Tributes have flooded in for Prince Philip today after the devastating news ‘the brightest jewel in the Queen’s crown’ died this morning aged 99.
Flags were lowered across the country today as a sign of respect, with Buckingham Palace and Downing Street leading the way.
Meanwhile flowers were carefully placed in front of the gates to the central London palace and at Windsor, where notices shared the news of Philip’s death.
He spent his final days at Windsor Castle with his wife after a 28-night stay in hospital for an infection and a pre-existing heart condition.
As the longest serving consort in British history, the Prince was a popular but often misunderstood figure in the eyes of the public.
Some people found his gaffes and outbursts offensive while most believed he was comical – but millions across the country united in grief at his death today.
Hundreds revealed the heartbreaking news had left them in tears while others could not believe the Duke had died having been a figure throughout their lives.
Windsor Castle is pictured as crowds start to gather outside following the announcement that HRH Prince Philip has died today
A woman arrives to lay a bunch of flowers outside Buckingham Palace in central London on Friday afternoon after the announcement of the death of Prince Philip
A woman lays a bunch of flowers at the gates of Buckingham Palace in central London on Friday afternoon after the announcement of the death of Philip
People are pictured gathering outside Buckingham Palace in central London on Friday afternoon after the announcement of his death
Flags were lowered across the country today as a sign of respect to the Duke, with Buckingham Palace (pictured) and Downing Street leading the way
Union Flags fly at half-mast on top of Downing Street after it was announced Prince Philip died on Friday morning aged 99
Britons expressed their sorrow at the loss of the Duke of Edinburgh and passed on their good wishes to the Queen and the rest of the Royal Family
A woman called Charlotte posted on Twitter: ‘What a life you led. I don’t think the Queen could have done it without you. You were the brightest jewel in her crown.’
Corra Linn wrote: ‘To give you an idea of my emotional state right now, I spent the morning crying to Fearless and it looks like I’ll be spending my afternoon crying about Prince Philip.’
A woman called Elizabeth posted: ‘Am not embarrassed to say I’m crying, and have poured a glass of Fizz to toast his amazing life of service Rest in Peace, Prince Philip.’
Andy Oddy posted: ‘Politics aside you have to feel for the Queen as a human being. I recall when my own grandfather died aged 94 – it devastated my Gran after 72 years together.’
A man called Henry added: ‘Love is forever Red heart. No matter what your views are on the #RoyalFamily at this time Queen Elizabeth has just lost her soul mate of 73 years.
‘I can’t begin to imagine how devastated she must be feeling inside right now. Broken heart. Rest in eternal peace #PrincePhilip.’
The Royal Butler tweeted: ‘I am saddened to learn of the death of HRH Prince Philip The Duke of Edinburgh. A gentleman who I was proud to have served during my time in the Royal Household. I send my condolences to the Royal Family.’
Royal biographer Ingrid Stewart posted: ‘A very sad day indeed. Sending condolences to Her Majesty The Queen on the passing of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. He has been a constant strength and guide during her reign.’
Kate Jamieson put: ‘So, very sad to hear that Prince Philip has died. A man dedicated to Queen and Country in more ways than one. Fair winds and following seas.’
Emma Webb wrote: ‘No words can describe how sad I am to hear of Prince Philip’s death. The absolute model of duty, kindness and good humour. The longest serving consort in British history.
‘When I met him as a nervous child, he made me laugh and I’ve adored him ever since. A truly Great Man.’
Rebekha Fox said: ‘ So desperately sad to hear that Prince Philip has died. Surprised to find myself in tears.’ Matt Dukes wrote: ‘Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh.’ He added: ‘Our thoughts & prayers are with the Queen & the Royal Family at this very sad time.’
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.’
The death of the duke comes in the midst of the worst public health crisis for generations as the UK 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 interview which left the monarchy in crisis after Meghan accused an unnamed royal of racism and the institution of failing to help her when she was suicidal.
Philip had returned to Windsor Castle on March 16 to be reunited with the Queen after spending a month in hospital – his longest ever stay. He initially received care for an infection but then underwent heart surgery for a pre-existing condition.
Sam Flemming wrote: ‘Sad news today. Prince Philip served this country in WW2 and continued to serve with various charities and initiatives in peacetime.’
Dr Renier Palland put: ‘I am so shocked. Prince Philip passed away aged 99. Jeez. He lived an insane life. Philip was a world milestone no matter who or what he was/did. My heart is broken.’
Romana Tabak said: ‘I am truly sorry to hear this sad news. May God give him eternal rest.’ Tamma Simpson added: ‘My heartfelt prayers to Queen Elizabeth for the death of her husband Prince Philip.’
One man posted: ‘Long live his royal highness. Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, husband of the Queen. Rest in Peace.’
Another posted: ‘I am deeply saddened to learn of the death of Prince Philip this morning. My thoughts are with the whole Royal Family.’
A woman added: ‘Rest well Duke of Edinburgh. Prince Philip, you will be forever remembered in the nation’s hearts.’
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 the Prince of Wales, the Princess Royal, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex – was just two months away from 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.
Philip briefly stepped out of retirement in July 2020 when he carried out a rare official public engagement at Windsor.
The duke looked in fine form as he made his way down the steps to the Castle’s quadrangle for a socially distanced ceremony to hand over his Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles role to the Duchess of Cornwall, who was almost 100 miles away at Highgrove.
He showed he had lost none of his mischievous sense of humour when he joked with one of the soldiers about their fitness levels.