Boris Johnson pays tribute to Duke of Edinburgh

The prime minister said Prince Philip was “a champion of the natural world long before it was fashionable”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has paid tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh, after the palace announced his death earlier today.

Speaking from a podium in Downing Street, Mr Johnson said: “"Prince Philip earned the affection of generations here in the United Kingdom, across the Commonwealth and around the world.

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"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, at Cape Matapan, where he was mentioned in dispatches for bravery, and in the invasion of Sicily where he saved his ship by his quick thinking.

"From that conflict he took an ethic of service that he applied throughout the unprecedented changes of the post-war era.

"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.

“He was an environmentalist, and a champion of the natural world long before it was fashionable.

“With his Duke of Edinburgh awards scheme he shaped and inspired the lives of countless young people and at literally tens of thousands of events he fostered their hopes and encouraged their ambitions.

Boris Johnson pays tribute to Duke of Edinburgh (Photo: ARTHUR EDWARDS/AFP via Getty Images)

“We remember the duke for all of this and above all for his steadfast support for Her Majesty the Queen.

“Not just as her consort, by her side every day of her reign, but as her husband, her ‘strength and stay’, of more than 70 years.

“And it is to Her Majesty, and her family, that our nation’s thoughts must turn today.

He added: “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.”

"Speaking on their golden wedding anniversary, her majesty said that our country owed her husband a greater debt than he would ever claim or we shall ever know, and I’m sure that estimate is correct.

"So we mourn today with her majesty the Queen, we offer our condolences to her and to all her family, and we give thanks as a nation and a kingdom for the extraordinary life and work of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh”.

Mr Johnson’s fiancee, Carrie Symonds, Tweeted: “So very sad to hear of the passing of HRH, the Duke of Edinburgh. An incredible life devoted to the Queen, his family and our country. Thoughts and prayers with Her Majesty and the Royal Family.”

‘Deep sorrow’

The Palace said in a statement: “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

“His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.

“Further announcements will made in due course.

“The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.”