The Queen’s husband of more than 70 years has passed away at the age of 99, Buckingham Palace has confirmed.
The Duke of Edinburgh was the longest-serving consort in British history after marrying Queen Elizabeth II in July 1947.
The loss of her beloved husband will be one of the most traumatic things the Queen has ever had to face.
Together for more than 70 years, the Duke of Edinburgh lived through the ups and down of the monarch’s life and reign with her.
In 2002, her Golden Jubilee year, the Queen lost both her mother and sister within weeks of one another. But Philip was at her side.
There will be no chance to spend as much time as she needs to grieve out of the spotlight.
An appearance at the duke’s funeral in the full glare of the media beckons within days.
The Queen, with all her training as head of state, is used to holding her emotions in check in public.
Shortly after her father, King George VI, died, she was required to greet then prime minister Winston Churchill and other dignitaries immediately on returning to London from Kenya as the new Queen.
During her Diamond Jubilee celebrations, she cut a solitary figure as she walked through St Paul’s Cathedral without the duke, who was in hospital with a bladder infection.
Princess Eugenie, the couple’s granddaughter, said the Queen and Philip were each other’s “rock” and spoke of how difficult it had been for the Queen to be without her husband during the jubilee events.
“They are the most incredibly supportive couple to each other.
“Grandpa was unfortunately taken ill and for granny to come and do that alone was probably quite testing and I think he is her rock, really, and she is his,” she told Sky News.
How did the Queen and Prince Philip meet?
They were distant cousins and both great-great-grandchildren of Queen Victoria.
They attended some of the same events in their youth – a wedding in 1934 and King George VI’s coronation in 1937.
But they had their first publicised meeting in 1939 when Philip was 18 and Princess Elizabeth was 13.
The princess’s parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, had taken her and her sister, Princess Margaret, to visit the naval college in Dartmouth and cadet Philip was assigned to entertain the princesses.
When did they fall in love?
Elizabeth first fell for tall, blond, athletic Philip during their Dartmouth encounter when he amused her by jumping over tennis nets.
The pair wrote regular letters to one another and later met on numerous occasions, with Philip even spending Christmas with the royal family during the Second World War.
When did Prince Philip marry Princess Elizabeth?
Philip and Elizabeth’s engagement was announced in July 1947 and the royal wedding took place on November 20 1947 in London’s Westminster Abbey. Elizabeth was 21 and not yet Queen.
Five years after they married – in 1952 – George VI died and Elizabeth became the monarch.
How did the Queen and the duke manage to stay married for so long?
They shared interests – a love of horses and outdoor life – and had the same dutiful royal training.
They were content in each other’s company but also happy to spend time apart.
Philip loved carriage driving, while the Queen might go to dinner with friends.
In character, they were very different. The duke was seen as cantankerous and adventurous, while the Queen is viewed as passive, cautious and conventional.