’

An emotional mourner at Buckingham Palace after leaving flowers in memory of Prince Philip

A man thought to be a member of the armed forces stands to attention at Buckingham Palace after leaving a floral tribute

But as the crowds grew this afternoon the Government urged people to stay away and not to leave bouquets for public health reasons because Britain remains in lockdown due to Covid-19. The notice announcing the Duke of Edinburgh’s death at the gates of Buckingham Palace even had to be removed to maintain social distancing, officials said, and police horses even arrived to help marshal mourners.

His funeral will be a small family service at St George’s Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle before the duke is buried in Frogmore Gardens, where Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were laid to rest. The date has not been set officially, but sources claim it could be on Saturday, April 17.

More details will emerge in the next few days, with the plan nicknamed ‘Operation Forth Bridge’, but the public have already been urged to stay away to avoid spreading Covid-19 and watch it on TV at home instead. A state funeral including a flotilla of boats on the Thames to mark her husband’s life looks impossible due to covid restrictions, but the Duke was said to have disliked the idea because he ‘didn’t want the fuss’. 

The plans for the funeral were posted online by the government – before swiftly being taken down again. They appeared to confirm claims from sources.  

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle today paid a short tribute to Prince Philip following news of the Duke of Edinburgh’s death. In a post on their Archwell website, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex paid tribute to his grandfather with the two line message: ‘Thank you for your services… You will be greatly missed.’

The 21-word post, which takes up the whole of the website’s main page, was first revealed by their friend Omid Scobie, co-author of their biography Finding Freedom.

Harry is expected to return to the UK and be among the small number of mourners at the funeral, but it is much less clear whether his pregnant wife Meghan will return, weeks after the couple accused the Royal Family of racism in their bombshell Oprah interview while Philip lay in hospital.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s title will eventually pass on to his youngest son, Prince Edward, it was confirmed today – but he will have to wait until after the death of his mother and his brother Charles becomes king because of royal protocols. 

The cause of Philip’s death has not been made public, but Philip had his first Covid-19 vaccination with the Queen on January 9, with his second one due around a week ago. It is not known if it was administered.

Parliament will be recalled from its Easter recess on Monday – a day earlier than planned – where MPs will give tributes in the Commons. The Conservatives, Labour and other major parties have suspended campaigning for the local, mayoral and police and crime commissioner elections in May out of respect for the duke. 

As the Queen lost her husband, and the country mourns one of its greatest servants, it also emerged:

  • Her Majesty will enter a period of mourning with officials planning a royal ceremonial funeral in St George’s Chapel,  Windsor, after Philip insisted he didn’t want the ‘fuss’ of lying in state. But well-laid plans have been hit by Covid restrictions and the public already urged not to consider gathering in the streets for the event; 
  • Large crowds stood at Buckingham Palace and at Windsor Castle to lay flowers – before the Government asked them to disperse and stop laying flowers;
  • Flags around the UK are at half-mast – and will remain so for at least eight days – as Boris Johnson leads tributes to the Duke of Edinburgh, who the PM said has ‘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’;
  • US president Joe Biden said: ‘Jill and I are keeping the Queen and to Prince Philip’s children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren in our hearts during this time 
  • Commonwealth leaders including prime ministers of Australia, Canada and India thank Prince Philip for his decades of public service and send ‘love and deepest condolences’ to Her Majesty and all the Royal family; 
  • Philip’s death came at a time of great turmoil for the Royal Family after Harry and Meghan’s emigration to the US and bombshell Oprah interview. The Sussexes have not said if they will be returning to the UK;
  • Prince Charles, Prince William and other senior royals are yet to give their own personal tributes as ordinary Britons shared their own hilarious and poignant memories of meeting Prince Philip;

As with all major royal announcements, including births, marriages and deaths, Prince Philip’s passing was marked with a statement displayed outside Buckingham Palace. It was later removed to avoid people gathering around it in the pandemic

A young girl also arrived to lay a flroal tribute to Prince Philip 

The sun breaks through the spring clouds above Buckingham Palace this afternoon as people stood to remember the Duke of Edinburgh, who passed away this morning

People stood in masks, two metres apart to hug and remember the Queen’s husband, who dedicated his life to the country

The number of people laying wreathes became larger as the day went on leading to a plea from the palace and the Government not to gather 

A woman in a mask wipes away tears outside Windsor Castle this afternoon while a mourner cried outside Buckingham Palace as the news of Philip’s death sunk in

Piccadilly Circus’ famous screen was given over to a tribute the the Duke of Edinburgh, as Routemaster buses passed by

A police officer speaks to members of the public holding floral tributes outside of Windsor Castle as mourners and well wishers were told to go home

His funeral will be a small family service at St George’s Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle before the duke is buried in Frogmore Gardens, where Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were laid to rest. The date has not been set

Prince Philip waves as he arrives back at Windsor Castle after leaving King Edward VII’s Hospital in London on March 16, 2021

Good-looking and blond-haired, the Prince of Greece impressed the young Princess by jumping over the college tennis nets at their first publicised meeting. Pictured: Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh in a wedding photograph in 1947. The couple were married for 73 years (pictured in a portrait taken to mark the 60th anniversary of The Queen’s Accession in 2012)

Mourners hugged in sadness outside Buckingham Palace this afternoon just after it was revealed that Prince Philip has passed away shortly before his 100th birthday

A member of staff carries an announcement, regarding the death of Britain’s Prince Philip, to be displayed on the fence of Buckingham Palace

Two emotional friends embraced as the country entered a period of mourning for the life of Prince Philip that will continue until after his funeral

Two young girls prepare to leave flowers in front of the gate at Buckingham Palace

A boy leaves flowers next to a Union flag in front of the gate outside the Duke of Edinburgh’s London home

Traffic slowed and crowds gathered outside Buckingham Palace today as the world learned that the Duke of Edinburgh has died

People prepare to leave flowers in front of the gate of Buckingham Palace in London as the nation learned the sad news of Philip’s death

A young girl, surrounded by flowers, ties a spring daffodil in full bloom to the railings outside Buckingham Palace this afternoon

Outside Windsor Castle, where Philip died this morning, children laid flowers outside as the Queen mourns her husband

This was the scene at Sandringham, where Philip spent much of his retirement, where Caitlin French, five, laid a bunch of flowers at the Norwich Gates

A family look at flowers outside the Cambridge gate of Windsor Castle

Harry prepares to fly back to Britain following Philip’s death – but will Meghan come too? 

Harry, Meghan Markle and Prince Philip on Christmas Day 2017. The couple has not been in the UK since March last year

Prince Harry is expected to return to the UK for the first time since leaving Royal duties after the death of Prince Philip – but questions remain over whether Meghan will join him.

Harry’s grandfather’s death comes weeks after they gave an interview to Oprah alleging racism in the Royal Family which aired while Philip was in hospital.

Since then, they have launched a charity, accepted lucrative business deals with Netflix and Spotify, given public talks, appeared on Zoom conferences, and on March 7, they criticised the Royal Family in a sit-down interview with Oprah that was viewed around the world.

Meghan is now pregnant with their second child and due to give birth sometime in the summer but she has not disclosed exactly when. The couple has not commented on any plan to return to the UK.

A source close to the family told on Friday: ‘Harry will absolutely do his utmost to get back to the UK and be with his family.

‘He will want nothing more than to be there for his family, and particularly his grandmother, during this awful time.

‘Meghan is obviously pregnant so she will need to take advice from her doctors about whether it is safe for her to travel, but I think Harry will definitely go.’

Her Majesty, who remains at Windsor Castle with her husband, has now started an eight-day period of mourning. She will not carry out any duties, even in private, while laws will not be given the Royal Assent and affairs of state will also be paused. 

Boris Johnson led the tributes to the Queen’s husband and addressed the nation outside No 10 Downing Street shortly after the announcement. He said: ‘We give thanks, as a nation and a kingdom, for the extraordinary life and work of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh’.

He added: ‘Speaking on their golden wedding anniversary, Her Majesty said that our country owed her husband ‘a greater debt than he would ever claim or we shall ever know’ and I am sure that estimate is correct So we mourn today with Her Majesty The Queen.

‘We remember the duke for all of this and above all for his steadfast support for Her Majesty the Queen. Not just as her consort, by her side every day of her reign, but as her husband, her ‘strength and stay’, of more than 70 years.

‘And it is to Her Majesty, and her family, that our nation’s thoughts must turn today. Because they have lost not just a much-loved and highly respected public figure, but a devoted husband and a proud and loving father, grandfather and, in recent years, great-grandfather.’ Mr Johnson also praised his Duke of Edinburgh scheme, which has ‘shaped and inspired the lives of countless young people’.  

A period of mourning following the death of the Duke of Edinburgh will see planned Government announcements and ministerial appearances cancelled.

The news from Buckingham Palace also means Boris Johnson’s plan to have a pint to celebrate the easing of England’s lockdown on April 12 has been postponed.  

An online book of condolence is now available on the royal website for those who wish to send a personal message of condolence, the royal family’s Twitter account announced.

It added: ‘During the current public health situation, Books of Condolence will not be available for the public to sign.

‘The Royal Family ask that members of the public consider making a donation to a charity instead of leaving floral tributes in memory of The Duke’.

Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said: ‘As we recover and rebuild after the terrible trial of the coronavirus pandemic, we will need fortitude and a deep sense of commitment to serving others. Throughout his life Prince Philip displayed those qualities in abundance, and I pray that we can take inspiration from his example’. 

Officials at Buckingham Palace are now preparing for a royal ceremonial funeral at Windsor Castle in Berkshire in keeping with Philip’s wishes, with a military procession also expected in London – Covid laws permittingUntil his death, Philip was the longest-serving consort in British history and the oldest partner of a reigning monarch. Despite his ill health, the Queen remained resolutely stoic in Prince Philip’s final days and took part in her first royal engagement of 2021 last week. 

Westminster Abbey will toll its tenor bell once every 60 seconds, 99 times, from 6pm on Friday evening in tribute to the duke, the abbey said.

Stewards have put a barrier around floral tributes placed at the gates of Buckingham Palace, aimed at preventing overcrowding.

Members of the public were advised to join a queue to take pictures and place flowers, with stewards urging people not to gather in large crowds.

More than 100 floral tributes – ranging from bunches of daffodils to fuller bouquets, many with notes attached – and two Union flags have been placed at the gates by mourners.

Traffic is being diverted in some areas of Windsor town centre close to Windsor Castle, as crowds continue to gather.

A number of wellwishers have laid flowers at the Henry VIII Gate in the town, with a number of other tributes left at the Cambridge Gate.

The Queen is in the depths of ‘deep sorrow’ following her husband’s death. 

‘He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years,’ Her Majesty said at their Golden Wedding banquet in 1997. ‘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.’

The quizzical, witty, faithful – and often controversial – the Duke was the Queen’s greatest source of support, her confidant and the man she relied on above all others. 

He was a great-grandfather of ten, with the most recent addition to his wider family being Zara and Mike Tindall’s baby son Lucas Philip Tindall on March 21 – soon after Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank’s son August, who was born on February 9. 

Tributes have been paid by political and religious leaders to the ‘much-loved’ Duke of Edinburgh after his death at the age of 99.

Speaking on a podium outside Downing Street on Friday, Boris Johnson said Philip would be remembered for his ‘steadfast support’ of the Queen, as well as his awards scheme which ‘inspired’ countless young people.

The Prime Minister said: ‘He was an environmentalist, and a champion of the natural world long before it was fashionable.

‘With his Duke of Edinburgh awards scheme he shaped and inspired the lives of countless young people and at literally tens of thousands of events he fostered their hopes and encouraged their ambitions.’

Australian prime minister Scott Morrison said the duke ’embodied a generation that we will never see again’.

‘Australians send our love and deepest condolences to her Majesty and all the Royal family. The Commonwealth family joins together in sorrow and thanksgiving for the loss and life of Prince Philip. God bless from all here in Australia,’ he tweeted.

Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said Philip was an ‘outstanding example of Christian service’.

In a statement, he said: ‘On the occasions when I met him, I was always struck by his obvious joy at life, his enquiring mind and his ability to communicate to people from every background and walk of life.

‘He was a master at putting people at their ease and making them feel special.

‘The legacy he leaves is enormous.’

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the UK has ‘lost an extraordinary public servant in Prince Philip’.

He said: ‘He will be remembered most of all for his extraordinary commitment and devotion to the Queen.’

The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, highlighted the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award as ‘an enormous part of Prince Philip’s legacy’.

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon said she was ‘saddened’ by the news and sent her ‘personal and deepest condolences, and those of the Scottish government and people of Scotland, to Her Majesty the Queen and her family’.

Irish premier Micheal Martin tweeted: ‘Saddened to hear of the death of HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

‘Our thoughts and prayers are with Queen Elizabeth and the people of the United Kingdom at this time.’

Flags were lowered across the country today as a sign of respect to the Duke, with Buckingham Palace (pictured) and Downing Street leading the way

An official notice announcing the death of Britain’s Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh is placed on the gates of Buckingham Palace in central London

People gather outside the gates of Buckingham Palace in London after the announcement regarding the death of Prince Philip

Bouquet after bouquet at the gates of Windsor Castle, where police had to divert traffic because of the crowds

A police officer stands next to bouquets of flowers outside Buckingham Palace after the announcement on Friday at lunchtime

A young girl prepares to leave flowers in front of the gate at Buckingham Palace

A long socially distanced queue of mourners lined the pavement outside Buckingham Palace to pay their respects and lay their bouquets

A masked mourner lays flowers at the palace where bouquets piled up in the hours after it was announced

Many of the bouquets contained written tributes, thanking the Duke of Edinburgh for his decades of public service

The Lion rampant flies at half mast over the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh

Union Flags fly at half-mast on top of Downing Street after it was announced Prince Philip died on Friday morning aged 99

The Union Flag flies at half-mast from Victoria Tower over the Houses of Parliament in central London, where MPs have been recalled to give their tributes

A member of staff attaches a notice to the gates of the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh announcing the death of the Duke of Edinburgh

A young boy lays flowers in front of the gate of Buckingham Palace in London after the heartbreaking announcement today

Crowds grew this afternoon as the sad news of Philip’s death was announced by the Queen

People gather outside Windsor Castle in Berkshire after the announcement regarding the death of Prince Philip on Friday

Windsor Castle is pictured as crowds start to gather outside following the announcement that HRH Prince Philip has died today

A woman arrives to lay a bunch of flowers outside Buckingham Palace in central London on Friday afternoon after the announcement of the death of Prince Philip

A woman lays a bunch of flowers at the gates of Buckingham Palace in central London on Friday afternoon after the announcement of the death of Philip

Two men are pictured preparing to leave flowers in front of the gate of Buckingham Palace in central London on Friday afternoon

Two women are pictured preparing to leave flowers in front of the gate of Buckingham Palace in central London this afternoon

A young woman takes a photo on her mobile of the tributes at Windsor

Berkshire locals were out in their droves to pay their respects, as crowds grew at Windsor

The scene outside Windsor Castle in Berkshire as the announcement of the death of The Duke of Edinburgh becomes public

Jockeys, owners and trainers stand during a minutes silence at Aintree after Buckingham Palace announced Britain’s Prince Philip

The world’s media gathers on the lawn outside the palace as they reported the death of the Queen’s husband

Operation Forth Bridge begins: Queen enters ‘eight days of mourning’ as master plan for Philip’s funeral that the Duke helped draw up himself is enacted but with Covid contingencies for royal ceremonial service and burial in Windsor and military procession 

The Queen has entered an eight-day period of mourning following the death of Prince Philip today aged 99 – as arrangements for his funeral, codenamed Operation Forth Bridge, have begun.

The Duke of Edinburgh drew up the plans himself and in character with his no-nonsense attitude will eschew usual state formalities.

Philip will lie at rest in Windsor Castle for a period of days ahead of his funeral at St George’s Chapel, which is expected to be socially distanced.

Royal fans have been told not to attend any part of the events that make up the funeral die to Covid restrictions, or lay flowers.

The Duke of Edinburgh is expected to then be buried in Frogmore Gardens, in the grounds of Windsor Castle.  

The Queen will not carry out any duties even in private under Covid restrictions, laws will not be given the Royal Assent and affairs of state will also be paused.

Following these eight days, a further period of official Royal Mourning is expected to continue for 30 days. 

Scores of people will be involved in the days ahead, from military guards and the clergy, to staff at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, who will be making sure the household continues to run smoothly during this traumatic time for the Queen. 

The Queen and her children and grandchildren will enter a period of mourning for their patriarch, which could last several weeks.

Official engagements, most of which are presently online, can continue during this time, although most are postponed or cancelled, but it depends on the wishes of the monarch.

In non-pandemic times, social engagements would usually be cancelled, except those for charitable causes.

There are various types of mourning, but Royal – also known as Court – Mourning, includes the royal family, royal households and the Queen’s representatives in the UK and abroad wearing black and also using black-edged writing paper.



Indian prime minister Narendra Modi tweeted that his thoughts were with the royal family.

He said: ‘(Philip) had a distinguished career in the military and was at the forefront of many community service initiatives. May his soul rest in peace.’

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen tweeted: ‘I am saddened to hear of the passing of His Royal Highness Prince Philip. I would like to extend my sincere sympathy to Her Majesty The Queen, the Royal Family and the people of the United Kingdom on this very sad day.’

Former prime minister Tony Blair said: ‘He will naturally be most recognised as a remarkable and steadfast support to the Queen over so many years. However, he should also be remembered and celebrated in his own right as a man of foresight, determination and courage.

‘He was often way ahead of his time in protection of the environment, in reconciliation between religious faiths and of course in the creation of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, which remains one of the most innovative and effective programmes for the betterment of young people anywhere in the world.’  

Philip’s lifelong role was to ensure that he never let The Queen down and their long-lasting marriage was one of the world’s best known relationships.

Reflecting their love in her Diamond Jubilee speech to Parliament in 2012, the Elizabeth said: ‘During these years as your Queen, the support of my family has, across the generations, been beyond measure. Prince Philip is, I believe, well-known for declining compliments of any kind. But throughout he has been a constant strength and guide.’

The couple married in November 1947 – she a 21-year-old sheltered princess, he a swaggering Royal Navy officer with Greek and Danish royal blood, who had only recently seen active service during World War Two.

From that moment, the day Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten became the Duke of Edinburgh, Philip – a private, enigmatic man of strong character – was always there, one step behind, ready to lend the Queen a helping hand.

Following his retirement from public life in August 2017, he kept a low public profile.

In recent months the couple have lived through the coronavirus pandemic together, at Sandringham in Norfolk, during a summer break at Balmoral Estate in Scotland and latterly in what was dubbed ‘HMS Bubble’ at Windsor Castle from October 2020.

The pair received their coronavirus inoculations together at Windsor in January, and the virus was quickly ruled out as the cause of his admission to London’s King Edward VII hospital on February 16.

Buckingham Palace had initially said it was a precautionary measure because the Duke was feeling unwell, and his grandson Prince William said after a week of treatment that he was ‘OK’ but doctors were ‘keeping an eye on him’.

The palace then revealed the Duke was being treated for an ‘infection’, with his youngest son Prince Edward adding that the Royal Family were ‘keeping our fingers crossed’.

But concerns grew when, after two weeks at the private King Edward VII, Philip was transferred to St Bartholomew’s NHS hospital in central London with the palace saying he would ‘undertake testing and observation for a pre-existing heart condition’.

He then underwent a heart operation and was transferred back to King Edward VII’s, before eventually leaving on March 16 and returning to Windsor Castle by car following 28 days in hospital. 

The Duke of Edinburgh, pictured arriving home at Windsor Castle on March 16 – the final picture of him in public

The last photograph of Philip with the Queen was in November 2020, where the Duke and Queen looked at their homemade card, given to them by their great-grandchildren Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis for their 73rd wedding anniversary

Prince Philip (pictured in 2019), the Queen’s husband and greatest supporter, has died at Windsor Castle today aged 99

Prince Philip raises his hat in his role as Captain General, Royal Marines, as he attends a parade to mark the finale of the 1664 Global Challenge, on the Buckingham Palace forecourt on August 2, 2017

The Duke of Edinburgh water-skis in the Med in 1951, shortly before his wife became Queen

Philip’s final days: How Duke was visited by emotional Charles in hospital before being returned to the comfort of Windsor where Prince enjoyed an Easter walk with the Queen – and stoic Monarch carried on public duties throughout 

The Queen spent the Easter Weekend with her family, and was seen on a socially-distanced walk with Prince Charles on March 23 in a photo released on April 2. It is unclear if the Prince of Wales saw his father on the day and whether he has seen him since

Prince Philip’s final weeks saw him visited by an emotional Prince Charles in hospital before being returned to the comfort of Windsor where his son enjoyed an Easter walk with the Queen – as the stoic monarch carried on with her public duties throughout. 

The Queen, 94, today announced with ‘deep sorrow’ the death of her husband at the age of 99, calling him her ‘strength and guide’ throughout their 73-year marriage and her 69-year reign.

The Duke of Edinburgh spent his final days at Windsor Castle with his wife after a 28-night stay in hospital having been admitted in mid-February for an infection and a pre-existing heart condition.

Philip’s eldest son Prince Charles, 72, paid him a half-hour visit during the first week of his treatment, making a 100-mile journey from Highgrove in Gloucestershire to the capital. Charles appeared emotional when he left. 

The Queen spent the Easter Weekend at Windsor, and was seen on a socially-distanced walk with Charles on March 23, in an image released on Good Friday. It is unclear if the Prince of Wales saw his father on the day and whether he has seen him since. 

Despite all the personal turmoil, which included Meghan and Harry’s bombshell Oprah interview while Philip was still in hospital, the Queen has continued carrying out her duties, mainly over video call due to Covid restrictions. 

She last appeared in public March 31 to mark the centenary of the Royal Australian Air Force, and she has also held several meetings over video call.  


Philip’s eldest son Prince Charles, 72, paid him a half-hour visit during the first week of his treatment, making a 100-mile journey from Highgrove in Gloucestershire to the capital. Charles appeared emotional when he left. 

The monarchy was plunged into crisis while Philip was in hospital following the shocking allegations of racism made by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in their interview with chat show host Oprah Winfrey.

Harry and Meghan, who faced calls to postpone the interview because Philip was unwell, accused an unnamed royal, not the Queen nor the duke, of raising concerns about how dark their son Archie’s skin tone would be before he was born.

Meghan also told of how she begged for help when she was suicidal, but said the institution gave her no support. The Queen, 94, said the issues were concerning, but that ‘some recollections may vary’ and the matter was a family one that would be dealt with privately. 

Although Philip was in remarkably good health well into his 90s, he had battled ill health in recent years and spent Christmas 2011 in hospital when he was rushed in needing a heart stent. It was the first Christmas he and the Queen had spent apart in their then 64-year marriage.

It was those increasing health concerns that led to him stepping back from royal duties in 2017. He conducted the last of his 22,219 public engagements since the Queen ascended the throne in 1952 by meeting Royal Marines at Buckingham Palace.

Though he rarely made public appearances after his official retirement, Philip was pictured standing next to the Queen at the private wedding of Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in Windsor in July 2020.

Other appearances included at the weddings of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in May 2018, and Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank in October 2018, both at Windsor Castle.

He also appeared at the wedding of Lady Gabriella Windsor, whose father is the Queen’s cousin Prince Michael of Kent, to Thomas Kingston in May 2019, and formally handed over his role as Colonel-in-Chief of the infantry regiment The Rifles to the Duchess of Cornwall at Windsor Castle in July 2020.

After his retirement, the Duke of Edinburgh spent much of his time at Windsor, and at Wood Farm, a small residence on the Queen’s private Sandringham estate, where he read, painted watercolours and wrote letters – with occasional visits to London.

Through his stewardship, he had a profound effect on the development of the British monarchy. In public, the Duke never attempted to upstage the woman he loved. In private, it was Philip that the Queen would defer to.

‘All too often, I fear, Prince Philip has had to listen to me speaking,’ the Queen said in the 1997 Golden Wedding address. ‘Frequently we have discussed my intended speech beforehand and, as you will imagine, his views have been expressed in a forthright manner.’

The Duke replied in his toast to his wife: ‘I think the main lesson we have learnt is that tolerance is the one essential ingredient in any happy marriage.

‘You can take it from me, the Queen has the quality of tolerance in abundance.’

At home, he assumed the position of head of the family as the royal patriarch. Even as recently as November 2019, he held talks with Prince Charles at Sandringham to discuss the fallout from Prince Andrew’s disastrous TV interview over his friendship with paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

In April that year, the Duke had become the longest serving consort in British history and the oldest serving partner of a reigning monarch, while his wife became Britain’s longest reigning monarch and the world’s longest reigning serving monarch.

Like his great-great-grandfather Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s beloved husband, the Duke immersed himself in national life, yet managed to retain something of the sceptical spectator.

Some thought he was arrogant, rude and insensitive; others found him witty and fun.

He could be abrupt, outspoken and was not afraid of using colourful language. He was parodied for his bad-tempered outbursts and criticised for his legendary gaffes.


The Duke of Edinburgh waves as he arrives for the transfer of the Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles at Windsor Castle in July 2019.  

Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh smile as they arrive at Baldonnel Airport in 2011 for their historic trip to Ireland

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh in a family photograph after Princess Eugenie’s wedding in Windsor in October 2018

Philip and his grandson Prince Harry share a joke at Lady Gabriella Windsor’s wedding on May 18, 2019 at Windsor Castle

Their first child, Charles, was born at Buckingham Palace in November 1948. Anne was born at Clarence House in August 1950. Ten years later, Andrew was born at Buckingham Palace in February 1960, as was Edward in March 1964. This picture was taken in 1968 at Windsor Castle

The Queen and Prince Philip outside the wedding of Princess Eugenie to Jack Brooksbank at St George’s Chapel in October 2018

The Queen, Prince Philip and Princess Anne, the Princess Royal wave to Prince Harry and Meghan in Windsor in May 2018

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding photograph in Windsor in May 2018

(From left) The Duchess of Cornwall, the Prince of Wales, the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive for a reception for members of the Diplomatic Corps at Buckingham Palace in London on December 8, 2016

The Duke of Edinburgh and the Duke of Cambridge share a joke as they visit Runnymede in Surrey on June 15, 2015

Philip was always happy to joke about his mortality and could occasionally be heard when reference was made to a future project at official engagements to snort with laughter and make a quip about his limited lifespan. Above, at Westminster Abbey in 2012

Philip visits Heathrow Airport in 2006 (left) and receives an honorary doctorate from Plymouth University in 2012 (right)

The Queen and Prince Philip wave as they leave Westminster Abbey after Prince William and Kate’s wedding in April 2011

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh pose for a family photo after William and Kate’s wedding on April 29, 2011

Then US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle meet the Queen and the Duke at Buckingham Palace in April 2009

The Queen and the Duke go for a walk at Broadlands as they mark their diamond wedding anniversary on November 19, 2007

The Duke of Edinburgh, patron of the Britain-Australia Society, presents Kylie Minogue with the Britain-Australia Society Award for 2016 during a private audience with the singer in the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle in April 2017

Gwyneth Paltrow speaks with the Duke of Edinburgh at the official launch of Mayfair’s ‘The Arts Club’ in London in 2011

The Duke with members of the cast of Chicago, who he met in March 1999 during a visit to the Adelphi Theatre in London

The Queen sat with The Duke of Edinburgh watch the Golden Jubilee parade in Windsor, Berkshire, in June 2002

The Queen and Philip attend the State Opening of Parliament in the House of Lords on November 24, 1998

(From left) Philip, William, Earl Spencer, Harry and Charles walk behind Princess Diana’s funeral cortege on September 6, 1997

The Queen and Prince Philip walk together at Guards Polo Club, Smith’s Lawn in Windsor on June 20, 1975

The Queen, with Prince Philip, photographs a horse at the Badminton Horse Trials in Gloucestershire on April 15, 1973

The Queen and Prince Philip sort through a basket of mail on the occasion of their 25th wedding anniversary in 1972

Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, Prince Philip, the Queen, Prince Edward and Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace in 1972

The Duke of Edinburgh with his son Prince Charles at RAF Cranwell after Charles had received his wings on August 20, 1971

The Queen and Prince Philip dance at a state ball in Valletta during a Commonwealth visit to Malta on November 16, 1967

The Queen and Prince Philip wave from a vehicle to onlookers at Clifford Park at Nassau in the Bahamas on February 28, 1966

The Queen and Prince Philip with their children at Windsor on the Queen’s 39th birthday in April 1965

The Queen and Philip with their baby, Prince Edward, at Buckingham Palace during Trooping of the Colour on June 13, 1964

The Duke and the then Princess Elizabeth in the garden of their London home, Clarence House, with Prince Charles and Princess Anne in 1951

Philip once warned a group of Scottish students in China that they would become ‘slitty eyed’.

On another occasion, he pointed to a fusebox of loose wires in a Glasgow factory and remarked that it looked like it had been installed by an ‘Indian’.

He was well aware of his public perception, once telling former Tory MP Gyles Brandreth: ‘I have become a caricature. There we are. I’ve just got to accept it.’

There was further controversy in February 2019, when Philip voluntarily surrendered his driving licence, having flipped his Land Rover Freelander in a crash with a Kia near the Sandringham estate that left two women injured.

The Duke was a forceful man, often portrayed as short-tempered and rather off-hand in his manner.

Yet he had the ability to charm and could be relied upon to break the ice with his sense of humour and quick repartee.

The curious Duke would ask endless questions while on engagements, grilling and challenging his hosts persistently.

He had a no-fuss, no-nonsense manner that has been inherited by his daughter, the Princess Royal.

He was once said to have described himself as ‘a discredited Balkan prince of no particular merit or distinction’. He was never given – and apparently never coveted – the title of Prince Consort, traditionally how Queens’ husbands are styled.

He received little public adulation for his tireless charity work and support for the monarchy in difficult times.

The Queen and Philip visit the mining village of Aberfan in South Wales, eight days after the disaster that claimed 144 lives in October 1966

The Queen waves from the balcony of Buckingham Palace, with the Duke by her side, after her Coronation in June 1953, with their children Prince Charles and Princess Anne

Queen Elizabeth II poses on her coronation day in June 1953 at Buckingham Palace with Philip in the background

Philip is pictured on the Captain’s Boat en route for HMS Chequers while in Malta in October 1949

Princess Elizabeth and Philip enjoying a walk during their honeymoon at Broadlands in Hampshire in November 1947

Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh, on honeymoon, photographed in the grounds of Broadlands looking at their wedding photographs, on November 23, 1947

Princess Elizabeth and the Duke at Buckingham Palace after their marriage at Westminster Abbey on November 20, 1947. The wedding, attended by an array of foreign kings and queens, captured the public imagination in the austere post-war days

He and the Queen witnessed the failure of three of their four children’s marriages and the fallout that followed, particularly the scandal surrounding Camilla Parker Bowles, who eventually married into The Firm.

More recently, they also endured the fallout from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s decision to break away from Royal duties in January 2020 – dubbed Megxit.

One Royal expert, Ingrid Seward, claimed Philip would have been ‘more influential’ in challenging Harry over his decision to leave the Royal Family if he had been younger.

Further issues ensued when it was announced Harry and Meghan were going to be interviewed by Oprah Winfrey in a ‘tell-all’ chat – which they did not brief the Queen about in advance.

Then on February 19, Harry and Meghan were stripped of their prestigious patronages as the couple confirmed Megxit had become permanent. 

That came less than a week after the couple announced with a black-and-white photoshoot that Meghan was pregnant with their second child, later revealed to be a girl. 

Elizabeth and Philip also witnessed Prince Andrew’s disastrous Newsnight interview in November 2019 over his friendship with paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, which saw the Duke of York deserted by many of his official charities and patronages.

The Royal Family also faced criticism for their response to the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.

The Duke was depicted as a tough, but caring father, amid speculation that his relationship with the Prince of Wales was not always the easiest.

The Beatles pictured meeting Prince Philip in 1964 at the Empire Ballroom in London’s Leicester Square

Singer Tom Jones, right, shares a joke with the Duke of Edinburgh, left, at the Royal Variety Performance in 1969

Prince Philip and world champion heavyweight boxer Muhammed Ali meet each other in Los Angeles in 1984

But he guarded his privacy and refused to discuss such matters.

By almost any standard he was a remarkable character. He had all the qualities which, even without his royal status, would have led him to the top.

He was a successful naval officer and he was also a pilot of considerable ability.

In his leisure moments he was a good shot, a first-class polo player, an accomplished sailor, enthusiastic cricketer and international four-in-hand carriage driver.

He also enjoyed films, and is said to have made a surprise visit to the set of the Hatton Garden heist film King Of Thieves in 2018.

His themes were many but he regularly returned to the prickly subject of the British economy and also conservation, one of his great passions.

He could speak with authority on industry, science and nature.

One of the Duke’s most famous speeches was in 1961 when he told industrialists: ‘Gentlemen, I think it is time we pulled our fingers out.’

He often criticised exporters for not fighting hard enough for Britain abroad and hit out at the ‘I’m all right, Jack’ society for not pulling its weight at home.

Even in later life, the Duke was a modern man. He was always forward-thinking and often ahead of his time.

He was eating muesli 20 years before most people and drove around London in an electric car in an attempt to fight pollution.

As the world begins to mourn him, Philip will be remembered for the huge role he played in the lives of people in Britain and the Commonwealth, while the Queen now faces her greatest challenge of all as she leads the country for the first time without her loyal husband by her side.

There are those who believe that, had the Duke not married Princess Elizabeth, he would have been First Sea Lord. But he gave it all up for the woman he devoted himself to.

Writing to Princess Elizabeth – Lilibet as he called her – in 1946, he apologised for the ‘monumental cheek’ of turning up to Buckingham Palace uninvited.

‘Yet however contrite I feel, there is always a small voice that keeps saying ‘Nothing ventured, nothing gained’,’ he wrote.

‘Well did I venture, and I gained a wonderful time.’

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