Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth, has died at the age of 99. Buckingham Palace announced the sad news on Friday 9 April. In a statement, the palace said: “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen has announced 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 Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss. Further announcements will be made in due course.”
The Duke of Edinburgh, who celebrated his 99th birthday last June, retired from royal duties in 2017 after having carried out 22,219 solo engagements since 1952. The Queen’s husband kept a low profile after retiring, though he stepped out to attend his grandchildren Prince Harry and Princess Eugenie’s respective weddings in 2018, as well as Lady Gabriella Windsor and Thomas Kingston's nuptials in 2019.
Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh celebrated 73 years of marriage in 2020. The couple met for the first time in 1934 at Prince Philip’s cousin Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark’s wedding to Prince George, the Duke of Kent, who was Elizabeth’s uncle. The then-Princess is said to have become smitten with her future husband after visiting the Royal Navy College in 1939 when she was 13 and he was an 18-year-old navy cadet. Elizabeth’s cousin Margaret Rhodes wrote in her autobiography that the Queen “was truly in love from the very beginning.”
Elizabeth and Philip officially announced their engagement in July 1947 and were married four months later at Westminster Abbey. The couple welcomed their first child Prince Charles in 1948, followed by Princess Anne (1950), Prince Andrew (1960) and Prince Edward (1964). In 2017, the monarch and Duke became the first royal couple in British history to reach 70 years of marriage.
In a speech on her golden wedding anniversary in 1997, the Queen praised her husband saying, “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."
In his later years, Philip faced several health scares. In February of 2021, the Duke was admitted to King Edward VII Hospital as a “precautionary measure” after “feeling unwell.” In 2019, the monarch’s husband was also admitted to the hospital as a “precautionary measure,” where he received “treatment and observation for a pre-existing,” and he underwent a hip replacement operation in 2018.