TOPLINE Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II and the longest-serving consort of a monarch in the British royal family, died on Friday weeks before his 100th birthday, Buckingham Palace said in a statement.
“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,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement Friday.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s death comes after he spent weeks at London hospitals as “a precautionary measure” for a pre-existing heart condition and underwent a heart procedure in March, before later being released.
Prince Phillip’s health had been the subject of public speculation for years; in January 2019, he was involved in a car accident near Sandringham after which he voluntarily gave up his driving license.
In December of that year, he was hospitalized for several days in another “precautionary measure” to treat an unspecified pre-existing condition, Buckingham Palace said in a statement at the time, but was released on Christmas Eve.
Prince Philip retired from official royal duties in 2017, after taking part in 22,220 public engagements since Queen Elizabeth took the throne in 1952.
His last public appearance before his death was in July, when he took part in a ceremony at Windsor Castle to transfer a symbolic military role to Camilla, his son Prince Charles’ wife.
A great-great-grandchild of Queen Victoria, Prince Phillip was born June 10, 1921 in Corfu, Greece, the nephew of King Constantine I of Greece and in the line of succession to the thrones of both Greece and Denmark. After the Greco-Turkish War, the Greek king was forced to abdicate and the royal family fled Greece by boat, with 18-month-old Prince Phillip reportedly smuggled aboard in an orange crate. From then, he was shuffled around Europe and lived with various royal family members. After serving in the British forces in World War II, Prince Phillip married the future Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster Abbey in 1947. They had four children together; Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, along with eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. Known for his unfussy approach and sometimes offensive one-liners, Prince Phillip was a patron of more than 700 charitable organizations, many involving conservation, engineering and the outdoors.
The death of the Duke of Edinburgh is the latest hurdle in what has been a trying few years for the British Royal Family. The year 2019 saw Prince Andrew bow out of royal duties in November in the wake of public outcry after he defended his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein in what was called a “car crash” television interview with the BBC. In March 2020, Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, carried out their final spree of engagements as senior members of the royal family before stepping away to live a more independent life in the U.S., where Meghan is from. In March, during Prince Phillip’s final hospitalization, Harry and Meghan did a bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey in which they alleged Buckingham Palace treated Meghan unfairly and refused to allow her to seek treatment for her mental health. Harry told Winfrey relatives of his expressed concerns about the skin tone of his son, Archie, while Meghan was pregnant with him. Winfrey later shared Harry said neither of his grandparents, Queen Elizabeth II or Prince Phillip, made the comments.
By Carlie Porterfield, Forbes Staff