International

Prince Philip dies

───   13:12 Fri, 09 Apr 2021

Prince Philip dies | News Article
Prince Philip/Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Prince Philip, the longest-serving royal consort in British history, had died, according to the royal family. He was 99 years old.

"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," the family said in a statement.

Last month, he had been hospitalized since being admitted to the private King Edward VII's Hospital in London on Feb. 16, where he was treated for an infection.

He was later transferred to a specialized cardiac care hospital, St. Bartholomew's, for a short stay, before returning to King Edward VII's.

Philip's illness was not believed to be related to the coronavirus. Both Philip and Elizabeth received COVID-19 vaccinations in January and chose to publicize the matter to encourage others to also take the vaccine.
Although he enjoyed good health well into old age, Philip has had heart issues in the past. In 2011, he was rushed to a hospital by helicopter after suffering chest pains and was treated for a blocked coronary artery.

The longest-serving royal consort in British history, Philip married the then-Princess Elizabeth in 1947.

Prince Philip was born in Greece in 1921. He was the nephew of the then Greek King, Constantine I, although confusingly he has no Greek blood. He is of German, Danish and Russian descent. In 1922 his family was forced to flee after a coup deposed the royal family. A baby Philip was rushed off the island of Corfu sailing away on a British ship (HMS Calypso), reportedly in an orange crate as a make shift crib. They moved to France but after his parents' marriage unravelled and his mother had a nervous breakdown, Philip had an itinerant childhood. He was moved from relation to relation during the holidays from his boarding schools in the UK.

He joined the British navy in 1939 and had a successful career, and a "good war" but gave it up in 1951 to accompany his wife in her duties. He first met Elizabeth in 1934 at a wedding, but they caught each other's eye in 1939 when she visited his naval academy.

He was known as Prince Philip of Greece until he became a British subject in 1947 and dropped his titles, becoming Philip Mountbatten. Despite this he was met with animosity from some members of British high society as he was considered foreign and penniless. Upon his marriage he became the Duke of Edinburgh. In 1957 the Queen made Philip a "Prince of the United Kingdom." The prince was a devoted companion to the Queen, accompanying her on official engagements well into old age. During her Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012, when Philip was 90, he stood by her for an 80-minute journey along the Thames, and the prince then suffered a bladder infection which meant he had to miss other events.

He officially retired from royal duties in 2017. He was 96. By the time of his retirement in August 2017, he had carried out more than 22,219 solo engagements and more than 630 solo overseas visits.

Prince Philip was a pioneer of conservation and was the founding president of the Worldwide Wildlife Fund. He launched the Duke of Edinburgh Awards in 1956. They are aimed at encouraging young people to serve their communities, experience adventure and develop and learn outside of the classroom. He encouraged Prince Charles to marry Diana and tried to help them both when their marriage began to unravel. He was fiercely protective of Prince William and Prince Harry when their mother died, famously offering to walk with them behind her coffin.

Princess Anne is widely acknowledged to have been particularly close to her father. He had a difficult relationship with his first child, Prince Charles. He was well known for making the Queen laugh and sometimes getting into trouble for his indiscreet or irreverent sense of humour. The British public loved him for these gaffes. He had a pilot's licence and used to fly himself around. He loved carriage driving and he also painted, and was a keen sportsman - playing polo and cricket, shooting, deer stalking and sailing.

He was the first member of the royal family to be interviewed on television (by the BBC's Richard Dimbleby in 1961). He also lobbied hard for Queen Elizabeth's coronation to be televised and was instrumental in the royal family's 1969 documentary Royal Family. Prince Philip was also considered divine by a community on the South Pacific island of Tanna, in Vanuatu. The local tribe first started worshipping him sometime in the 1960s but when Philip and the Queen visited in 1974 their veneration increased.

Prince Philip is survived by the queen, four children, eight grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.


ABC

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