Minutes after 12 noon on Friday, London time, British television networks interrupted their programming to release a statement from Buckingham Palace. “With great regret, Her Majesty the Queen announces the death of her dear husband, His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the longest-lived royal consort in British history.
His Royal Highness passed away serenely this morning at Windsor Castle. There will be more releases in due course. The royal family along with people around the world mourn his loss. “The BBC presenter in charge of the reading in a slightly emotional voice was dressed in rigorous mourning.
Then there was silence and ‘God save the Queen ‘, the national anthem. From that moment on, in the United Kingdom and in the Commonwealth countries the flags flew at half mast. In the gate of the palace, the announcement of the royal death was displayed, as is tradition, although it was removed shortly after to avoid the influx of the public. The government called for people not to concentrate in the place, where very soon there were dozens of bouquets of flowers .
Philip of Edinburgh, the man who walked behind Elizabeth II for 70 years
The death of the Duke of Edinburgh was not a surprise. The deceased was 99 years old and health problems plagued him since 2017, when he abandoned the official obligations of the crown and public life. Since then he had suffered several hospitalizations.
On February 16, he was admitted once more and spent 28 days in the hospital. Little was reported about his ailments, or the severity of his condition. It was revealed that he was suffering from an infection. Later he was transferred to another hospital where he was operated on for a pre-existing heart problem.
Prince charleshe was the only one who came to visit him during the first week of treatment. Once discharged, he remained in Windsor Castle, where the sovereign currently resides and where death ended his days. His last public appearance , fragile and clearly deteriorated, was last July at a military ceremony in Windsor. During his retirement he had devoted himself to painting watercolors and writing letters.
Tributes and praises
The news of the death provoked a torrent of tributes and tributes . Prime Minister Boris Johnson appeared in mourning at the door of the Downing Street residence to “thank as a nation and kingdom, for the extraordinary life of Prince Philip” who must be remembered “above all, for his support. to her majesty the queen. ”
The Bishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, praised the qualities of the deceased, from which “inspiration and example” must be taken. Presidents and personalities around the world sent messages of condolence.
The official version on the life and work of the duke places him as the figure in which the sovereign could trust, especially in the critical moments of the longest reign in the history of the country. In him he would have found support during the divorces of three of the four children of the marriage, especially that of the Princes of Wales, or when Princess Diana died. ” Simply, he is and has been, my support and continues to be throughout all these years, ” Elizabeth II had declared, addressing her husband, at the banquet of his golden wedding anniversary in 1997.
His death was not the day or the time to remember the controversial and questioned character that was Philip of Edinburgh. Neither the husband so faithful nor the father so devoted to whom some glossed in their elegies. A thick veil was always drawn over the marital tensions and scandals that spattered the duke.
Of some of those adventures and misadventures, of his arrogant and lack of empathy, the general public has known thanks to the series ‘ The Crown ‘, which he apparently detested. Well known were his off-key comments and tacky, apologetic jokes. He called the journalists who aired the rudeness ” damn reptiles .”
“I have become a caricature. So are the things. I can only accept it, “he told conservative writer and politician Gyles Brandreth. The last incident was in February 2019 when he had to ‘voluntarily’ surrender his driver’s license after hitting another vehicle in which two women were traveling. They were injured when they were dazzled by the sun, and a baby who was also in the car was unharmed.
Funeral in Windsor
The queen now begins eight days of mourning , during which she will not carry out official duties. Buckingham Palace staff have launched the so-called ‘ Operation Forth Bridge ‘ with preparations for the funeral , which will take place at Saint George’s Chapel, Windsor, on a date yet to be determined. It will not be a state ceremony, reserved only for monarchs, but there will possibly be a large group of members of European royalty.
The acts planned for years will have to be modified due to the restrictions of the covid-19. It is highly unlikely that the public will be able to parade before the coffin in Westminster Abbey, as happened when the Queen Mother died in 2002, although a military parade through the streets of London is not ruled out .
The duke was hospitalized during the interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle , in which they accused the royal family of racism . The ‘exiled’ grandson is present at the grandfather’s funeral, although it is doubtful whether his wife will accompany him. Meghan has the perfect excuse to avoid the thorny commitment, given her advanced stage of pregnancy.
New final stage
After the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, the reign of Elizabeth II entered a new final stage. About to turn 95, in apparent good health, royal experts consider the chances of her abdicating her son, Prince Charles, 72 years old, very slim.
It would be expected that he will relegate a greater part of his functions to the heir and the Dukes of Cambridge, something that he has already been doing, to reserve his presence to the most symbolic ceremonies and acts.