LONDON - World leaders and members of the public have offered tributes to Prince Philip, the husband of Britain's Queen Elizabeth, who died Friday at the age of 99.
On the gates of Buckingham Palace, a simple message was posted Friday morning: "It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen has announced the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh."
Within hours, floral tributes began to pile up outside Buckingham Palace, the central London home of the royal family, and at Windsor Castle west of the capital, where Prince Philip passed away Friday.
"I think it's a huge loss, not only just because he's part of the royal family, but he's a husband, a father," said 31-year-old London resident Lisa Welsh, who was among those visiting Buckingham Palace on Friday. "He's been there for the queen through her whole reign, and I think the whole nation will be sad."
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the nation from Downing Street.
"Prince Philip earned the affection of generations here in the United Kingdom, across the Commonwealth and around the world. He was the longest-serving consort in history, one of the last surviving people in this country to have served in the Second World War.
"It is to Her Majesty, and her family, that our nation's thoughts must turn today because they have lost not just a much-loved and highly respected public figure but a devoted husband and a proud and loving father, grandfather and in recent years, great-grandfather," Johnson said.
The first reaction from the royal family came from Philip's grandson Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, who quit royal duties last year and moved to California. A short message on their website, archewell.com, read: "Thank you for your service … you will be greatly missed."
In a statement, U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden offered condolences on behalf of the people of the United States.
"Over the course of his 99-year life, he saw our world change dramatically and repeatedly. From his service during World War II, to his 73 years alongside the queen, and his entire life in the public eye — Prince Philip gladly dedicated himself to the people of the U.K., the Commonwealth, and to his family. The impact of his decades of devoted public service is evident in the worthy causes he lifted up as patron, in the environmental efforts he championed, in the members of the armed forces that he supported, in the young people he inspired, and so much more. His legacy will live on not only through his family, but in all the charitable endeavors he shaped," the statement read.
Former U.S. president Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, met the queen and Philip in 2009. In a statement issued Friday, they said, "Prince Philip in particular was kind and warm, with a sharp wit and unfailing good humor. … We will miss him dearly."
In Ottawa, Canada — a member of the Commonwealth — the bell on Parliament Hill rang 99 times, one for each year of Prince Philip's life. In a televised message, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Philip was "a man of service, motivated by a sense of duty to others. Prince Philip will be remembered as a champion for young people, a decorated naval officer, a dedicated philanthropist, and a constant in the life of Queen Elizabeth II."
Scott Morrison, the prime minister of Australia, wrote on Twitter, "For nearly 80 years, Prince Philip served his Crown, his country and the Commonwealth. His Royal Highness was, in the words of Her Majesty, her 'strength and stay'. He embodied a generation that we will never see again."
India's Prime Minster Narendra Modi tweeted, "He had a distinguished career in the military and was at the forefront of many community service initiatives. May his soul rest in peace."
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tweeted, "I convey my deepest condolences on behalf of my country and the Turkish nation."
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa also offered his deepest condolences, as tributes continued to pour in from world leaders.
Philip gave up a glittering career in the navy when he married Elizabeth in 1947. She became queen upon the death of her father, King George VI, in 1952.
Philip became known for off-the-cuff remarks that sometimes caused offense — and which were often picked up by newspaper editors, leading to some lurid headlines. Royal biographer Penny Junor said he was often misunderstood.
"And I think that he will be very much missed because he has been a larger-than-life character. And these headlines, it just added some spice to life," she said.
In public, Philip was rarely seen away from the queen's side. Despite his supporting role, he invariably left a deep impression on those he met.
Philip spent a month in the hospital earlier this year and underwent a heart procedure. He returned to Windsor Castle in early March. He died two months short of his 100th birthday.