Prince Philip’s death has left ‘huge void’ in queen’s life, Prince Andrew says
LONDON - The recent death of Prince Philip has left "a huge void" in the life of Queen Elizabeth II, their son Prince Andrew said Sunday as other royal family members paid tribute to their late father.
Andrew, the third of Philip and the queen's four children, attended church on Sunday at the Royal Chapel of All Saints in Windsor Castle along with other members of the royal family.
He said his mother "described it as having left a huge void in her life."
"We’ve lost, almost, the grandfather of the nation," he said. "And I feel very sorry and supportive of my mother, who’s feeling it probably more than everybody else."
FILE - In this image, made available November 18, 2007, HM The Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, re-visit Broadlands to mark their diamond wedding anniversary. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
Philip’s death on Friday at Windsor Castle, located 20 miles west of London, was described as "peaceful." It came three weeks after the 99-year-old was discharged from a month-long hospital stay.
Since Philip’s death, hundreds of well-wishers have continued to leave floral tributes outside the gates of royal residences in his memory.
Princess Anne — Philip and the queen's only daughter — said her father "leaves a legacy which can inspire us all."
"You know it’s going to happen but you are never really ready," Anne said of her father’s death.
In a message released by Buckingham Palace, Anne also praised Philip’s "ability to treat every person as an individual in their own right with their own skills," a nod to the many charities and other organizations he was involved with.
"I would like to emphasize how much the family appreciate the messages and memories of so many people whose lives he also touched," she said. "We will miss him, but he leaves a legacy which can inspire us all."
Their younger brother, Prince Edward, called Philip’s death a "dreadful shock" but said the 94-year-old queen was "bearing up."
Edward’s wife, Sophie, Countess of Wessex said the monarch was "thinking of others before herself." She also described Philip's passing as "right for him."
"It was so gentle. It was just like someone took him by the hand and off he went," Sophie told well-wishers. "It was very, very peaceful and that’s all you want for somebody, isn’t it?"
Prince Charles, the queen and Philip's eldest son, paid his own tribute to his "dear Papa" on Saturday, and said he "would have been amazed by the reaction and the touching things that have been said about him."
Both palace and government officials urged people not to come in-person to pay their respects to the Duke of Edinburgh because of coronavirus restrictions on social mixing. But hundreds of people on Sunday brought notes, cards and flowers to the gates of Windsor Castle, while others laid tributes outside Buckingham Palace in the British capital.
Philip’s funeral is set to take place on April 17 at Windsor Castle. Only 30 people will be able to attend under the current coronavirus restrictions in England, but the slimmed-down service is scheduled to be broadcast live on television.
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Philip’s grandson Prince Harry, who stepped away from royal duties last year and now lives in California, will attend the service along with other members of the royal family, palace officials said. His wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, is pregnant and has been advised by her doctor not to make the journey.
Royal family members said they appreciated the outpouring of tributes and good wishes from people across Britain and around the world to Philip, who was the queen’s consort and support through more than seven decades of marriage.
Philip was the longest-serving royal consort in British history by more than a decade at the time of his death. It was a role he assumed in 1952 when his wife ascended to the throne after the sudden death of her father King George VI.
Prince Edward, 57, said the "extraordinary" tributes meant a lot to the royal family.
"It just goes to show, he might have been our father, grandfather, father-in-law, but he meant so much to so many other people," he said.
Andrew, 61, who has largely kept out of the public eye since 2019 amid controversy over his friendship with the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, also praised the "absolutely amazing tributes."
On Saturday, military teams across the U.K. and on ships at sea fired 41-gun salutes to mark Philip's death, honoring the former naval officer whom they considered one of their own. Batteries in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast — the capitals of the four nations that make up the United Kingdom — as well as other cities fired the volleys at one-minute intervals beginning at midday. Ships including the HMS Montrose, a frigate patrolling the Persian Gulf, offered their own salutes.
"The Duke of Edinburgh served among us during the Second World War, and he remained devoted to the Royal Navy and the Armed Forces as a whole," Gen. Nick Carter, chief of the defense staff, said in a statement. "A life well-lived. His Royal Highness leaves us with a legacy of indomitable spirit, steadfastness and an unshakeable sense of duty."
Members of the Commonwealth, a group of 54 countries headed by the queen, were also invited to honor Philip. The Australian Defense Force began its salute at 5 p.m. outside Parliament House in Canberra, and New Zealand planned to offer its own tribute on Sunday.
Philip joined the Royal Navy as a cadet in 1939 and once had a promising military career. In 1941, he was honored for his service during the battle of Cape Matapan off the coast of Greece, when his control of searchlights aboard the HMS Valiant allowed the battleship to pinpoint enemy vessels in the dark. Philip rose to the rank of commander before he retired from active duty.
Two years after the war ended, Philip married Elizabeth at Westminster Abbey when she was 21 and he was 26. Philip’s naval career came to an abrupt end when his wife became queen.
At her coronation in 1953, Philip swore to be his wife’s "liege man of life and limb" and settled into a life supporting the monarch.
Before he retired from official duties in 2017, the prince carried out more than 22,000 solo public engagements and supported over 780 organizations, including the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for young people.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report. It was reported from Cincinnati.