'Emotional day': tributes pour in from across UK for Philip

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Apr 09 2021 10:48 PM

'Emotional day': tributes pour in from across UK for Philip 1
A man looks on as he holds a flag outside Buckingham Palace after it was announced that Britain's Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth, has died at the age of 99, in London, Britain, April 9, 2021. Hannah McKay, Reuters

Tributes to Prince Philip poured in Friday from across Britain following his death aged 99, with condolences offered to Queen Elizabeth II after she lost her husband of seven decades.

The outpouring of remembrance and sympathy came from all corners of the UK and spanned figures from politics, religion, sport and more, as the country came together to honor its longest serving royal consort.

- Politics -

Prime Minister Boris Johnson led the nation's condolences, acclaiming Philip's "extraordinary life and work" and noting he had "earned the affection of generations" at home and around the world.

Johnson said despite his many achievements, including serving in the Royal Navy during World War II, the Duke of Edinburgh would be best remembered for his "steadfast support" for the queen.

"Like the expert carriage driver that he was, he helped to steer the Royal Family and the monarchy so that it remains an institution indisputably vital to the balance and happiness of our national life," the British premier said from Downing Street.

Leaders from across Britain and the political spectrum echoed Johnson -- including tributes from every living former prime minister.

Tony Blair said the 99-year-old should be remembered and celebrated "as a man of foresight, determination and courage" while John Major praised him as "modest to the core" and epitomizing "the British spirit".

David Cameron called his death "desperately sad news" and Theresa May added "the nation and the entire Commonwealth owe Prince Philip an extraordinary debt of gratitude for a distinguished life of service".

The heads of the UK's devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all sent condolence messages to the monarch, with Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford saying he had "served the crown with selfless devotion".

Meanwhile main opposition Labour leader Keir Starmer hailed his 73-year marriage to the queen "a symbol of strength, stability and hope".

"It was a partnership that inspired millions in Britain and beyond," he added.

Campaigning by all political parties for the May 6 local elections was suspended as a mark of respect.

- Religion -

Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said he was praying God would comfort the queen, who is the head of the Church of England.

Praising Philip for providing "an outstanding example of Christian service", he said he leaves behind an "enormous" legacy, including the Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme for young people, and charitable and conservation work. 

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, head of the Catholic church in England and Wales, added he was praying for the royal family and "the repose of the soul" of the duke "at this moment of sadness and loss.

"How much we will miss Prince Philip's presence and character, so full of life and vigor," he said.

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis offered his "profound condolences" on behalf of Britain's Jewish communities, noting Philip's connections to Israel where his mother was buried and he visited in 1994.

Mohammed Shafiq, head of the Ramadhan Foundation, noted Philip "served with distinction" in WWII fighting alongside Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs around the world and had "strengthened the nation".

- Armed forces, sport, entertainment -

The British Army tweeted: "It is with deep sorrow that we received the news of the death of His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh." 

The makers of the hit royal drama "The Crown" said they were "deeply saddened" by the news.

"Netflix, Left Bank Pictures, Sony Pictures Television and the production team on The Crown are deeply saddened to hear of the death of The Duke of Edinburgh," they said in a statement.

The Football Association was among those from the world of sport to pay tribute, noting flags at the English national stadium Wembley would fly at half-mast.

"We have sent our deepest condolences to Her Majesty the Queen and our president, HRH The Duke of Cambridge," it said, referring to Philip's grandson Prince William.

All nine venues in cricket's County Championship held two minute's silence after the lunch break on Friday, with players and officials in black armbands and flags at half mast.

Prince Philip, a keen cricketer, was twice a former president of Marylebone Cricket Club, owners of Lord's Cricket Ground in London.