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UK PM hails Philip's 'extraordinary life' as tributes pour in

UK mourns Prince Philip; leaders honour his service to queen

UK PM hails Philip's 'extraordinary life' as tributes pour in

Members of staff attach an announcement, regarding the death of Britain's Prince Philip, to the fence of Buckingham Palace in London on Friday, Apr 9, 2021. (Photo: AP/Matt Dunham)

LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday (Apr 9) led the nation's condolences to Queen Elizabeth II on the death of her husband Prince Philip, acclaiming his "extraordinary life and work".

Johnson said the Duke of Edinburgh "earned the affection of generations" at home, in the Commonwealth and across the world after serving in the Royal Navy and then over decades as Britain's longest-serving royal consort.

READ: Britain's Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, dies aged 99

Soon after the announcement of his death, people began to line up outside Buckingham Palace to see the official death notice that had been attached to the gate. The flag at the palace, the queen’s residence in London, was lowered to half-staff.

"We give thanks, as a nation and a kingdom, for the extraordinary life and work of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh," the prime minister said outside 10 Downing Street.

He added despite his many achievements, the consort would be best remembered for his "steadfast support for Her Majesty 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," Johnson said.

The Union Flag hangs at half-staff as members of staff attach an announcement, regarding the death of Britain's Prince Philip, to the fence of Buckingham Palace in London on Friday, Apr 9, 2021. (Photo: AP/Matt Dunham) Britain Obit Prince Philip

Leaders from across the UK and political spectrum joined Johnson in an outpouring of tributes to Philip, who Buckingham Palace said died peacefully at Windsor Castle early Friday, and sympathy for the queen.

Keir Starmer, leader of the opposition Labour Party, was among the first to offer his condolences, noting Philip’s long record of public service, first as a naval officer during World War II, then during more than 70 years of marriage to the queen.

“He will be remembered most of all for his extraordinary commitment and devotion to the Queen,” Starmer said in a statement.

“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.”

READ: Queen Elizabeth II's husband Prince Philip: The strength behind the crown

"DEEP SORROW"

Former prime minister Tony Blair said Philip "will naturally be most recognised as a remarkable and steadfast support to the Queen over so many years.

"However, he should also be remembered and celebrated in his own right as a man of foresight, determination and courage," he added.

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

London mayor Sadiq Khan called Philip an "extraordinary man" noting he had fought "for the freedoms we hold dear today" during World War II.

"I know I can say on behalf of all Londoners that we will forever be grateful for the contribution His Royal Highness made to our city and our country," he said.

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."

Meanwhile, 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 vigour," he said.

Condolences were also expressed by leaders in Ireland, where in 2011 the queen and Philip paid the first royal state visit for a century following generations of enmity with Britain.

Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin led the international reaction, adding "our thoughts and prayers are with Queen Elizabeth and the people of the United Kingdom at this time".

French President Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to the "exemplary life" of Prince Philip and sent his condolences to the Queen in a tweet from his official account on Friday.

"I wish to express my sincere condolences to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Royal Family and the British people upon the death of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip who lived an exemplary life defined by bravery, a sense of duty and commitment to the youth and the environment," he said.

Source: AGENCIES/kg

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