Boris Johnson pays tribute to Prince Philip after Duke of Edinburgh's death aged 99 – see PM’s statement in full
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has joined in tributes to Prince Philip as he pays his respects to ‘much-loved and highly-respected’ duke.
Speaking from a podium in Downing Street, Mr Johnson said: “He (Philip) was an environmentalist, and a champion of the natural world long before it was fashionable.
“With his Duke of Edinburgh awards scheme he shaped and inspired the lives of countless young people and at literally tens of thousands of events he fostered their hopes and encouraged their ambitions.
“We remember the duke for all of this and above all for his steadfast support for Her Majesty the Queen.
“Not just as her consort, by her side every day of her reign, but as her husband, her ‘strength and stay’, of more than 70 years.
“And it is to Her Majesty, and her family, that our nation’s thoughts must turn today.
“Because they have lost not just a much-loved and highly respected public figure, but a devoted husband and a proud and loving father, grandfather and, in recent years, great-grandfather.”
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.
The duke and the Queen were married for more than 70 years – making him the longest-serving consort in British history.
The Union Jack flag on Buckingham Palace is flying at half mast following the news of the Duke’s death, as tributes started to pour in.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said in a statement: “The United Kingdom has lost an extraordinary public servant in Prince Philip.
“Prince Philip dedicated his life to our country – from a distinguished career in the Royal Navy during the Second World War to his decades of service as the Duke of Edinburgh.
“However, he will be remembered most of all for his extraordinary commitment and devotion to the Queen.
“For more than seven decades, he has been at her side. Their marriage has been a symbol of strength, stability and hope, even as the world around them changed – most recently during the pandemic. It was a partnership that inspired millions in Britain and beyond.
“My thoughts are with the Queen, the Royal Family and the British people as our nation comes together to mourn and remember the life of Prince Philip.”
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “I am saddened by news that the Duke of Edinburgh has died. I send my personal and deepest condolences – and those of @scotgov and the people of Scotland – to Her Majesty The Queen and her family.”
Nicholas Soames, a former Conservative MP and the grandson of wartime prime minister Sir Winston Churchill said in a tweet: “The death of Prince Philip marks the passing of a truly remarkable man who lived a life of impeccable and dedicated service to his Queen and Country #aterriblelosstohisFamilyandhisCountry.”
Prince Philip had been in hospital for a month earlier this year and underwent heart surgery on March 3. He left the private King Edward VII's Hospital in central London on Tuesday, March 16.
The Duke officially retired from public engagements in the summer of 2017.