Boris Johnson today hailed Prince Philip’s “bravery” and “ethic of service” as he led political tributes to the Duke of Edinburgh, who has died aged 99.
The Prime Minister praised the Queen’s husband as the “longest-serving consort in history” and “one of the last surviving people in this country to serve in the Second World War”.
Hailing the Duke’s “bravery” during his Second World War service, Mr Johnson said from that war Prince Philip “took an ethic of service that he applied throughout the unprecedented changes of the post war era”.
As Union Flags were lowered to half mast across the United Kingdom, the Prime Minister, wearing a sombre black suit, crisp white shirt and black tie, delivered a brief statement from a wooden lectern in Downing Street.
He said a nation would “give thanks for the extraordinary life and work” of the Duke.
“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” Mr Johnson declared.
Scroll down for the full statement by the Prime Minister.
The House of Commons will to be recalled for tributes to Prince Philip at 2.30pm on Monday, with the Cabinet meeting to pay tributes at 5pm tonight.
All the main UK political parties, including the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats, suspended campaigning in the local elections as a mark of respect until further notice.
Likewise the main parties contesting the Holyrood elections, including the SNP, have also suspended campaigning.
Mr Johnson said Prince Philip’s “steadfast support” for the Queen would stand out, and “it is to her Majesty and her family that our thoughts must turn today.”
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.
The Palace said in a statement: “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.”
The Prime Minister led tributes from across the political spectrum.
“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.”
Government ministers and other senior politicians offered tributes to the Duke.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was “saddened” by the news of the Duke of Edinburgh’s death, as Scottish parties suspended campaigning for next month’s Holyrood election as a mark of respect.
“I send my personal and deepest condolences – and those of @scotgov and the people of Scotland – to Her Majesty The Queen and her family,” she tweeted.
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said: “Prince Philip dedicated his life to our country. We will always be grateful for his amazing service
“We shouldn’t forget Prince Philip was a much-loved husband, father, grandfather & great grandfather. So our thoughts are with The Queen and the whole Family at this difficult time.”
Veterans minister Johnny Mercer tweeted: “Tragic news. A true patriot.”
And vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi posted: “This is a sad sad day for us all. May he rest in peace. RIP Great Prince.”
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford expressed great sadness at Prince Philip’s death and said he had “served the crown with selfless devotion and generosity of spirit”. He said: “We offer our sincere condolences to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, his children and their families on this sad occasion. He will be missed by the many organisations that he supported as Patron or President over many decades of service.”
Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said Prince Philip had served his country with distinction during the Second World War and for eight decades of peacetime.
He said: “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.”
The PM’s fiancee Carrie Symonds also expressed her condolences. She tweeted: “So very sad to hear of the passing of HRH, the Duke of Edinburgh. An incredible life devoted to the Queen, his family and our country. Thoughts and prayers with Her Majesty and the Royal Family.”
Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster expressed “deep sadness” at the news, which she said would be shared “by countless others in Northern Ireland, and right across the world.
She said: “Prince Philip was widely respected for his active and dedicated service to the country, and for his steadfast support to Her Majesty The Queen throughout her reign.”
Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill, tweeted: “As Deputy First Minister I wish to extend my sincere condolences to Queen Elizabeth and her family on the death of her husband Prince Philip.”
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.”
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “Today, we mourn the loss of an extraordinary man, who devoted his life to public service and helping others. Not only did His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh devote 70 years to undertaking royal duties, but he also fought for Britain – and for the freedoms we hold dear today – during the Second World War.
“As Mayor, 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. This includes his charitable work and The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, which has helped so many young people reach their potential.”
Boris Johnson’s statement 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.