The British military has fired gun salutes across the United Kingdom to mark the death of Prince Philip as tributes flooded in for a man who was a pillar of strength for Queen Elizabeth during her record-breaking reign.
The public laid flowers outside royal residences, paying their respects to the Duke of Edinburgh, who died on Friday aged 99.
On its official Twitter feed, the Royal Family published a tribute paid by the Queen to her husband on their 50th wedding anniversary in 1997.
“He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know,” she said. The Queen has been on the throne for 69 years.
The armed forces marked Prince Philip’s death at noon on Saturday (local time) with a Death Gun Salute.
Artillery units in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast, Gibraltar, and some navy warships, fired their guns.
Buckingham Palace is expected to announce details of the funeral later on Saturday.
It is likely to be a small, private affair, stripped of the grandeur of traditional royal occasions by COVID-19 restrictions and by the prince’s own dislike of people making a fuss. Despite a request from the Royal Family for the public to obey pandemic social distancing rules and avoid visits to its residences, people laid cards and bouquets outside Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace through the night.
“What a life! Thank you for serving our country,” read one tribute outside Buckingham Palace.
The tenor bell at London’s Westminster Abbey tolled 99 times, a traditional marking of the death of a Royal Family member.
Flags at Buckingham Palace and government buildings across Britain were lowered to half-mast, and billboard operators replaced adverts with a photo and tribute to the late Prince.
Tributes pour in from world leaders.
Earlier on Friday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson led the nation’s condolences, acclaiming Prince Philip’s “extraordinary life and work” and noting he had “earned the affection of generations” at home and worldwide. Mr. 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.