Saying goodbye. Members of the royal family reacted to Prince Philip’s death with tributes and thoughtful messages online following the news of his passing. Together, they mourned and honored the memory of the late Duke of Edinburgh with their statements.
The Prince consort’s death was announced the morning of Friday, April 9, 2021, by Buckingham Palace. In a statement by his wife and monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, the palace revealed that the duke passed away at the age of 99 at home at Windsor Castle. “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 statement began. “His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle. Further announcements will be made in due course. The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.”
Not long after the public learned of the Queen’s “deep sorrow” in response to her husband’s death, other members of the royal family began to share their somber reactions to the duke’s passing. Read on below for royal family reactions from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, to Kate Middleton and Prince William and beyond.
Queen Elizabeth II
Understandably, the 94-year-old monarch is said to be “heartbroken” over the death of her husband, a source told Us Weekly on April 9. “Prince Philip had been in poor health recently, but the loss was still a surprise,” the insider adds. The Queen is expected to halt all engagements as she enters an eight-day mourning period for her husband.
The Queen and Prince Philip’s wife of 74 years honored her late husband in a tribute on her Instagram on Saturday, April 10. “At The Queen’s Coronation in 1953, The Duke of Edinburgh swore to be Her Majesty’s ‘liege man of life and limb,’” the post read. “The Duke was a devoted consort (companion to the Sovereign) for almost 70 years, from Her Majesty’s Accession in 1952 until his death.”
The post also included a quote from a speech given by the Queen on her golden wedding anniversary in 1997: “He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and 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.”
Prince Harry & Meghan Markle
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex posted a touching tribute to Prince Philip on the landing page of their Archewell site on the afternoon of his death. “In loving memory of His Royal Highness, the Duke of Edinburgh, 1921-2021,” the message read. “Thank you for your service… you will be greatly missed.”
A source told Us Weekly on April 9 that Harry feels “guilty” that he wasn’t there to see his grandfather for the last time in person. “Harry feels guilty for not being there to say goodbye to Prince Philip in person,” the insider said.
Harry issued his official statement on Philip’s death on April 12. “My grandfather was a man of service, honour and great humour. He was authentically himself, with a seriously sharp wit, and could hold the attention of any room due to his charm—and also because you never knew what he might say next,” he said. “He will be remembered as the longest reigning consort to the Monarch, a decorated serviceman, a Prince and a Duke. But to me, like many of you who have lost a loved one or grandparent over the pain of this past year, he was my grandpa: master of the barbecue, legend of banter, and cheeky right ’til the end.”
He continued, “He has been a rock for Her Majesty The Queen with unparalleled devotion, by her side for 73 years of marriage, and while I could go on, I know that right now he would say to all of us, beer in hand, ‘Oh do get on with it!’ So, on that note, Grandpa, thank you for your service, your dedication to Granny, and for always being yourself. You will be sorely missed, but always remembered—by the nation and the world. Meghan, Archie, and I (as well as your future great-granddaughter) will always hold a special place for you in our hearts.”
Harry ended his statement with the Royal Marines motto, “Per Mare, Per Terram,” which translates to, “By Sea, By Land.”
Prince William & Kate Middleton
Along with sharing Buckingham Palace’s statement to their Instagram page, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge quietly joined other members of the royal family in changing their social media to honor the late Prince Philip. On the Kensington Royal Twitter page, the couple switched out their previous cover image to a photo of a smiling Prince Philip. Meanwhile, on Instagram, the couple swapped their icon out for a somber black-and-white family monogram.
In his formal statement on Prince Philip’s death, William described his grandfather as an “extraordinary man.” My grandfather’s century of life was defined by service – to his country and Commonwealth, to his wife and Queen, and to our family. I feel lucky to have not just had his example to guide me, but his enduring presence well into my own adult life – both through good times and the hardest days,” he said. “I will always be grateful that my wife had so many years to get to know my grandfather and for the kindness he showed her. I will never take for granted the special memories my children will always have of their great-grandpa coming to collect them in his carriage and seeing for themselves his infectious sense of adventure as well as his mischievous sense of humour!”
William continued, “My grandfather was an extraordinary man and part of an extraordinary generation. Catherine and I will continue to do what he would have wanted and will support The Queen in the years ahead. I will miss my Grandpa, but I know he would want us to get on with the job.”
Prince Charles & Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
Like the Cambridges, Clarence House replaced all of their public profile pictures with a black-and-white crest in honor of Prince Philip after sharing the same statement from Buckingham Palace to their social media accounts. In a public address on Sunday, April 11, Prince Philip’s eldest son also paid tribute to his “dear papa.”
“I particularly wanted to say that my father, for I suppose the last 70 years, has given the most remarkable, devoted service to The Queen, to my family and to the country, but also to the whole of the Commonwealth,” he said. “As you can imagine, my family and I miss my father enormously. He was a much loved and appreciated figure. Apart from anything else … I’m so deeply touched by the number of other people here and elsewhere around the world and in the Commonwealth who also share our loss and our sorrow.”
Charles went on to call Philip a “very special person” who would have been “amazed” by the love from well wishers. “We are deeply grateful for all that,” he continued. “It will sustain us in this particular loss and at this particularly sad time.”
Princess Anne, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s only daughter, posted a tribute to her late father on the Royal Family’s Instagram account on Sunday, April 11. “You know it’s going to happen but you are never really ready. My father has been my teacher, my supporter and my critic, but mostly it is his example of a life well lived and service freely given that I most wanted to emulate,” she wrote. “His ability to treat every person as an individual in their own right with their own skills comes through all the organisations with which he was involved. I regard it as an honour and a privilege to have been asked to follow in his footsteps and it has been a pleasure to have kept him in touch with their activities.”
She continued, “I know how much he meant to them, in the UK, across the Commonwealth and in the wider world. I would like to emphasise how much the family appreciate the messages and memories of so many people whose lives he also touched. We will miss him but he leaves a legacy which can inspire us all.”
Prince Edward & Sophie, Countess of Wessex,
Sophie, the Countess of Wessex and the wife of Prince Philip’s son Prince Edward, revealed that her late father-in-law passed peacefully with his family by his side at a church service on April 12. “It was right for him. It was so gentle,” she said. “It was just like somebody took him by the hand and off he went. Very, very peaceful and that’s all you want for somebody isn’t it?”
Edward, for his part, called Philip’s death ‘very, very sad” and “a bit of a shock.” “It’s been a bit of a shock. However much one tries to prepare oneself for something like this it’s still a dreadful shock. And we’re still trying to come to terms with that. And it’s very, very sad,” he said. “But I have to say that the extraordinary tribute and the memories that everybody has had and been willing to share has been so fantastic. And 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.”
In an Instagram post on April 14, Princess Eugenie, the daughter of Philip’s son Prince Andrew, looked back on her time with her grandfather. “Dearest Grandpa, We all miss you,” she wrote. “You would be so touched by all the tributes that have been shared with me the past few days. People remember sitting next to you at a dinner, or shaking your hand once, who remember you saying hello in passing, or remember how much their DofE award meant to them.”
She continued, “I remember learning how to cook, how to paint, what to read. I remember laughing at your jokes and asking about your spectacular life and service in the navy. I remember incinerating the sausages and you swooping in to save the day. I remember your hands and your laugh and your favourite beer. I will remember you in your children, your grandchildren and great grandchildren. Thank you for your dedication and love for us all and especially Granny, who we will look after for you.”
For more about Prince Philip’s life, check out Ingrid Seward’s biography about the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip Revealed, Seward, a Majesty magazine editor who has been covering the British royal family for decades for, unravels the “enigma” that we know as Prince Philip. From his early childhood in Paris to his mother’s battle with schizophrenia to his military service in World War II, Seward covers topics that many royal followers may not know about or haven’t seen on The Crown. The book also discusses how Prince Philip was “initially distrusted” by the royal court before he found his place in Buckingham Palace.