Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and husband of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II for more than 70 years, has died at age 99.
Buckingham Palace confirmed his passing in a statement Friday.
“It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen has announced the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh,” the statement reads. “His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.”
The Duke of Edinburgh had been hospitalized earlier this year, and underwent surgery for a pre-existing heart condition in March. He left the hospital March 16 and joined the queen at Windsor Castle to recuperate.
Born into both the Greek and Danish royal families, Philip lived his early years in Greece until his family was exiled from the country when he was a baby. Over the years, he was educated in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom before he joined the British Royal Navy in 1939, at age 18. In July of the same year, he began writing to then-13-year-old Princess Elizabeth, following their first meeting in 1934. Philip went on to serve with distinction in the Mediterranean and Pacific Fleets during World War II.
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.— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) April 9, 2021
His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle. pic.twitter.com/XOIDQqlFPn
Having gained permission from Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, the engagement of Philip and Elizabeth was announced in July 1947. Before the announcement, Philip abandoned his Greek and Danish titles and styles, becoming a naturalized British subject, and was granted the style His Royal Highness and created Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, and Baron Greenwich by King George VI. Philip and Elizabeth were married on Nov. 20, 1947. After Elizabeth’s coronation in 1952, Philip, a commander by that point, left active military service and was formally made a British prince in 1957. Though their marriage was reportedly tumultuous at times, the couple remained married for nearly 74 years.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh married in 1947. | CREDIT: TIM GRAHAM PHOTO LIBRARY VIA GETTY IMAGES
Over the years, Prince Philip remained mostly in good health, having given up smoking on marrying Queen Elizabeth and having always been a keen sportsman. On doctor’s advice, the duke missed events marking a Battle of Jutland anniversary in 2016, before retiring from public duties in 2017, at age 96, having completed 22,219 solo engagements since 1952. Philip was admitted to hospital a handful of times to sometimes for precautionary reasons receive and others to receive treatment for a pre-existing condition or other health conditions, including a hip replacement. His final stay at King Edward VII Hospital came in February 2021, when he was admitted as a precautionary measure on the advice of his doctor. He remained in the hospital for 28 days for observation and rest. His illness was not believed to be related to COVID-19.
During his lifetime, the Duke was portrayed often on screen, including by Stewart Granger in The Royal Romance of Charles and Diana and Christopher Lee in Charles & Diana: A Royal Love Story both in 1982. More recently, he was played by James Cromwell in 2006 film The Queen and both Matt Smith and Tobias Menzies in Netflix’s The Crown, from 2016 onwards. Jonathan Pryce will continue the role in the final two seasons of the regal drama.
Philip is survived by the queen and their four children Charles, Prince of Wales; Anne, Princess Royal; Prince Andrew, Duke of York; and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex; eight grandchildren Prince William; Prince Harry; Princess Beatrice; Princess Eugenie; Zara Tindall; Peter Phillips; Lady Louise Windsor; and James, Viscount Severn, and nine great-grandchildren.
At 99, Prince Philip was the oldest ever male member of the British royal family.