Biden Joins World Leaders Paying Tribute to U.K.’s Prince Philip

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U.S. President Joe Biden joined world leaders in paying tribute to the U.K.’s Prince Philip, who died on Friday at the age of 99, praising his decades of public service and sending condolences to Queen Elizabeth II.

“Prince Philip gladly dedicated himself to the people of the U.K., the Commonwealth, and to his family,” the president said in a joint statement with First Lady Jill Biden. “His legacy will live on not only through his family, but in all the charitable endeavors he shaped.”

Other leaders paying tribute included German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. French President Emmanuel Macron said the duke lived an “exemplary life defined by bravery.”

“Australians send our love and deepest condolences to her Majesty and all the Royal Family,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement. “The Commonwealth family joins together in sorrow and thanksgiving for the loss and life of Prince Philip.”

Earlier, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson commended the Duke of Edinburgh’s “steadfast” support to his wife, and how he had inspired young people.

‘Indisputably Vital’

“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 in a televised address outside his Downing Street office.

“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.

Johnson was speaking after royal officials released a statement saying the Queen was announcing “with deep sorrow” the death of her husband. He died “peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle,” west of London.

U.K. political parties including the Conservatives and Labour announced the suspension of political campaigning ahead of local and mayoral elections on May 6, as a mark of respect for the duke’s passing.

Pandemic Planning

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the government asked the public not to attempt to attend his funeral, nor gather at royal residences to lay flowers. It said there would be a period of national mourning ahead of the funeral, the date of which hasn’t been announced.

Figures from across Britain’s political spectrum also paid tribute to Prince Philip. He was an “extraordinary public servant” whose marriage to the Queen had been a “symbol of strength, stability and hope,” opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer said in a statement.

Sadiq Khan, the Labour mayor of London, praised the Duke of Edinburgh’s charitable work including the award established in his name, which encourages young people to complete activities and learn skills. The Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru also commended Prince Philip’s public service.

“Our whole nation will be united in sadness at the passing of Prince Philip,” said former Prime Minister Tony Blair. “He will naturally be most recognized as a remarkable and steadfast support to the Queen over so many years.”

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