Members of the public have laid flowers outside royal residences and gun salutes were fired across the United Kingdom to mark the death of Prince Philip.
The British military has fired gun salutes across the United Kingdom to mark the death of Prince Philip as tributes flooded in for a man who was a pillar of strength for Queen Elizabeth during her record-breaking reign.
Members of the public laid flowers outside royal residences, paying their respects to the Duke of Edinburgh, who died on Friday aged 99.
On its official Twitter feed, the Royal Family published a tribute paid by the Queen to her husband on their 50th wedding anniversary in 1997.
“He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and 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,” she said. The Queen has been on the throne for 69 years.
The armed forces marked Prince Philip’s death at noon on Saturday (local time) with a Death Gun Salute.
Artillery units in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast and Gibraltar, and some navy warships, fired their guns.
Buckingham Palace is expected to announce details of the funeral later on Saturday.
It is likely to be a small, private affair, stripped of the grandeur of traditional royal occasions by COVID-19 restrictions and by the prince’s own dislike of people making a fuss.
Despite a request from the Royal Family for the public to obey pandemic social distancing rules and avoid visits to its residences, people laid cards and bouquets outside Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace through the night.
“What a life! Thank you for serving our country,” read one tribute outside Buckingham Palace.
The tenor bell at London’s Westminster Abbey tolled 99 times, a traditional marking of the death of a Royal Family member.
Flags at Buckingham Palace and at government buildings across Britain were lowered to half-mast and billboard operators replaced adverts with a photo and tribute to the late Prince.
Tributes pour in from world leaders
Earlier on Friday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson led the nation’s condolences, acclaiming Prince Philip’s “extraordinary life and work” and noting he had “earned the affection of generations” at home and around the world.
Mr Johnson said despite his many achievements, including serving in the Royal Navy during World War II, the Duke of Edinburgh would be best remembered for his “steadfast support” for the queen.
“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,” the British premier said from Downing Street.
Leaders from across Britain and the political spectrum echoed Mr Johnson – including tributes from every living former prime minister.
Tony Blair said the 99 year old should be remembered and celebrated “as a man of foresight, determination and courage” while John Major praised him as “modest to the core” and epitomising “the British spirit”.
David Cameron called his death “desperately sad news” and Theresa May added “the nation and the entire Commonwealth owe Prince Philip an extraordinary debt of gratitude for a distinguished life of service”.
The heads of the UK’s devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all sent condolence messages to the monarch, with Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford saying he had “served the crown with selfless devotion”.
Meanwhile main opposition Labour leader Keir Starmer hailed his 73-year marriage to the queen “a symbol of strength, stability and hope”.
“It was a partnership that inspired millions in Britain and beyond,” he added.
Campaigning by all political parties for the 6 May local elections was suspended as a mark of respect.
Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said he was praying God would comfort the queen, who is the head of the Church of England.
Praising Prince Philip for providing “an outstanding example of Christian service”, he said he leaves behind an “enormous” legacy, including the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme for young people, and charitable and conservation work.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, head of the Catholic church in England and Wales, added he was praying for the royal family and “the repose of the soul” of the duke “at this moment of sadness and loss.
“How much we will miss Prince Philip’s presence and character, so full of life and vigour,” he said.
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis offered his “profound condolences” on behalf of Britain’s Jewish communities, noting Prince Philip’s connections to Israel where his mother was buried and he visited in 1994.
Mohammed Shafiq, head of the Ramadhan Foundation, noted he “served with distinction” in WWII fighting alongside Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs around the world and had “strengthened the nation”.
The British Army tweeted: “It is with deep sorrow that we received the news of the death of His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh.”
‘An exemplary life defined by bravery’
Current and former world leaders have joined a chorus of condolences from around the world.
US President Joe Biden paid tribute to Prince Philip as a selfless servant of Britain and its people.
“From his service during World War II, to his 73 years alongside the Queen, and his entire life in the public eye – Prince Philip gladly dedicated himself to the people of the UK, the Commonwealth, and to his family,” Mr Biden said in a statement.
On Facebook former president Barack Obama praised Prince Philip as someone who took his job as husband to the Queen with selflessness.
“At the queen’s side or trailing the customary two steps behind, Prince Philip showed the world what it meant to be a supportive husband to a powerful woman.”
Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin said he was “saddened” by Prince Philip’s death, adding: “Our thoughts and prayers are with Queen Elizabeth and the people of the United Kingdom.”
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Prince Philip’s death will be “hugely significant” for her country – one he visited many times across six decades.
She ordered government and naval flags to fly at half-mast, while the New Zealand army will fire a 41-gun salute from Point Jermingham in Wellington on Sunday at noon.
“It goes without saying this is a sad time. On behalf of the New Zealand people, we share our condolences,” she said.
“It will be a hugely significant loss for New Zealand and those organisations supported by Prince Philip.”
French President Emmanuel Macron also paid tribute to the Prince and sent his condolences to the Queen.
Prince Philip “lived an exemplary life defined by bravery, a sense of duty and commitment to youth and the environment”, he said on Twitter.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said his death filled her with “great sadness”, sending her thoughts to the Queen.
“His friendship with Germany, his straightforward nature and his sense of duty will remain unforgotten,” Ms Merkel said.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called Prince Philip a “a man of great purpose and conviction, who was motivated by a sense of duty to others”, in a tribute on behalf of his Commonwealth nation.
He will be “fondly remembered as a constant in the life of our Queen”, he said.
EU Commission head Ursula von der Leyen said on Twitter she was “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.”
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to the Prince’s long career, saying his “thoughts are with the British people and the Royal family”.
“He had a distinguished career in the military and was at the forefront of many community service initiatives. May his soul rest in peace,” he tweeted.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his “deepest condolences”.
“Prince Philip was the consummate public servant and will be much missed in Israel and across the world,” he wrote.
Prince Philip was the first British royal to visit Israel in 1994. His mother Princess Alice is buried in a church on the Mount of Olives.
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta said the Duke of Edinburgh had been a unifying figure, calling him a “great man”.
“His Royal Highness Prince Philip has been a towering symbol of family values and the unity of the British people as well as the entire global community.”
Prince Philip’s wife Elizabeth became queen in 1952 while on a trip to Kenya when her father passed away.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan praised the Duke for his support for the second-largest country in the Commonwealth, which he last visited with the Queen in 1997 for a six-day tour.
“Britain has lost a wise elder who was imbued with a unique spirit of public service,” he tweeted.
Russian President Vladimir Putin praised Prince Philip and wished Elizabeth “courage and mental fortitude in the face of a grievous and irreparable loss”.
“He rightfully enjoyed respect among the British and internationally,” a statement from the Kremlin cited Putin as saying.
Crowds pay tribute
Crowds of well-wishers flocked to Queen Elizabeth II’s Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle homes on Friday after news of her husband’s death was confirmed.
Individuals and groups of people, many families with young children, gathered to see the formal announcement pinned to the gates of the 94-year-old monarch’s central London home.
Single daffodils were threaded through the black railings of Buckingham Palace. Others left bouquets of flowers and Union Jack flags on the pavement, as bright spring sunshine turned to clouds overhead.
As the news spread, the mood was sombre, with only the sound of muted conversation, and the hum of passing traffic breaking the silence. Some members of the public looked visibly moved.
Buckingham Palace – a central London landmark – became one of the focal points for public mourning after the death of Diana, princess of Wales, in 1997.
Nearby Clarence House, just a short distance up The Mall, was also thronged with well-wishers when the queen’s mother, also called Queen Elizabeth, died aged 101 in 2002.
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