LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson led the tributes to Prince Philip on Friday as the country — and the world — reacted to the death of Queen Elizabeth II’s husband at the age of 99.
Speaking outside his home in London’s Downing Street, Johnson said that Philip had “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.”
He said that Philip “was an environmentalist, and a champion of the natural world long before it was fashionable,” adding that he had “inspired the lives of countless young people” with his Duke of Edinburgh awards scheme.
Prince Philip 'helped to steer the Royal Family': Prime minister pays tribute
April 9, 202102:56
“We remember the duke for all of this and, above all, for his steadfast support for Her Majesty the Queen,” he said. “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.”
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Keir Starmer, leader of the opposition Labour Party, paid his respects to the royal, saying in a statement that the United Kingdom had “lost an extraordinary public servant.”
“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,” he said.
“However, he will be remembered most of all for his extraordinary commitment and devotion to the Queen.”
Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, thanked God for what he said was Philip’s life of dedicated service.
“As we recover and rebuild after the terrible trial of the coronavirus pandemic, we will need fortitude and a deep sense of commitment to serving others,″ said Welby.
“Throughout his life Prince Philip displayed those qualities in abundance, and I pray that we can take inspiration from his example.”
In the United States, the White House released a statement from President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden paying tribute to Philip’s “decades of devoted public service.”
“On behalf of all the people of the United States, we send our deepest condolences to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the entire Royal Family, and all the people of the United Kingdom on the death of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh,” it said.
“His legacy will live on not only through his family, but in all the charitable endeavors he shaped,” the statement added.
“Jill and I are keeping the Queen and to Prince Philip’s children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren in our hearts during this time,” it said.
Former President Barack Obama also paid his respects. In a statement he said Philip was “kind and warm, with a sharp wit and unfailing good humor.”
Ex-President George Bush and his wife, Laura, offered their condolences to the monarch and the entire royal family.
“He represented the United Kingdom with dignity and brought boundless strength and support to the sovereign,” Bush said in a statement. “Laura and I are fortunate to have enjoyed the charm and wit of his company, and we know how much he will be missed.”
As the world reacted to the news, members of the public began laying flowers outside Buckingham Palace and the entrance to Windsor Castle, where Philip died on Friday morning.
But coronavirus lockdown restrictions currently in force in the United Kingdom mean that officials are altering plans for Philip’s funeral and discouraging crowds from paying their respects.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted that she was “saddened by the news,” while Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement that Philip “embodied a generation that we will never see again.”
Philip had visited Australia more than 20 times, Morrison said, adding that the people of his country sent their “love and condolences to her Majesty and all the royal family.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also called Philip a “man of great purpose and conviction” on Twitter. He added that the royal “contributed so much to the social fabric of our country.”
French President Emmanuel Macron said Philip had “lived an exemplary life defined by bravery, a sense of duty and commitment to the youth and the environment.”
“The death of Prince Philip fills me with great sorrow,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “His friendship to Germany, his straightforwardness and his sense of duty will not be forgotten.”
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that the royal “had a distinguished career in the military and was at the forefront of many community service initiatives.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his condolences and said “Prince Phillip was the consummate public servant and will be much missed in Israel and across the world.”
Ireland’s premier Micheal Martin said he was “saddened by the news,” and European royal families also offered their condolences.
According to the official Twitter account of the Royal House of the Netherlands, King Willem-Alexander, Queen Maxima and Princess Beatrix said Philip left an “unforgettable impression.”
King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden said in a statement that Philip remained “an inspiration to us all” and the Belgian royal palace said it was “deeply saddened” by his death.