Prince Philip, the spouse of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, has died. He was 99 years old at the time.
Philip served as the queen’s supporter for 65 years before retiring from public life in 2017 and generally disappearing from view since then. During his active years, he assisted in charting a new direction for the monarchy under a youthful queen, advocating Britain as well as environmental, science, and technological concerns.
The young Princess Elizabeth and Philip’s relationship began as a story of young love. “We behave as though we had belonged to each other for years,” Elizabeth wrote to her parents shortly after they married in a letter.
Philip’s profound effect on the queen has been acknowledged over the years, with the queen referring to him as her “strength and stay” in a speech commemorating their 50th wedding anniversary in 1997.
“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 stated at the time, referring to herself and his entire family, as well as this and many other countries.
The fiercely private prince will be remembered for his early efforts to modernize the royal family’s image during a period of enormous change for the United Kingdom and the world, particularly at the start of Elizabeth’s reign in 1952. He also gained a reputation for making snide remarks and vulgar, if not racist, jokes.
“The queen inherited from her father a kind of monarchy that was very hands-off, old-fashioned, and little invisible,” historian Sarah Gristwood, author of “Elizabeth: The Queen and the Crown,” said.
“It wasn’t prepared to deal with the new media age at the time, and Prince Philip was instrumental in driving it ahead.”
Instead of radio broadcasts, Philip assisted in bringing the royals to life on television. He was the first member of the royal family to appear on television, and he hosted a show on a royal trip throughout the Commonwealth. He is also claimed to have helped organize a landmark 1969 television documentary about the family, as well as televising the queen’s coronation in 1953.
Gristwood remarked, “He helped build the model of the British royal family that has allowed it to carry forward into the twenty-first century.” “I hope we remember him for it now that we’ve lost sight of it.”
Despite being born into a royal family, Philip did not have a normal royal childhood.