His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and husband of Queen Elizabeth, passed away at Windsor Castle on April 9. He was 99 years old.
His main role was to support his wife in her duties. He also headed up hundreds of charities and made public appearances–more than 22,000 of them during his 69 years as “royal consort.” A royal consort is the spouse of a queen or king currently in power. Prince Philip was Britain’s longest serving royal consort.
Philip was born on June 10, 1921, in Greece. He was a prince of both Greece and Denmark. (He later renounced his Greek royal titles to become a British citizen.)
He met then-Princess Elizabeth, when she was 13 and he was 18. They kept in touch and later courted. They were married in 1947. They were married for 73 years and had four children: Prince Charles (who is next in line to the throne), Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward. They also have eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
A supporter of young people, Philip created The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award program, which began in Canada in 1963. The program encourages people 14 to 24 to volunteer and lead in their communities. Participants set goals and do work in five areas: voluntary service, physical recreation, skill development, adventurous journey and the gold project. As they achieve goals in the areas, they work toward eventually achieving the gold-level award, which takes at least 78 weeks to complete. The program, now in more than 100 countries, was designed to help young people build skills and participate meaningful in their communities.
Philip enjoyed collecting modern art, painting and, in his younger years, playing polo. He stepped back from his royal duties in 2017, reducing his public appearances.
Prince Philip was known as an outspoken, sometimes insensitive, person who occasionally made public remarks considered to be racist, sexist or offensive. He was also known to have made efforts to modernize the royal family–for instance, it was at his suggestion that they created the official website of the British Monarchy, royal.uk, in 2016.
The Prince said he did not want a lavish funeral. Hundreds of people have left flowers and messages outside the gates of Windsor Castle but people have been asked not to come in person because of the COVID-19 pandemic. His grandson, Prince Harry, who now lives in California, has flown to England and will attend the Prince Philip’s funeral on April 17, along with just 30 other people.
THINK AND DISCUSS
Journalists at the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) have a binder titled “Operation Fourth Bridge” that sets out events and news coverage in case of the death of Prince Philip. Members of the BBC practice drills so they know exactly what to do in the event of a death in the Royal Family.
Watch the BBC announcement below and comment on what you think the role of journalists are in the case of this kind of event. Consider journalists in the UK, but also those in other countries, including your own.
What else do you know about Prince Philip? Why, or why not, should people know or care about the Royal Family?
The BBC broke into its regular TV programming to announce the death of Prince Philip on April 9 (1 minute):
American journalist Barbara Walters interviewed prince Philip in 1969: