Boris Johnson pays tribute to the 'extraordinary life' of the Duke of Edinburgh

9 April 2021, 12:48 | Updated: 9 April 2021, 15:03

Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

The Prime Minister has led tributes from across the political spectrum to His Royal Highness Prince Philip, who has died aged 99.

In a statement outside Downing Street, Boris Johnson said: "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.

As tributes pour in from around the world following the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, Nick Ferrari leads LBC's special coverage.

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"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.

READ MORE: Prince Philip: The Duke of Edinburgh Dies Aged 99

READ MORE: Prince Philip 1921- 2021: Her Majesty's 'Strength and Stay'

"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."

Opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer also paid tribute, saying the Duke of Edinburgh "dedicated his life to our country".

He said: "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."

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: "I am saddened by news that the Duke of Edinburgh has died. I send my personal and deepest condolences - and those of @scotgov and the people of Scotland - to Her Majesty The Queen and her family."

A notification of the Prince's death has been placed outside the Scottish Parliament.

Northern Ireland's First Minister Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill have issued a joint statement expressing their sympathies following the death of Prince Philip on behalf of the Stormont Executive.

Mrs Foster said: "I am deeply saddened by the news of the death of His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh. It is a sadness that I know will shared by countless others in Northern Ireland and right across the world.

"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.

"He had a strong interest in Northern Ireland and I had the privilege of meeting him on a number of his many visits here.

"He had a profound and positive impact on thousands of our young people who found their purpose, passion and place in the world through participation in the Duke of Edinburgh Awards.

"This inspirational programme is just one example of the many charities and voluntary organisations in which he was involved in right up to his retirement from public service at the age of 96.

"I offer my deepest sympathies and condolences to Her Majesty the Queen and to the other members of the royal family at this sad time."

Ms O'Neill said: "I wish to extend my sincere condolences to Queen Elizabeth and her family on the death of her husband Prince Phillip.

"Over the past two decades there have been significant interventions by the British Royal family to assist in the building of relationships between Britain and Ireland

"It is appropriate that this contribution to the advancement of peace and reconciliation is rightly recognised.

"To all those of a unionist tradition and of British identity - those who value and cherish the Royal family - I wish to acknowledge the sense of loss felt."

First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford expressed his sadness about the death of the Duke.

He said: “It is with sadness that we mourn the death of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh. Throughout his long and distinguished life, he served the crown with selfless devotion and generosity of spirit.

"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".

Members of the cabinet paid tribute as well, with veterans minister Johnny Mercer tweeting it was "tragic news" and called Prince Philip "a true patriot".

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi posted: "This is a sad sad day for us all. May he rest in peace. RIP Great Prince."

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick tweeted: "We owe Prince Philip an extraordinary debt for a long life of service. His qualities of fortitude, commitment and duty were truly inspirational.

"The nation and Commonwealth will mourn the passing of a great man. Thoughts and prayers are with Her Majesty the Queen and her family."

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said he was "incredibly saddened" by the death of the Duke of Edinburgh.

He tweeted: "The country is united in grief and admiration for his lifetime of service. He will also be remembered for his work transforming young people's lives, whatever their backgrounds, through the Duke of Edinburgh's award."

Flags were lowered at half-mast outside the Senedd in Cardiff, Wales
Flags were lowered at half-mast outside the Senedd in Cardiff, Wales. Picture: LBC

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan extended his "deepest sympathies" to the Queen and the Royal Family.

"Today, we mourn the loss of an extraordinary man," he said, "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 award which has helped so many young people reach their potential.

"There's no doubt that the legacy of the Duke of Edinburg impact on London, Britain and the lives of so many will live on for may years to come."

Prince Philip received widespread praise for the Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme
Prince Philip received widespread praise for the Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme. Picture: PA Images

Nicholas Soames, a former Conservative MP and the grandson of wartime prime minister Sir Winston Churchill, tweeted: "The death of Prince Philip marks the passing of a truly remarkable man who lived a life of impeccable and dedicated service to his Queen and Country #aterriblelosstohisFamilyandhisCountry."

The Labour Party announced on Friday afternoon that it would suspended all campaigning immediately as a "mark of respect" following the death of the Duke.

It has also been confirmed that major parties in Wales and Scotland - Labour, the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru - have agreed to suspend campaigning for the 2021 elections.

Parliament will be recalled on Monday at 2.30pm - a day early as MPs were due to return on Tuesday after the Easter recess.