The death of the Duke initiated Operation Forth Bridge, a plan detailing procedures including the dissemination of information, national mourning, and his funeral. The Duke had indicated wishes for a smaller funeral, though amendments were still made to the plan to bring his service in line with COVID-19 regulations, including quarantine for members of the Duke's family travelling from abroad.
Representatives of nations and groups around the world sent condolences to the Queen, the British people, and citizens of the Commonwealth. Flowers and messages of condolence were left by the public at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, with members of the royal family publicly paying tribute to the Duke in the days after his death.
Three weeks after his return from hospital, his death was announced by the royal family at noon BST on 9 April 2021, with the release of a statement saying he had "died peacefully" that morning at Windsor Castle. The Duke's daughter-in-law, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, described his death as "...so gentle. It was just like somebody took him by the hand and off he went." The Queen was reportedly at her husband's bedside when he died.
The Royal Standard flying at full-mast at Windsor Castle on 11 April
The press release was issued at midday. The BBC suspended all non-children's programming until at least 6 pm on 9 April, and replaced it with respectful programming following the announcement. On the radio, the broadcasts were changed first to the national anthem, and then to sombre music. The BBC's television channels adopted special reports on the Duke's life. On BBC News, presenter Martine Croxall interrupted the rolling reports to announce the Duke's death. She removed her necklace before the channel briefly cut to images of the Duke to allow her to change into black; all BBC channels then assumed the BBC News feed for the report.
To announce the news on BBC One, the broadcast went dark, with a simple title card then appearing and announcing a news report would follow. Croxall announced the death of the Duke again before reading the press release. After the announcement, an image of the Duke was shown, with the national anthem played. Croxall was replaced by BBC News' lead anchor Huw Edwards for the BBC News at One. On ITV, a live interview on This Morning was interrupted, with host Eamonn Holmes quietly informed of the death by crew members in order to announce the news. He brought the programme to an end and the network changed its feed to ITN for Lucrezia Millarini to announce the news. The other major British broadcasters, Channel 4 and Channel 5, had similar responses, and all networks suspended regular programming until various times in the afternoon and evening of 9 April; programming on BBC Four was suspended for the entire day. BBC television presenters have black clothing on hand in the case of sudden high-profile deaths, and a BBC guideline saw all presenters and guests, during suspended programming, wearing black. On BBC channels, presenters were still dressed in black over the weekend following the Duke's death and on 12 April, while ITV presenters on Good Morning Britain on that date were not. Channel 4 was later criticised for continuing with much of its planned schedule on the evening of 9 April, but both the BBC and ITV received a flood of viewer complaints for postponing or cancelling their regular programmes to allow continuous coverage. Viewer ratings fell across the television networks except Channel 4, which gained viewers. By 13 April, the BBC had received nearly 111,000 complaints over its coverage, overtaking Jerry Springer: The Opera as Britain's most complained about broadcast.
At 6 pm on 9 April, the tenor bell of Westminster Abbey began ringing, and was tolled once every minute for 99 minutes, to reflect the Duke's lifespan.
Plans for the funeral, which occurred on 17 April, a Saturday, included the Duke's coffin being carried by the Grenadier Guards to the State Entrance of Windsor Castle before being taken to the West Steps of St George's Chapel at 2:45 pm on a custom-built Land Rover Defender hearse in Edinburgh green that the Duke helped design. The Quadrangle, the point from which the coffin departed, was lined by the Household Cavalry, the Foot Guards, as well as military detachments from units with special links to the Duke. Defence advisors from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Trinidad and Tobago were also present, representing the Duke's links to units in their respective countries. The coffin was draped with his personal standard, carried his naval cap and his sword, and had a wreath of white roses and lilies placed on it with a note written by the Queen. The band of the Grenadier Guards led the procession from the Quadrangle to Horseshoe Cloister, followed by military commanders and chiefs of staff.
At the West Steps of the chapel, which were lined by the Household Cavalry, eight pallbearers from the Royal Marines carried the coffin. A guard of honour and band from the Rifles Regiment played the national anthem and the Royal Navy pipers piped the side at 2:53 pm, followed by a national minute's silence at 3 pm. Around 730 members of the Armed Forces were present at Windsor Castle, including four military bands.
No sermons or eulogies were delivered at the service at the Duke's wish. The ceremony highlighted his links to the Royal Navy and his passion for the sea. The Royal Family confirmed that for the memorial, the Duke had handpicked all the music himself. His choices were "imbued with his long, proud legacy with the Royal Navy, and a deep love of Britain's musical heritage."
The Duke was buried in the Royal Vault at St George's Chapel. Upon the Queen's death, his remains will be moved to the King George VI Memorial Chapel inside St George's, where they will be buried next to each other.
Regulations against mass gatherings brought in because of the COVID-19 pandemic meant that the number of guests attending the funeral was limited to thirty. This limit did not include anyone working at the funeral, such as pallbearers and clergy. As a result, only members of the Royal Family and a limited number of relatives attended the ceremony inside the chapel. The Queen sat alone at the service. Per COVID-19 regulations, households were separated by two metres. All attendees were required to wear masks and not sing.
Prince Harry, who resides in California in the United States, had planned to return to the UK for the Duke's 100th birthday in June and the unveiling of a statue of his mother in July. He instead returned six days prior to the funeral. He would have been joined by his wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, but she did not receive medical clearance from her doctor for making the trip due to her pregnancy. To comply with COVID-19 regulations for travel into the UK, Prince Harry had to quarantine for at least five days upon his arrival in the UK; there is an existing exemption in law which allows for mourners from abroad to temporarily leave quarantine to attend a funeral.
Other attendees included Prince Philipp of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (grandson of the Duke's sister Princess Margarita), Hereditary Prince Bernhard of Baden (grandson of the Duke's sister Princess Theodora), and Landgrave Donatus of Hesse (great-nephew of the Duke's sister Princess Sophie). The Duke had requested that members of his German family, who were prevented from attending his wedding, be allowed to attend his funeral; the group travelled to the UK on the weekend following his death and quarantined in Ascot, Berkshire.
Thames Valley Police started deploying officers on 13 April to search Windsor ahead of the funeral service. Security measures in the area were heightened, as police presence in the area also increased, with police forces checking vehicles around the town using the ANPR system.
In private, the Queen said her husband's death had "left a huge void in her life".
The Duke's children, Charles, Prince of Wales; Anne, Princess Royal; Prince Andrew, Duke of York; and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, paid tribute to him in interviews recorded for broadcast after his death. Princess Anne stated, "Without him, life will be completely different". Prince Charles also made a televised short statement from Highgrove House, describing his father as a "much loved and appreciated figure" who had "given the most remarkable, devoted service to the Queen, to my family and to the country, but also to the whole of the Commonwealth". The Duke's grandson and granddaughter-in-law, Prince Harry and Meghan, publicly said he would be "greatly missed".
Upon announcement of the Duke's death, the website of the Royal Family temporarily removed all its content and replaced it with a black background, displaying a statement from the palace, before an online book of condolence was made available on the website for the public to post their personal tributes, given that COVID-19 restrictions prevent a physical book of condolences to be signed by the public. In accordance with the Queen's wishes, the royal family and the royal households observed two weeks of mourning starting on 9 April. With the Queen's birthday falling in the mourning period, traditional 41-gun and 21-gun salutes in Hyde Park and the Tower of London did not take place.
The children of the Duke and the Queen, and several of their spouses and children, travelled to Windsor to support the Queen in the days following the Duke's death, and several members of the family attended a memorial service at the Royal Chapel of All Saints on 11 April. Following the service, Prince Andrew said that the UK had lost the "grandfather of the nation". Later that day, Princess Anne published a written statement on the Royal Family's website and paid tribute to her father, whom she described as her "teacher, supporter and critic".
In a statement released on 12 April, Prince William described the Duke as an "extraordinary man", adding that he felt "lucky to have not just had his example to guide me, but his enduring presence well into my own adult life". A portrait taken by his wife, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, of their son, Prince George, with the Duke was also published. In a separate statement, Prince Harry said that the Duke was "a man of service, honour and great humour" and added that he, Meghan, and their children will always hold a "special place" for him in their hearts. A portrait of the Queen and the Duke with seven of their great-grandchildren, also taken by Catherine, was released in a series of social media posts by members of the royal family to pay their tributes.
On 14 April, Princess Eugenie released a statement on Instagram saying the Duke would be "touched" by recent tributes and thanked him "for his dedication and love for us all and especially Granny, who we will look after for you." The following day, Prince Edward also remarked that messages from the public were "uplifting" and said that the Duke's "spirit and ethos lives on through his Award, through each and every life touched." On 16 April, Mike Tindall, Princess Anne's son-in-law, also posted on Instagram, sharing a photograph taken by Catherine depicting his eldest daughter, Mia, alongside the Duke, calling him a "devoted family man who we will forever miss but always love". A photograph of the Queen and the Duke, taken by Sophie in 2003, was also shared on social media on the eve of the funeral; it was said to be one of the Queen's favourite pictures.
Meghan, who was unable to travel, sent a personalised note and a wreath of flowers to be laid at the Duke's funeral. The arrangement was made up of sea hollies (representing the Royal Marines), bear's breeches (the national flower of Greece), bellflowers (representing gratitude and everlasting love), rosemary (representing remembrance), lavenders (representing devotion) and roses (representing June, the Duke's birth month).
On 21 April 2021, on the occasion of her 95th birthday, the Queen expressed gratitude for the warm wishes she received, and also added that the royal family, while in mourning, had been comforted see and to hear "the tributes paid to [Prince Philip], from people within the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and around the world". She added she was deeply touched and thanked the public for their "support and kindness shown to us in recent days".
Members of the House of Lords observing a minute's silence before tributes to the Duke on 12 April
On 17 April, a series of events were held in Scotland and Northern Ireland to pay tribute to the Duke on the day of his funeral, and gun salutes at Edinburgh Castle and Hillsborough Castle marked the beginning and end of the national minute's silence at 3 pm.
Alderman Bill Keery, a DUP councillor, was suspended from the party after making reference to "grooming" when speaking about the first meeting between the Duke and the Queen when she was 13.
In May 2021, the Royal Mail honoured Philip by issuing four black and white stamps depicting him at various stages of his life.
Due to restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the public were advised not to leave flowers in tribute to the Duke, and a notice marking the Duke's death outside Buckingham Palace was removed to avoid crowds forming around it as members of the public gathered to read it. Despite this, over a hundred floral and card tributes were placed at the Palace gates by mourners, and thousands gathered to pay their respects. Two men outside Buckingham Palace "celebrated" Prince Philip's death by opening and consuming a bottle of sparkling wine. An elegy was published by Simon Armitage to mark the Duke's death.
The Royal Family suggested that instead of leaving floral tributes at royal residences, the public could support charity. Flowers left at Windsor Castle were collected and displayed privately in castle grounds, and a portion of the flowers and cards from Buckingham Palace and the Royal Parks were taken to the gardens of Marlborough House in Westminster, where Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, visited on 15 April to view the tributes. Floral tributes at Windsor Castle were also visited the following day by Prince Edward and his wife, Sophie, alongside their daughter, Lady Louise Windsor. On the day of the funeral, crowds lined the streets leading to Windsor Castle to pay their respects.
The heavy coverage of the death, particularly by the BBC, received some public criticism. On 15 April, it was announced that the BBC received 109,741 complaints about their handling of the Duke's death, the majority of which was reported to be criticism that the coverage was excessive. As a result, the BBC's coverage of the Duke's death has been the most widely complained-about piece of programming in its history.
As the Duke was Greek by birth, the Greek president, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, shared a photograph of him as a young boy. The photograph had been presented to the nation by Prince Charles on a visit to Athens in March 2021, weeks before the Duke's death; in it, the young Philip is dressed in the uniform of an Evzone guard. Sakellaropoulou's message acknowledged the Duke's service to the UK as "his country".Constantine II, the Duke's cousin and the last king of the Hellenes, described the Duke as "a remarkable man who dedicated his entire life to duty and service for his country and the Commonwealth," and added: "My sorrow is even deeper because of our close family ties. He will be deeply missed by all of us."
The Saint Spyridon Church in Corfu where a memorial prayer took place for the Duke on the day of his funeral
In Corfu, on the day of the funeral, the Duke was honoured with a memorial prayer. The ceremony lasted for 40 minutes and took place in the sanctuary of Agios Spyridon. The ceremony took place at the same time as the funeral at Windsor. The service inside the Saint Spyridon Church was officiated by the Metropolitan of Corfu, Paxos and Diapontia, Nektarios. The Corfu Authorities were represented by the Mayor of Central Corfu M. Hydraiou, the president of the Municipal Council of the Central Municipality D. Metallinos and the Member of Parliament of ND St. Gikas. A laurel wreath was also sent by King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie.
From Denmark, a nation of which the Duke was born a prince, the Duke's cousin Queen Margrethe II sent condolences to Queen Elizabeth II. The Danish Royal House shared a portrait of the Duke on social media, in which he was wearing the Danish Order of the Elephant. The flags over the Queen's official residence at Amalienborg in Copenhagen were flown at half-mast, by her orders, for the Duke's funeral on 17 April.
As a senior member of the British royal family, the Duke was also a prominent figure in the Commonwealth of Nations and, particularly, the Commonwealth realms. Representatives of the governments and official oppositions of multiple Commonwealth realms and nations, from throughout the Duke's tenure as consort, shared messages of condolences to the Queen, and in mourning the Duke for their people as well as the British. Many noted the Duke's support and patronage of organisations throughout the Commonwealth, particularly his support for the Duke of Edinburgh's Award programme.[a]Commonwealth Secretary-GeneralThe Baroness Scotland of Asthal also paid tribute, and offered condolences on her behalf.
Flags were flown at half-mast across the Commonwealth to mark mourning and respect for the Duke. The governments of The Bahamas, Canada, and the Solomon Islands issued notices to fly the national flag at half-mast from the announcement of the death to after the funeral and burial. Notices to fly the national flag at half-mast on specific days during the mourning period were also issued by the governments of Australia, Belize, New Zealand, Saint Lucia, and Saint Kitts and Nevis.[b] In Antigua and Barbuda, the flag of the governor-general was flown at half-mast until the day of the funeral.
Several other memorial services were also planned to take place in Canada on 17 April, although the number of guests allowed to attend these services were also limited due to COVID-19 restrictions. As a result, the largest in-person Canadian memorial service for the Duke occurred in Halifax, Nova Scotia, with 100 guests permitted to attend the provincial service. Services in Halifax and Toronto were also broadcast online, with the former service featuring a eulogy by Lieutenant Governor Arthur LeBlanc.
The High Commission of Cyprus in London flying the flags of Cyprus and the European Union at half-mast on the day of the funeral
In Cyprus, where the Duke was an officer in the Royal Navy's Mediterranean Fleet and spent a decade in local waters; churches were encouraged to hold a commemorative service before the funeral. During the period of "remembrance and mourning", the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf asked its parish churches to hold a special service to commemorate the Duke's life; and to place a book of condolence for the public to express their condolences. In Nicosia, as well as other capital cities of the Gulf Region and Iraq, commemorative services were planned after consultation with the British embassy.
A Sung Eucharist was conducted on 14 April at St Paul's Anglican Cathedral, Nicosia, in thanksgiving for the Duke's life. It was attended by Archbishop Michael Lewis and British High Commissioner to CyprusStephen Lillie. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, some people were allowed inside the cathedral, while some remained seated outside.
Dabbawalas in Mumbai also expressed deep sorrow over the death of the Duke. Raghunath Medge, an office-bearer of the dabbawalas' association, expressed his "heartfelt" condolences, on behalf of all the dabbawalas of Mumbai. Subhash Talekar, a leader of dabbawalas, said that he was saddened to hear the news of his death and they stand by the Royal family in this moment of grief. Some locals in Mumbai stated that he was a "very good gentleman" and did a "very good job for his country", and said that they will be praying for him.
On 17 April, a gun salute was organised to commemorate the death of the Duke at noon at the Upper Barrakka Saluting Battery overlooking the Grand Harbour in Valletta. The nine-gun salute – one for each decade of the Duke of Edinburgh's life – was organised by the Wirt Artna Foundation and the Malta Tourism Authority. Spectators gathered at Upper Barrakka Gardens to witness the gun salute. Several businesses in Marsa and Sliema also flew their flags at half-mast and put up posters in memory of the Duke on 17 April.
Tributes to the Duke were also held at Villa Guardamangia in Pietà; a villa where the Duke lived while serving in the navy in the late 1940s. The villa was also used as the residence of the Queen (then Princess Elizabeth) and the Duke from 1949 to 1951, when he was stationed in Malta as the captain of HMS Magpie. The tribute was organised by the Malta George Cross Movement; and saw members of the movement, the Royal Naval Association Malta branch, the Malta Command WW2 Living History Group, and members of the public lay flowers and wreaths at the steps of the villa.
A 41-gun salute was observed in New Zealand from Point Jerningham at noon on 11 April. On 13 April, MPs in New Zealand convened to pay tribute to him, including performing a waiata, before adjourning for the day.
Yaohnanen men in 2012, holding photographs from their meeting with the Duke in 2007
The Kastom people around the villages of Yaohnanen and Yakel on the southern island of Tanna in Vanuatu, who worship Prince Philip as a god-like spiritual figure, also mourned his death. Village Chief Albi said that he was "terribly, terribly sorry" that he died and tribal leader Chief Yapa sent his condolences to the Royal Family and the people of the UK. The Union Flag was flown at half mast on the grounds of the nakamal. A formal weeks-long mourning period was declared and many tribespeople gathered on 12 April in a ceremony to remember the Duke, where men took turns to speak and pay tribute to him.
During their mourning period, villagers met periodically to conduct rites for him, who they see as a "recycled descendant of a very powerful spirit or god that lives on one of their mountains". They conducted ritualistic dance, held a procession, and displayed memorabilia of the Duke, while the men drank kava, a ceremonial drink made from the roots of the kava plant. The period of mourning culminated with a "significant gathering" where a great deal of yams and kava plants were on display. Numerous pigs are expected to have been killed for the ceremony.
Referring to the Queen, Chief Jack Malia said though the Duke is dead, they still have a connection with the "mother" of the royal family, and that they were "linked before and are still linked with them". Many of the tribesmen believe that while his body lies at rest, the Duke's soul will return to "its spiritual home, the island of Tanna".
Kirk Huffman, an anthropologist familiar with the group, said that after their period of mourning the group would probably transfer their veneration to Prince Charles, who had visited Vanuatu in 2018 and met with some of the tribal leaders.
Sweden honoured the Duke, who was a Knight of the Order of the Seraphim, the foremost order of Sweden, on the day of his funeral. The Duke was awarded the order by King Gustaf VI Adolf on June 23, 1954. The Duke was the 683rd Knight of the Order since its inception in 1748.
The Duke's coat of arms as a Knight of the Royal Order of the Seraphim was then taken from the palace to Riddarholmen Church in Stockholm, where the great bell rang a traditional Seraphim Toll (Serafimerringningen) for one hour, from noon to 1 pm. The Vice-Chancellor delivered the eulogy for the deceased Knight of the Order. The Duke's coat of arms were then hung in the church. The Duke's sash and Order of the Seraphim was on display in St George's Chapel on the day of the funeral. The Swedish Royal Family sent wreaths to the British Royal Family.
On the day of the funeral, the Irish National flag at all State buildings in Ireland was flown at half-mast as a "mark of respect" for the Duke. Under Ireland's National Flag Guidelines, the flag is flown at half-mast on "all prominent government buildings" with a permanent flag pole on the death of a national or international figure.
^The Australian flag was flown at half-mast on 10 April and 17 April. In Belize, the governor-general ordered all national flags and church bells rung on 17 April. In New Zealand, flags on government and naval buildings were ordered at half-mast on 10 April, 13 April, 17 April, and on 21 April, the day of the memorial service in New Zealand. In Saint Lucia, the government announced the flag would be flown at half-mast on 9 April. In Saint Kitts and Nevis, government buildings and facilities were instructed to fly all flags at half-mast on 17 April.
^"Parliament recalled for Duke of Edinburgh tributes". Independent. 9 April 2021. Retrieved 10 April 2021. Parliament is to be recalled on Monday to allow MPs to pay tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh following his death earlier today. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will lead the tributes from 2.30pm, as the House of Commons reconvenes a day early after its Easter break.