Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, died aged 99, Buckingham Palace announced on Friday (April 9). The prince married Princess Elizabeth in 1947, five years before she became Queen, and was the longest-serving royal consort in British history.
The couple had four children, eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. A statement from Buckingham Palace said: “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. His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.”
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As male consort to a female sovereign, Prince Philip had no constitutional position.
The duke had been admitted to the King Edward VII Hospital in London hospital on February 17 after feeling unwell. The palace later confirmed that he was being treated for an infection. On March 1, he was transferred to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, also in London, where doctors continued to treat the infection as well as undertake testing for a pre-existing heart condition. After heart surgery, the duke was discharged from hospital in mid-March.
Prince Philip of Greece was born on June 10, 1921 on the island of Corfu. His birth certificate shows the date as May 28, 1921, as Greece had not then adopted the Gregorian calendar, BBC reported
His father was Prince Andrew of Greece, a younger son of King George I of the Hellenes. His mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, was the eldest child of Prince Louis of Battenberg and sister of Earl Mountbatten of Burma. After a coup d’etat in 1922, his father was banished from Greece by a revolutionary court.
He channeled some of his energies into an active social life. He and a group of male friends met every week in rooms above a restaurant in Soho, central London. One area in which the duke was given free rein to exercise his authority was in the family, although he lost the battle over the name his children would carry.
Prince Philip visited India four times, thrice as the consort of Queen Elizabeth II, but hit the headlines during his last visit in 1997 for his comments on the number of casualties in the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre.
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India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru received Prince Philip during his first visit in January 1959. He was then better known in New Delhi as the nephew of Louis Mountbatten, India’s last viceroy. Accompanied Queen Elizabeth, he visited India in 1961, 1983 and 1997. They toured Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata in 1961, and returned in 1983 for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
The British news media have often compiled Prince Philip’s gaffes over the decades.