Britain’s Prince Philip passed away “peacefully at home” in Windsor Castle on Friday morning at the age of 99 just a few short weeks after a month-long hospitalization and heart surgery.
“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 palace wrote in its announcement of the prince’s passing. “His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.”
Prince Consort to Queen Elizabeth for the 70 years of her reign, the Duke of Edinburgh married then-Princess Elizabeth 74 years ago. He will be laid to rest next Saturday in a tradition-steeped but low-key ceremony that will begin at Windsor Castle.
The prince’s body will lie in state, but not in a location accessible to the public due to the current restrictions. At present England limits to 30 the number of people who can attend a funeral.
Prince Philip’s coffin will be carried by a Land Rover from Windsor Castle to St. George’s Chapel for the ceremony, in deference to the royal’s preference for driving himself, without a chauffeur. As the ceremony gets started, there will be a gun salute and a national moment of silence, scheduled for 3 pm on Saturday.
The royal household and the British government have asked the public not to gather and not to leave flowers at the residences, in accordance with COVID-19 restrictions. Nevertheless, many people left flowers at the castle’s Cambridge Gate.
A 41-round gun salute was held in multiple locations in London, Edinburgh and Australia.
Prince Philip was the longest-serving consort in the history of the United Kingdom.
Britain has officially entered an eight-day period of mourning which includes different types of observances by various entities, including flying the British flag at half-mast on all government buildings, moments of silence, wearing of black arm bands, donations to charity.
Prince Charles, eldest son and heir to the throne, spoke to reporters on Saturday about the passing of his “dear Papa,” saying that his father “spent the last 70 years giving the most remarkable, devoted service to the queen, to my family and the country and also to home.
“And as you can imagine, my family and I miss my father enormously,” Charles told the reporters camped out in front of his home. “He was a much loved and appreciated figure.
And apart from anything else, I can imagine, we are so deeply touched by the number of other people here and elsewhere around the world and the commonwealth who share our loss and our sorrow.
“My dear Papa was a very special person who I think above all else would have been amazed by the reaction and the touching things that have been said about him.
“And from that point of view we are, my family, deeply grateful for all that. It will sustain us in this particular loss and at this particularly sad time.”
Prince Harry will travel from the United States to Britain to attend his grandfather’s funeral. His wife Megan Markle, six months pregnant, will remain behind as she did not receive clearance from her doctor to travel.
The message on the home page of the couple’s Archewell charity website reads: “”In loving memory of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, 1921-2021. Thank you for your service … you will be greatly missed.”