Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, the occasionally irascible but always stalwart husband of Queen Elizabeth II and Britain’s oldest and longest-serving royal spouse in 10 centuries, has died. He was 99.
Buckingham Palace announced he died Friday morning at Windsor Castle.
“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,” the statement read. “His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.”
His death is a personal loss to the monarch and to his family, and a substantial one: Most British historians and commentators believe Philip was one of the keys to the queen’s enduring (69 years and counting) success as a monarch. The queen herself famously described him as her “strength and stay.”
“Irreplaceable,” as one of his admirers summed up in a recent film documentary, “The Real Prince Philip.”
But as royal consort, Philip’s passing does not affect the royal succession nor the British government. Funeral arrangements were not immediately announced but royal funerals are routinely planned years in advance. Philip’s funeral plan is known as Operation Forth Bridge.
As husband of the sovereign, the duke is entitled to a state funeral, but he has expressed his preference for a private, military-style funeral at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle and burial nearby at Frogmore Gardens, where his great-great grandparents, Queen Victoria and Prince…