UK mourns Prince Philip who dies at 99

2021-04-10 08:54:53China Daily Editor : Mo Hong'e ECNS App Download

Seven decades of marriage made him longest-serving consort of monarch 

The death of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, at the age of 99, was announced by Buckingham Palace on Friday.

"His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle," said a statement issued on behalf of the royal family. "Further announcements will be made in due course. The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss."

Calling him a "much-loved and highly respected public figure",British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement: "Prince Philip earned the affection of generations here in the United Kingdom, across the Commonwealth and around the world."

His passing away brings the curtain down on a remarkable public life, an enduring private marriage, and an era of huge transformation in British social and national history.

Prince Philip married his third cousin, the future Queen Elizabeth II, at Westminster Abbey in 1947, and he went on to become the longest-serving consort of any monarch in British history, accompanying his wife on her royal duties around the country and the world, including 1986's historic first trip to China, while always, as protocol dictated, walking just behind her.

He also had a busy life of his own, championing many causes and charities, including setting up the hugely successful Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme, aimed at encouraging schoolchildren to take part in extracurricular, character-building activities, such as charity work and outdoor pursuits.

When he retired from public life in August 2017, the records showed that in addition to accompanying the Queen, the Prince had attended 22,219 public events on his own.

He has busied himself with his royal duties and with promoting the causes that were close to his heart. These included, in addition to the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme established in the 1950s, the World Wild for Nature, and the British Heart Foundation. He was also passionate about sailing and equestrian sports.

Bizarre but true story

Away from formal duties, there were other slightly less serious parts of his life that played a major role in shaping the public perception of the duke.

One was the bizarre but true story of him being regarded as a living god by an island tribe living in the South Pacific territory of Vanuatu, where the Yaohnanen people worshipped Philip as a descendant of their spirit ancestors. When he heard of the Prince Philip Movement, he sent its devotees a signed photo-and in return received a traditional pig-killing club.

His habit of making what could best be described as undiplomatic and politically incorrect comments, often on overseas trips, became the source of many long-running jokes back in Britain.

But whatever ill-advised remarks he may have made, he never let down the woman he loved and to whom he devoted so many years of his life.


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