The Queen’s husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, has died, Buckingham Palace has announced.
Prince Philip, 99, was the longest-serving consort in British history.
The duke and the Queen were married for more than 70 years and Philip dedicated decades of his life to royal duty, serving the nation at the monarch’s side.
He officially retired from public engagements in the summer of 2017.
The Palace said in a statement: “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 made in due course.
“The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.”
In Canberra, Governor General David Hurley issued a statement that began:
“The Governor-General is deeply saddened to advise Australians that His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, has passed away.
“It is my solemn and melancholy duty to advise that His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, has passed away earlier today.
“I have informed the Prime Minister, and I understand the Government will make further announcements concerning funeral arrangements and how Australians can express their condolences, in due course.”
The flag’s sad signal
The first indication of the royal loss came not with the official statement but the lowering of the flag atop Buckingham Palace at noon London time.
“That was really the confirmation, I think, that Prince Philip had passed away, that note came very shortly afterwards, that he had passed away peacefully at Windsor Castle this morning, so that information [is] now filtering through to the British people,” ABC correspondent Samantha Hawley reported.
“We are seeing now a bit of a crowd building outside of Buckingham Palace, and the note, of course, has gone up on the gates there to confirm that Prince Philip has died.
“Now, we have heard, of course, from Boris Johnson this morning saying that he basically had the affection of generations and generations of people around the world, not only here in Britain and not only in Commonwealth countries but around the world. That his legacy will be wide.”
Time of turmoil
The death of the duke comes in the midst of the worst public health crisis for generations as Britain and countries around the globe reel from the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
It has also taken place in the aftermath of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s bombshell Oprah Winfrey interview, which left the monarchy in turmoil after Meghan Markle accused an unnamed royal of racism and the institution of failing to help her when she was wanted to take her own life.
Philip spent a month in hospital, before returning to Windsor Castle on March 16, to be reunited with the Queen.
He initially received care for an infection but then had heart surgery for a pre-existing condition.
The duke had looked gaunt as he was driven away from King Edward VII’s Hospital in central London, having been pushed in a wheelchair to the waiting car.
Philip – father to heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles, Princess Anne and princes Andrew and Edward – was just two months shy of his 100th birthday in June.
He spent much of the COVID-19 crisis staying with the Queen at Windsor in HMS Bubble – the nickname given to the couple’s reduced household of devoted staff during lockdown.