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Buhari, other world leaders condole Queen Elizabeth over Prince Philip’s death

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President Muhammadu Buhari and other political and religious leaders from across the world have extended their condolences to Her Majesty the Queen of England over the death of her husband of more than seven decades, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who passed on peacefully at the age of 99.

Buckingham Palace, which announced his death yesterday, said the Prince, who is also the longest-serving consort in British history, died in the morning at Windsor Castle, just months away from his 100th birthday in June.

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“It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness, The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss,” the statement said.

Reacting to the news of the Duke’s death in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, President Muhammadu Buhari said: “The death of the Duke of Edinburgh is the end of an era. Prince Philip was one of the greatest and publicly recognisable international figures whose contributions to the Commonwealth will be remembered for generations to come.”

According to the President, “Prince Philip was a great man in his own right who made enormous contributions to philanthropic activities and charities especially for wildlife conservation and youth development programmes in more than 130 countries.”

President Buhari described the late Duke of Edinburgh as “a remarkable husband who had been happily married to the Queen since 1947,” saying “this is an impressive record for any marriage at any level.”

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The President also commiserated with the Government of the United Kingdom and the members of the Commonwealth “for the sad loss of this royal and indeed global icon.”

British Prime Minister, 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. Philip would be remembered for his steadfast support of the Queen, as well as his awards scheme, which inspired countless young people.”

First Minister for Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, in a tweet said: “I am saddened by the news that the Duke of Edinburgh has died. I send my personal and deepest condolences … to Her Majesty The Queen and her family.”

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Nicholas Soames, 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.”

For Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Philip was an “outstanding example of Christian service. I join with the rest of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth in mourning the loss of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh.”

The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, highlighted the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award as “an enormous part of Prince Philip’s legacy.”

Irish Premier, Micheal Martin, tweeted: “Saddened to hear of the death of HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Our thoughts and prayers are with Queen Elizabeth and the people of the United Kingdom at this time.”

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Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, tweeted that his thoughts were with the royal family. “My thoughts are with the British people and the Royal Family on the passing away of HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. He had a distinguished career in the military and was at the forefront of many community service initiatives. May his soul rest in peace.”

Former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair said: “He will naturally be most recognised as remarkable and steadfast support to the Queen over so many years. However, he should also be remembered and celebrated in his own right as a man of foresight, determination and courage.

“He was often way ahead of his time in the protection of the environment, in reconciliation between religious faiths and of course in the creation of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, which remains one of the most innovative and effective programmes for the betterment of young people anywhere in the world.”

In his condolence message, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu said: “I express my deepest condolences to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, the Royal Family and the people of the United Kingdom on the passing of the Duke of Edinburgh. Prince Philip was the consummate public servant and will be much missed in Israel and across the world.”

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Flags on landmark buildings in Britain have been lowered to half-mast, as the UK government declared a period of national mourning.

Prince Philip’s health had been slowly deteriorating for some time. He recently had a month-long spell in the hospital and was recovering at the Castle, some 30 kilometres west of London.

He was taken to King Edward VII Hospital London on February 16, where he received care as a “precautionary measure” for an undisclosed infection and was expected to remain there “for a few days of observation and rest,” the palace said at the time.

He was moved to a new hospital in London, St. Bartholomew’s, where doctors conducted tests and performed an operation on him for a pre-existing heart condition. He was discharged on March 16.

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Though his illness was not related to Coronavirus, an official notice of his death was posted on the railings of Buckingham Palace, as is traditional, but was removed shortly afterwards, to avoid crowds gathering.

Prince Philip had in May 2017 announced he was stepping down from royal engagements, joking that he could no longer stand up. He, however, made a final official public appearance later that year during a Royal Marines parade on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace.

Since then, he was rarely seen in public, as he spent most of his time on the Queen’s Sandringham estate in Norfolk. He moved in to be with her at Windsor Castle during the lockdown periods throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, where the couple quietly celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary in November 2020.

Born June 10, 1921, in Corfu, Greece, his father, Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark (1882–1944), was a younger son of King George I of the Hellenes (originally Prince William of Denmark). His mother was Princess Alice (1885–1969), who was the eldest daughter of Louis Alexander Mountbatten, first Marquess of Milford Haven, and Princess Victoria of Hesse and the Rhine, granddaughter of Queen Victoria.

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Nurtured chiefly in Great Britain, Philip was educated at Gordonstoun School, near Elgin, Moray, Scotland, and at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, Devon, England.

His family left Greece when he was one year old after the end of the Greco-Turkish War. He spent his childhood in France and Germany, and then later moved to Britain.

He joined the Royal Navy in 1939, during which time he met the-then Princess Elizabeth. From January 1940 to the end of World War II, he served in combat in the Mediterranean and the Pacific.

On February 28, 1947, Philip renounced his right to the Greek and Danish thrones, took his mother’s surname, Mountbatten, to enable him to become a British citizen.

Following his marriage to Queen Elizabeth II in 1947, Philip has given the title His Royal Highness and named as the Duke of Edinburgh by the Queen’s father, King George VI.

He retired from active naval service in 1951 and was made a British prince of the United Kingdom in 1957. Prior to his retirement, he commanded the Frigate Magpie until Elizabeth’s accession on February 6, 1952, from which time he shared her official and public life.

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