Gun salutes across UK mark Prince Philip's death

Gun salutes have been fired across the UK, Gibraltar and at sea to mark the death of the Duke of Edinburgh at the age of 99.

Buckingham Palace said Philip died peacefully in his sleep at Windsor Castle on Friday, two months before his 100th birthday, and “mourned his loss” to the Queen and the Royal Family.

Saluting batteries fired 41 rounds per minute from Saturday noon in cities such as London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast as well as from warships of the Royal Navy.

Participating ships included HMS Diamond, HMS Montrose and HMNB Portsmouth, while the Royal Gibraltar Regiment joined the salute from the British overseas territory, the Department of Defense said.

The public was encouraged to watch the gun salutes fired on major national events on television or online, rather than gathering en masse to watch outside.

Two of his sons, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex, arrived at Windsor Castle on Saturday morning while the Prince of Wales visited his mother there on Friday.

Edward and the Countess of Wessex spent about an hour at the castle and Sophie told reporters “the Queen was amazing” when they left Windsor in a Land Rover.

Details of the Duke’s funeral, due to take place at St. George’s Chapel, are slated to be released this weekend – but the ongoing lockdown in England will affect plans.

It was known that Philip, described by the Queen as her “constant strength and leadership”, wanted a minimum of fuss at his funeral.

Buckingham Palace said: “During the coronavirus pandemic and given current government advice and social distancing guidelines, modified funeral and ceremonial rules for HRH The Duke of Edinburgh are being considered by Her Majesty the Queen. Details will be confirmed in due course. “

All of Philip’s four children spoke about a BBC tribute Friday night and remembered him as someone who had encouraged and supported them.

Charles described his father’s life as an “amazing achievement” while Edward said his father had a “challenging role” but performed it with the “most extraordinary torch” and never tried to overshadow the Queen.

The Princess Royal said she remembered best that her father was “always there,” someone to help with a problem or exchange ideas, and the Duke of York remembered Philip reading to the family that evening .

An online book of condolence was opened to the public on the royal family’s official website, allowing personal tributes to be posted as a steady stream of mourners left flowers outside Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle on Friday.

Urging the public not to gather en masse, the palace said: “Those who wish to offer their condolences are asked to do so in the safest possible manner and not to gather in the Royal Residences.”

The monarch may give a televised address in memory of her husband of more than 70 years – the longest-serving wife in British history – but details of a possible broadcast have yet to be confirmed.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Philip will be remembered for his Duke of Edinburgh’s awards program which “shaped and inspired the lives of countless young people” and for his “unwavering support” for the Queen.

US President Joe Biden highlighted the Duke’s “decades of dedicated public service”, World War II service and environmental efforts to remember his legacy.

During the coronavirus lockdown, Philip stayed at Windsor Castle with the Queen for her safety, along with a reduced household of staff referred to as the HMS Bubble.

Gun salutes across UK mark Prince Philip's death 1

The couple is believed to have spent more time together in the past 12 months protecting themselves from the virus than they would in a normal year – a throwback to the early years of their marriage.

Philip had returned to Windsor Castle on March 16 to reunite with the Queen after a month in hospital – his longest stay ever.

He was initially treated for an infection, but then underwent heart surgery for an existing illness.

Union flags were hoisted at half mast in all royal residences as a token of respect, and Westminster Abbey – where the Queen and Philip were married in 1947 – rang its tenor bell 99 times every 60 seconds on Friday night.

A period of mourning is expected and any scheduled official royal events that fall during that period will likely be postponed.

The cabinet met at 5 p.m. on Friday to pay tribute to the Duke, and Parliament will be called back from its Easter break on Monday, one day before his scheduled return.

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