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Prince Philip, husband of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, dies


Prince Philip at a public ceremony in July 2020 Associated Press/Photo by Adrian Dennis (file)

Prince Philip, husband of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, dies

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, died Friday. He was 99. An announcement from Buckingham Palace said he “passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.”

Born into an era of dying European monarchies, Philippos Andreou of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderberg-Glücksburg, prince of Greece and Denmark, was born in 1921, sixth in line to the Greek throne. Amid revolution and death threats, Philip’s father, Prince Andrea of Greece, fled into exile with his wife, Princess Alice of Battenberg, four daughters, and 18-month-old Philip. By the time Philip was 10 and living in a Scottish boarding school, his sisters had married, his mother was institutionalized, and his father moved to Monte Carlo with his mistress. Nonetheless, embodying the stoic pragmatism of his generation and adopted nation, Philip told a reporter in 2011 his childhood home was “wherever I happened to be.”

How did he and Elizabeth meet? While a cadet in the Royal Navy, he met 13-year-old Princess Elizabeth, a distant cousin, and began a long-distance courtship that lasted throughout World War II. Before marrying Elizabeth in 1947, Philip renounced his Greek legacy and became a naturalized British subject. In 1951, when his wife’s ascendency to the throne became imminent, he resigned his naval commission having risen to the rank of commander.

Philip’s tense relationship with the media reared its head often following public gaffes for which he was renowned. When visiting the Cayman Islands in 1994 he asked a resident, “Aren’t most of you descended from pirates?” But the press could only watch in admiration when Philip joined his grandchildren Prince William, 15, and Prince Harry, 12, during the funeral procession of their mother, Princess Diana, in 1997. The boys did not want to walk behind their mother’s coffin at first, but Philip feared they would later regret it if they didn’t. “If you like, I’ll walk with you,” he famously told them.

As royal consort to the queen—a title with no job description—Philip charted his own path, taking on the role of champion for more than 800 charities ranging from youth advocacy to the environment to technological advancements. He is survived by his wife, four children, eight grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.

Buckingham Palace said the queen is considering arrangements for Philip’s funeral in light of COVID-19. His body will not lie in state due to both the pandemic and his “no fuss” attitude, and the palace is following his wishes and not carrying out a state funeral. The ceremony will be at St. George’s Chapel, but no date has been set. Britain’s current pandemic restrictions mean only immediate family will likely attend.

Editor’s note: WORLD has updated this report since its original posting.


Bonnie Pritchett Bonnie is a correspondent for WORLD. She is a graduate of World Journalism Institute and the University of Texas School of Journalism. Bonnie resides with her family in League City, Texas.

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Ann Marshall

I appreciate very much the balance this article maintains toward the legacy of Prince Phillip. He had admirable qualities but certain of his remarks go well beyond the gaffe category and land solidly in downright troubling territory. I hope it is well with his soul. 

Sawgunner

I always thought of the character Harvey Korman depicted as the spouse of Carol Burnett's queen in those royal family skits. We must now concede had this man been head of the palace instead of George III I might perhaps be posting this as Sir Bradley. Though I'm fairly certain no Irishman would ever accept peerage from the Crown.