Britain’s Prince Philip, a stalwart supporter of his wife, Queen Elizabeth II, for over seven decades, died Friday. He was 99.
The Duke of Edinburgh was known as one of the hardest-working members of the royal family during his tenure alongside the country’s longest-reigning monarch. Philip married then-Princess Elizabeth in 1947 and fulfilled thousands of royal duties.
“He is someone who doesn’t take easily to compliments, but 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,” Queen Elizabeth said in 1997, paying tribute to her husband on their golden wedding anniversary, celebrating 50 years together.
At age 96 in August 2017, Prince Philip retired from official royal duties with the “full support of the queen,” according to Buckingham Palace.
He completed 22,219 solo engagements since 1952, gave 5,496 speeches in his travels to more than 76 countries, authored 14 books, served as patron to 785 organizations and made 637 solo overseas visits, Buckingham Palace said.
In his customary good humor, Philip joked to a well-wisher who said he was sorry the Duke of Edinburgh was standing down shortly after the retirement announcement, saying, “Standing down? I can barely stand up these days.”
Even after his official retirement, Prince Philip still appeared at Queen Elizabeth’s side for events like Remembrance Sunday, but took a step back and spent more time at Windsor Castle and Wood Farm on the Sandringham Estate to enjoy painting, carriage riding and his other hobbies.
Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth married in 1947 and marked their 73rd wedding anniversary on Nov. 20, 2020.