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HRH Prince Philip
Photograph: Joseph Sohm

The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, has died aged 99

The prince played an important role in London’s cultural life

Chris Waywell

HRH Prince Philip, husband to Queen Elizabeth II for more than 73 years, has died today aged 99, in news announced by Buckingham Palace. The prince was recently released from hospital after a month-long stay. The cause of his death has not yet been disclosed.

In a statement, the 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.’

Prince Philip was the longest-serving royal consort in British history. Famous for his ‘plain speaking’, he was sometimes controversial but remained, during his lifetime, popular throughout the Commonwealth. He enjoyed a late-in-life return to international attention following the success of the TV drama ‘The Crown’, in a role portrayed by Finn Elliot, Matt Smith, Tobias Menzies and Jonathan Pryce

Shakespeare’s Globe
Photograph: John Wildgoose

He was an important figure in the cultural life of the capital, and patron of many charities and organisations, including Shakespeare’s Globe, which was partly constructed with oak from trees donated by the prince from Windsor Great Park. An officer in the Royal Navy, Prince Philip also helped save the Cutty Sark from the breakers’ yard, finding the ship a permanent berth in Greenwich. A fan and collector of cartoons, he was also a patron of the Cartoon Museum. Many Londoners and London institutions have taken to social media today to pay tribute to him.

Tobias Menzies as Prince Philip in ‘The Crown’ Season 4
Sophie MutevelianTobias Menzies as Prince Philip in ‘The Crown’ Season 4

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said that Prince Philip ‘inspired the lives of countless young people’, presumably a reference to the Duke of Edinburgh Awards, a scheme established for 14- to 25-year-olds in the prince’s name in 1956.

Johnson also alluded to the fact that the prince was one of the last few Londoners to have seen active service in WWII. The Leader of the Opposition, Sir Keir Starmer, called the prince ‘an extraordinary public servant’.

Prince Philip’s state funeral in London had long been planned, and would have seen tens of thousands of people coming to the capital to attend. Covid restrictions mean that that will not now happen. He is expected to be buried at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle and there will no doubt be many tokens of remembrance in London, a city he lived in for more than 70 years.

Pay tribute with a trip to the Globe’s great new season.

London events in April.

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