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The Royal Family have released a statement confirming that Prince Philip has passed away at the age of 99 at Windsor Castle.
The statement was posted on the gates of Buckingham Palace and on numerous social media outlets today and stated that “His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle,” though no other details of his death were revealed.
The prince retired to Windsor on the 16th of March after a month-long stay in St Bartholomew’s hospital in London where he underwent a successful procedure on a pre-existing heart condition.
Prince Philip was the longest-serving royal consort in history and he and the queen celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in November of 2017.
He first met Queen Elizabeth in 1939, when he was entrusted to entertain (then) Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret on a royal visit at Dartmouth Naval College, where he was a student.
After that he went on to enjoy a decorated Naval career, climbing the ranks to become the 1st Lieutenant of the HMS Wallace in 1942 at the age of 21 and 1st Lieutenant of the Fleet Destroyer HMS Whelp in 1944.
He served in WWII and was awarded the Greek War Cross of Valour for his participation in the Battle of Crete.
After renouncing his rights to the Greek throne and becoming a British subject, he and the (soon to be) Queen Elizabeth married in November 1947 at Westminster, when he was awarded the title Duke of Edinburgh.
He accepted the role of royal consort in 1953 after the death of George VI, retiring from his military career and swearing to be the queen’s “liege man of life and limb.”
He lived a vibrant life as a royal consort; he was inseparable from the queen’s side in public appearances, though he also pursued his own avenues in the role, embarking on over 22,000 solo engagements and visiting 143 countries.
He was involved in over 750 organisations, carrying out extensive charity work and being a patron for environmental activism as President Emeritus of WWF International.
However, his life was not without controversy due to his numerous racist, sexist and classist remarks, which – for some – made him a problematic figure, whilst for others, he was seen as a product of his generation.
Perhaps his most notoriously beneficial activity was the creation of the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme, which, since 1956, has encouraged young people aged 14-25 to engage in physical and volunteering activities.
He stepped down from royal duties in 2017.
Operation Forth Bridge is the name for the events which would follow his death; the announcement of his death by the Royal Family and by the press was the first step in the operation, however – as the royal statement comments – further announcements surrounding what will happen “will be made in due course.”
A national mourning period of eight days is expected to take place; the queen will be absent from public appearances and broadcasts, no laws will be made during the mourning period and all political campaigning will be postponed.
In addition, details will be released to the public with instructions on the half-masting of all flags, and news reporters will wear black, however a number of the expected events are likely to be changed or omitted due to the current Coronavirus restrictions.
The traditional ‘Lying in State’ at Westminster also seems likely to be omitted for the prince as he said in the past that he would prefer a more private military-style funeral at Windsor.
Due to the fact that Prince Philip was never in line to the throne and didn’t hold the title of King, the monarchy still remains with Queen Elizabeth and succession remains the same, with Prince Charles, being next in line for the throne.
Nevertheless, the loss of the Queen’s royal consort and husband will surely be felt through the family whilst Prime Minister Boris Johnson noted that the prince will be remembered for his role as the longest-serving royal consort, his WWII service, environmental activism and work with the Duke of Edinburgh award – a large collection of accolades to go along with his roles of husband and father.