Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and husband to Queen Elizabeth II, has died at the age of 99.
The Royal Family released a statement Friday which read: “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.
“Further announcements will be made in due course.
“The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.”
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. pic.twitter.com/XOIDQqlFPn
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) April 9, 2021
In recent years, Philip suffered from heart disease and other ailments including a bladder infection, and had largely stepped out of the public eye since he announced his retirement from royal duties in 2017.
The most notable public occurrence involving Philip since then was in 2019, when he was involved in a car accident near Sandringham estate. The crash resulted in the duke’s Land Rover being flipped on its side, and the woman in the other vehicle was left with a broken wrist. He was not injured, and not prosecuted after he willingly surrendered his driver’s licence.
Born in Corfu, Greece, on June 10, 1921, Philip was a member of the Danish and Greek royal families, as the son of Prince Andrew of Greece and Princess Alice of Battenberg.
He had four sisters: Cecilie, Sophie, Margarita and Theodora.
Philip’s early life was chaotic.
King Constantine I of Greece, his uncle, was forced to abdicate the throne, and the country’s military government arrested Philip’s father in 1922, when Philip was only one year old.
Constantine was later banished from Greece, and the family fled to France.
His mother was placed in a psychiatric facility in Switzerland and his father moved to Monte Carlo, where he had little contact with his family.
His sisters married and moved to Germany between 1930 and 1931.
Philip attended school in France, England, Germany and Scotland before he entered the Royal Naval College in 1939, according to a Royal Family biography. The college, at Dartmouth in western England, trains future naval officers.
It was at that time that King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, toured the college along with their daughters Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret. There, young Elizabeth, who was 13 at the time, grew fond of Philip and they started exchanging letters.
They were distant cousins, both being descended from Queen Victoria and, separately, a 19th-century king of Denmark.
During the Second World War, Philip served as a midshipman for six months aboard the battleship HMS Ramillies in 1940, and was later promoted to sub-lieutenant and eventually First Lieutenant aboard the destroyer HMS Wallace in 1942, when he was 21.
Philip asked King George VI for Elizabeth’s hand in marriage in 1946, but the king accepted only if he wait until she turned 21 to make it official. Their engagement wasn’t made public until July 1947 and they married later that year in Westminster Abbey.
He had to renounce his Greek title from his family in order to marry Elizabeth — an allegedly difficult struggle for the duke, as recently dramatized and showcased on Netflix series “The Crown”.
He assumed the titles of Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich.
Princess Elizabeth would become Queen Elizabeth II in 1952, ending Philip’s naval career — to his regret, he told the Independent in 1992.
Together, they would have four children: Prince Charles (b. 1948), Princess Anne (b. 1950), Prince Andrew (b. 1960) and Prince Edward (b. 1964).
Philip took on many roles and tasks after the Queen ascended the throne. They included creating the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in 1956.
The award, open to people aged 14 to 24 years of age, is considered the “world’s youth achievement award.” Its four elements are “Service, Skills, Physical Recreation and Adventurous Journey.”
As Duke of Edinburgh, Philip also served as president or patron to hundreds of organizations including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
In 2009, Philip became Britain’s longest-serving consort to a monarch, having been in the role for nearly 60 years at that point.
He has been at the Queen’s side through her many Commonwealth tours and state visits, though he has also travelled on his own.
He made dozens of visits to Canada, starting with a five-week tour in 1951. The most recent was in 2013.
Philip retired from public life in 2017 at age 96.
Over the years, his words and gaffes have also created controversy.
Once, during a WWF meeting, he said, “if it has got four legs and it’s not a chair, if it has got two wings and flies but is not an aeroplane and if it swims and it is not a submarine, the Cantonese will eat it.”
And on an official visit to China, he told British exchange students that they would “be all slitty-eyed” if they stayed there much longer, The Telegraph reported.
Philip also maintained strong interest in issues related to environmental conservation. He started raising awareness of humanity’s relationship with the environment after a visit to Antarctica and the South Atlantic between 1956 and 1957.
In June 2020, just ahead of his 99th birthday, a photo of Philip with the Queen was released as the pair isolated at Windsor Castle during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of this writing, details for public memorials or ceremonies have not been announced.
— With files from ET Canada’s Becca Longmire, Global News’ Chris Jancelewicz and The Associated Press