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Britain mourned the death of Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, on Friday from the moment the BBC interrupted scheduled programming to broadcast the national anthem, “God Save the Queen.”
Soon after the announcement, people began to line up outside Buckingham Palace to see the official death notice that had been attached to the gate. The flag at the palace, the queen’s residence in London, was lowered to half-staff.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Philip “earned the affection of generations here in Britain, across the Commonwealth and around the world.”
“Like the expert carriage driver that he was, he helped to steer the royal family and the monarchy so that it remains an institution indisputably vital to the balance and happiness of our national life,” Johnson said.
Keir Starmer, leader of the opposition Labour Party, was among the first to offer his condolences, noting Philip’s long record of public service, first as as a naval officer during World War II then during more than 70 years of marriage to the queen.
“He will be remembered most of all for his extraordinary commitment and devotion to The Queen,” Starmer said in a statement.
“For more than seven decades, he has been at her side. Their marriage has been a symbol of strength, stability and hope, even as the world around them changed — most recently during the pandemic. It was a partnership that inspired millions in Britain and beyond.”
World leaders also expressed their sadness. Former U.S. President George Bush and his wife, Laura, offered condolences to the monarch and the entire royal family.
“He represented the United Kingdom with dignity and brought boundless strength and support to the sovereign,” Bush said in a statement. “Laura and I are fortunate to have enjoyed the charm and wit of his company, and we know how much he will be missed.”
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