Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, the occasionally irascible but always stalwart husband of Queen Elizabeth II and Britain’s oldest and longest-serving royal spouse in 10 centuries, has died. He was 99.
Buckingham Palace announced he died Friday morning at Windsor Castle.
“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,” the statement read. “His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.”
His death is a personal loss to the monarch and to his family, and a substantial one: Most British historians and commentators believe Philip was one of the keys to the queen’s enduring (69 years and counting) success as a monarch. The queen herself famously described him as her “strength and stay.”
“Irreplaceable,” as one of his admirers summed up in a recent film documentary, “The Real Prince Philip.”
But as royal consort, Philip’s passing does not affect the royal succession nor the British government. Funeral arrangements were not immediately announced but royal funerals are routinely planned years in advance. Philip’s funeral plan is known as Operation Forth Bridge.
As husband of the sovereign, the duke is entitled to a state funeral, but he has expressed his preference for a private, military-style funeral at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle and burial nearby at Frogmore Gardens, where his great-great grandparents, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, are interred.
Philip, who turned 99 in June 2020, had been in isolation with the queen at Windsor Castle, at Balmoral Castle in Scotland or at Wood Farm at Sandringham since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But he was photographed in public twice in July 2020: He appeared with the queen at the private wedding of their granddaughter, Princess Beatrice, on July 17 on the Windsor Castle estate, and he appeared on the castle Quadrangle for a ceremonial hand over of his role as Colonel in Chief of The Rifles military regiment.
Both he and the Queen received their COVID-19 vaccines in January 2021.