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Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, dies aged 99

Prince Philip, the irascible and tough-minded husband of Queen Elizabeth II who spent greater than seven many years supporting his spouse in a task that each outlined and constricted his life, has died, Buckingham Palace mentioned Friday. He was 99.

His life spanned almost a century of European historical past, beginning together with his beginning as a member of the Greek royal household and ending as Britain’s longest-serving consort throughout a turbulent reign during which the thousand-year-old monarchy was compelled to reinvent itself for the 21st century.

He was identified for his sometimes racist and sexist remarks — and for gamely fulfilling greater than 20,000 royal engagements to spice up British pursuits at residence and overseas. He headed a whole lot of charities, based packages that helped British schoolchildren take part in difficult out of doors adventures, and performed a distinguished half in elevating his 4 youngsters, together with his eldest son, Prince Charles, the inheritor to the throne.

Philip spent a month in hospital earlier this yr earlier than being launched on March 16 to return to Windsor Fortress.

On this Wednesday Aug. 2, 2017 file photograph, Britain’s Prince Philip, in his position as Captain Basic of the Royal Marines, attends a Parade on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace, in central London. (AP)

“It’s with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen has introduced the loss of life of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh,” the palace mentioned. “His Royal Highness handed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Fortress.”

Philip, who was given the title Duke of Edinburgh on his wedding ceremony day, noticed his sole position as offering help for his spouse, who started her reign as Britain retreated from empire and steered the monarchy by way of many years of declining social deference and U.Okay. energy into a contemporary world the place folks demand intimacy from their icons.

Within the 1970s, Michael Parker, an previous navy pal and former personal secretary of the prince, mentioned of him: “He informed me the primary day he provided me my job, that his job — first, second and final — was by no means to let her down.”

On this Jan. 21, 1959 file photograph, Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru welcomes Britain’s Prince Philip to New Delhi, India. (AP)

The queen, a really personal individual not given to extravagant shows of affection, as soon as known as him “her rock” in public.

In personal, Philip known as his spouse Lilibet; however he referred to her in dialog with others as “The Queen.”

Over the many years, Philip’s picture modified from that of good-looking, dashing athlete to smug and insensitive curmudgeon. In his later years, the picture lastly settled into that of droll and philosophical observer of the occasions, an aged, craggy-faced man who maintained his army bearing regardless of illnesses.

The Union flag hangs at half workers over Buckingham Palace in London, Friday, April 9, 2021. (AP Photograph/Matt Dunham)

The favored Netflix collection “The Crown” gave Philip a central position, with a barely racy, swashbuckling picture. He by no means commented on it in public, however the portrayal struck a chord with many Britons, together with youthful viewers who had solely identified him as an aged man.

Philip’s place was a difficult one — there isn’t any official position for the husband of a sovereign queen — and his life was marked by extraordinary contradictions between his private and non-private duties. He at all times walked three paces behind his spouse in public, in a present of deference to the monarch, however he was the pinnacle of the household in personal. Nonetheless, his son Charles, as inheritor to the throne, had a bigger earnings, in addition to entry to the high-level authorities papers Philip was not permitted to see.

Philip usually took a wry strategy to his uncommon place on the royal desk.

“Constitutionally, I don’t exist,” mentioned Philip, who in 2009 grew to become the longest-serving consort in British historical past, surpassing Queen Charlotte, who married King George III within the18th century.

He regularly struggled to search out his place — a friction that might later be echoed in his grandson Prince Harry’s choice to surrender royal duties.

A Sunday June 3, 2012 photograph from information displaying Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, and her husband Prince Philip watching the proceedings from the royal barge through the Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the River Thames in London. (AP)

“There was no precedent,” he mentioned in a uncommon interview with the BBC to mark his 90th birthday. “If I requested any person, ‘What do you count on me to do?’ all of them seemed clean.”

However having given up a promising naval profession to turn into consort when Elizabeth grew to become queen at age 25, Philip was not content material to remain on the sidelines and luxuriate in a lifetime of ease and wealth. He promoted British business and science, espoused environmental preservation lengthy earlier than it grew to become modern, and traveled broadly and regularly in help of his many charities.

In these frequent public appearances, Philip developed a status for being impatient and demanding and was generally blunt to the purpose of rudeness.

Many Britons appreciated what they noticed as his propensity to talk his thoughts, whereas others criticized conduct they labeled offensive and out of contact.

On this June 19, 1962 file photograph, Britain’s Prince Philip and his spouse Queen Elizabeth II arrive at Royal Ascot race assembly, England. (AP)

In 1995, for instance, he requested a Scottish driving teacher, “How do you retain the natives off the booze lengthy sufficient to move the check?” Seven years later in Australia, when visiting Aboriginal folks with the queen, he requested: “Do you continue to throw spears at one another?”

Many consider his propensity to talk his thoughts meant he offered wanted, unvarnished recommendation to the queen.

“The best way that he survived within the British monarchy system was to be his personal man, and that was a supply of help to the queen,” mentioned royal historian Robert Lacey. “All her life she was surrounded by males who mentioned, ‘sure ma’am’ and he was one man who at all times informed her the way it actually was, or at the very least how he noticed it.”

Lacey mentioned on the time of the royal household’s tough relations with Princess Diana after her marriage to Charles broke down, Philip spoke for the household with authority, displaying that he didn’t mechanically defer to the queen.

Philip’s relationship with Diana grew to become sophisticated as her separation from Charles and their eventual divorce performed out in a collection of public battles that broken the monarchy’s standing.

It was broadly assumed that he was essential of Diana’s use of broadcast interviews, together with one during which she accused Charles of infidelity. However letters between Philip and Diana launched after her loss of life confirmed that the older man was at occasions supportive of his daughter-in-law.

After Diana’s loss of life in a automotive crash in Paris in 1997, Philip needed to endure allegations by former Harrods proprietor Mohamed Al Fayed that he had plotted the princess’s loss of life. Al Fayed’s son, Dodi, additionally died within the crash.

Throughout a prolonged inquest into their deaths, a senior decide appearing as coroner instructed the jury that there was no proof to help the allegations in opposition to Philip, who didn’t publicly reply to Al Fayed’s fees.

Philip’s last years have been clouded by controversy and fissures within the royal household.

His third youngster, Prince Andrew, was embroiled in scandal over his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, an American financier who died in a New York jail in 2019 whereas awaiting trial on intercourse trafficking fees.

U.S. authorities accused Andrew of rebuffing their request to interview him as a witness, and Andrew confronted accusations from a lady who mentioned that she had a number of sexual encounters with the prince at Epstein’s behest. He denied the declare however withdrew from public royal duties amid the scandal.

Firstly of 2020, Philip’s grandson Harry and his spouse, the American former actress Meghan Markle, introduced they have been quitting royal duties and shifting to North America to flee intense media scrutiny that they discovered insufferable.

Born June 10, 1921, on the eating room desk at his mother and father’ residence on the Greek island of Corfu, Philip was the fifth youngster and solely son of Prince Andrew, youthful brother of the king of Greece. His grandfather had come from Denmark through the 1860s to be adopted by Greece because the nation’s monarch.

Philip’s mom was Princess Alice of Battenberg, a descendent of German princes. Like his future spouse, Elizabeth, Philip was additionally a great-grandchild of Queen Victoria.

When Philip was 18 months previous, his mother and father fled to France. His father, a military commander, had been tried after a devastating army defeat by the Turks. After British intervention, the Greek junta agreed to not sentence Andrew to loss of life if he left the nation.

The household was not precisely poor however, Philip mentioned: “We weren’t properly off” — they usually bought by with assist from family members. He later introduced solely his navy pay to a wedding with one of many world’s richest ladies.

Philip’s mother and father drifted aside when he was a toddler, and Andrew died in Monte Carlo in 1944. Alice based a non secular order that didn’t succeed and spent her previous age at Buckingham Palace. A reclusive determine, usually wearing a nun’s behavior, she was little seen by the British public. She died in 1969 and was posthumously honored by Britain and Israel for sheltering a Jewish household in Nazi-occupied Athens through the battle.

Philip went to highschool in Britain and entered Britannia Royal Naval Faculty Dartmouth as a cadet in 1939. He bought his first posting in 1940 however was not allowed close to the primary battle zone as a result of he was a international prince of a impartial nation. When the Italian invasion of Greece ended that neutrality, he joined the battle, serving on battleships within the Indian Ocean, the Mediterranean and the Pacific.

On go away in Britain, he visited his royal cousins, and, by the tip of battle, it was clear he was courting Princess Elizabeth, eldest youngster and inheritor of King George VI. Their engagement was introduced July 10, 1947, they usually have been married on Nov. 20.

After an preliminary flurry of disapproval that Elizabeth was marrying a foreigner, Philip’s athletic abilities, beauty and straight discuss lent a definite glamour to the royal household.

Elizabeth beamed in his presence, they usually had a son and daughter whereas she was nonetheless freed from the obligations of serving as monarch.

However King George VI died of most cancers in 1952 at age 56.

Philip had to surrender his naval profession, and his subservient standing was formally sealed on the coronation, when he knelt earlier than his spouse and pledged to turn into “her liege man of life and limb, and of earthly worship.”

The change in Philip’s life was dramatic.

“Inside the home, and no matter we did, it was collectively,” Philip informed biographer Basil Boothroyd of the years earlier than Elizabeth grew to become queen. “Individuals used to return to me and ask me what to do. In 1952, the entire thing modified, very, very significantly.”

Mentioned Boothroyd: “He had a alternative between simply tagging alongside, the second handshake within the receiving line, or discovering different retailers for his bursting energies.”

So Philip took over administration of the royal estates and expanded his travels to all corners of the world, constructing a task for himself.

From 1956, he was Patron and Chairman of Trustees for the biggest youth exercise program in Britain, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, a program of sensible, cultural and adventurous actions for younger people who exists in over 100 international locations. Tens of millions of British youngsters have had some contact with the award and its well-known tenting expeditions.

He painted, collected trendy artwork, was serious about industrial design and deliberate a backyard at Windsor Fortress. However, he as soon as mentioned, “the humanities world thinks of me as an uncultured, polo-playing clot.”

In time, the well-known blond hair thinned and the lengthy, fine-boned face acquired a couple of traces. He gave up polo however remained trim and vigorous.

To a pal’s suggestion that he ease up a bit, the prince is claimed to have replied, “Properly, what would I do? Sit round and knit?”

However when he turned 90 in 2011, Philip informed the BBC he was “winding down” his workload and he reckoned he had “completed my bit.”

The subsequent few years noticed occasional hospital stays as Philip’s well being flagged.

He introduced in Might 2017 that he deliberate to step again from royal duties, and he stopped scheduling new commitments — after roughly 22,000 royal engagements since his spouse’s coronation. In 2019, he gave up his driver’s license after a critical automotive crash.

Philip is survived by the queen and their 4 youngsters — Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward — in addition to eight grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren.

The grandchildren are Charles’ sons, Prince William and Prince Harry; Anne’s youngsters, Peter and Zara Phillips; Andrew’s daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie; and Edward’s youngsters, Woman Louise and Viscount Severn.

The good-grandchildren are William and Kate’s youngsters, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis; Harry and Meghan’s son, Archie; Savannah and Isla, the daughters of Peter Phillips and his spouse, Autumn; Mia and Lena, the daughters of Zara Phillips and her husband, Mike Tindall; and Eugenie’s son, August, together with her husband, Jack Brooksbank.

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