British political leaders pay tribute to Prince Philip

‘We give thanks for the extraordinary life and work’: Boris leads political leaders as they pay tribute to Prince Philip as Sir Keir Starmer says Britain has ‘lost an extraordinary public servant’

  • Boris Johnson addressed the UK following the death of the Duke of Edinburgh
  • PM said UK should ‘give thanks’ for Prince Philip’s ‘extraordinary life and work’ 
  • Sir Keir Starmer said the nation had ‘lost an extraordinary public servant’ 

Boris Johnson today led the UK’s political leaders in paying tribute to Prince Philip as the Prime Minister said the country ‘gives thanks’ for his ‘extraordinary life and work’. 

Mr Johnson said ‘our nation’s thoughts must turn’ to the Queen and her family after Buckingham Palace announced the Duke of Edinburgh’s death at the age of 99. 

Addressing the nation outside Number 10, the PM said the royal family ‘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’. 

Downing Street responded to the announcement by the palace by immediately lowering its flags to half-mast.

Meanwhile, Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, said Britain had ‘lost an extraordinary public servant’. 

Sir Keir said the Duke of Edinburgh had ‘dedicated his life to our country’ and ‘he will be remembered most of all for his extraordinary commitment and devotion to The Queen’. 

Buckingham Palace said in a statement: ‘It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh’

Boris Johnson said ‘our nation’s thoughts must turn’ to the Queen and her family who have ‘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’

Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, said the UK had ‘lost an extraordinary public servant in Prince Philip’ 

Boris Johnson’s address to the nation in full

It was with great sadness that a short time ago I received word from Buckingham Palace that His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh has passed away at the age of 99.

Prince Philip earned the affection of generations here in the United Kingdom, across the Commonwealth and around the world.

He was the longest serving consort in history, one of the last surviving people in this country to have served in the second world war at Cape Matapan, where he was mentioned in despatches for bravery and in the invasion of Sicily, where he saved his ship by his quick thinking and from that conflict he took an ethic of service that he applied throughout the unprecedented changes of the post war era.

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.

He was an environmentalist, and a champion of the natural world long before it was fashionable.

With his Duke of Edinburgh awards scheme he shaped and inspired the lives of countless young people and at literally tens of thousands of events he fostered their hopes and encouraged their ambitions.

We remember the Duke for all of this and above all for his steadfast support for Her Majesty the Queen.

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.

Speaking on their golden wedding anniversary, Her Majesty said that our country owed her husband ‘a greater debt than he would ever claim or we shall ever know’ and I am sure that estimate is correct.

So we mourn today with Her Majesty The Queen we offer our condolences to her and to all her family and we give thanks, as a nation and a Kingdom, for the extraordinary life and work of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.’

Speaking on the steps of Downing Street, Mr Johnson said the Duke had ‘earned the affection of generations here in the United Kingdom, across the Commonwealth and around the world’.

The PM said Prince 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 concluded: ‘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.

‘Speaking on their golden wedding anniversary, Her Majesty said that our country owed her husband ‘a greater debt than he would ever claim or we shall ever know’ and I am sure that estimate is correct.

‘So we mourn today with Her Majesty The Queen we offer our condolences to her and to all her family and we give thanks, as a nation and a Kingdom, for the extraordinary life and work of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.’

Sir Keir said in a statement: ‘The United Kingdom has lost an extraordinary public servant in Prince Philip.

‘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.

‘However, he will be remembered most of all for his extraordinary commitment and devotion to The Queen.

‘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.

‘My thoughts are with The Queen, the Royal Family and the British people as our nation comes together to mourn and remember the life of Prince Philip.’

Sir Ed Davey, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: ‘Prince Philip dedicated his life to our country. We will always be grateful for his amazing service, not least the powerful legacy he leaves to millions of young people who have taken part in his unique Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.

‘His quiet and steadfast counsel and support of The Queen, is perhaps his greatest if unquantifiable contribution to our nation’s history.

‘At this sad time for millions, we should never forget Prince Philip was a much-loved husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather. So our thoughts must be with the whole Royal Family, but in particular with The Queen at this difficult time.’

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons, said: ‘This is obviously a very sad day for Her Majesty, the Royal Family and the whole country. 

‘The Duke of Edinburgh has given his unwavering support to The Queen, both as a husband and as a consort. Described by Her Majesty as ‘my constant strength’, he served this country too, first with distinction during the Second World War and selflessly throughout eight decades during peacetime.

‘Prince Philip has performed wide-ranging official roles, carrying out thousands of engagements and overseas visits on behalf of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. He will be remembered for his loyal devotion to service and his leadership of hundreds of ideals and causes close to his heart. 

‘Most notably, of course, is the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award which helps millions of young people around the world to achieve their full potential as team members and future leaders in their chosen fields.

‘His was a long life that saw so much dedication to duty. Today we must pause to honour him and to offer our sincerest thanks for the Prince’s devout faithfulness to our country – and all the nations shall miss him greatly.’

World leaders also paid tribute to Prince Philip, with Scott Morrison, the Australian Prime Minister, stating he ’embodied a generation that we will never see again’.

Mr Morrison said in a statement: ‘Australians send our love and deepest condolences to her Majesty and all the Royal family. The Commonwealth family joins together in sorrow and thanksgiving for the loss and life of Prince Philip. God bless from all here in Australia.


Sir Lindsay Hoyle (pictured left), the Commons Speaker, said Prince Philip’s life ‘was a long life that saw so much dedication to duty’ while Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey said ‘his quiet and steadfast counsel and support of The Queen, is perhaps his greatest if unquantifiable contribution to our nation’s history’

Scott Morrison, the Australian Prime Minister, said Prince Philip ’embodied a generation that we will never see again’

‘Further details about Australia’s remembrance of Prince Philip will be announced over coming days. Flags will be lowered in honour of His Royal Highness.’

Ireland’s foreign minister Simon Coveney tweeted: ‘I want to express sincere condolences to all British people on the sad passing of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. 

‘Our thoughts and solidarity are with you on a very sad day for the United Kingdom.’ 

Prince Philip was the longest-serving consort in British history. The Duke and the Queen were married for more than 70 years and Philip dedicated decades of his life to royal duty, serving the nation at the monarch’s side.

He officially retired from public engagements in the summer of 2017.

Buckingham Palace said in a statement: ‘It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces 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. Further announcements will made in due course.

‘The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.’ 

Prince Philip had returned to Windsor Castle on March 16 to be reunited with the Queen after spending a month in hospital – his longest ever stay.

He initially received care for an infection but then underwent heart surgery for a pre-existing condition.

The duke had looked gaunt as he was driven away from King Edward VII’s Hospital in central London, having been pushed in a wheelchair to the waiting car.

Philip – father to the Prince of Wales, the Princess Royal, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex – was just two months away from his 100th birthday in June.

He spent much of the Covid-19 crisis staying with the Queen at Windsor in HMS Bubble – the nickname given to the couple’s reduced household of devoted staff during lockdown.

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