Friday morning April 9 was triggered the plan “Forth Bridge”, the protocol deployment stopped by Buckingham Palace for the disappearance of Prince Philip. The Duke of Edinburgh, 99, husband of Queen Elizabeth II and great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria, had just passed away in Windsor, near the one he had affectionately called “Lilibet”, his woman for 73 years.
This man, who had erased himself from public life since 2017 and had given up an active career in the Royal Navy for his role as prince consort, will have hardly left his mark on the reign of Elizabeth II. Some will especially remember his blunders (sometimes considered racist), others his sense of duty, his passion for sport or his desire to modernize the image of the monarchy from the 1960s. But all the British, this Friday, have paid tribute to a public figure who has become, by his longevity, a symbol of the permanence of the British monarchy.
Prince Philip had spent nearly a month in hospital in February, undergone heart surgery there – the Palace had not said more at the time. “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh” soberly let know the royal family in a statement Friday. Tributes poured in continuously throughout the day – from Downing Street, from all British political parties, and from scores of crowned heads, foreign heads of state. President Emmanuel Macron welcomed for his part “An exemplary life defined by bravery, a sense of duty and its commitment to youth and the environment”.
The government had asked the British not to gather because of the pandemic, but that did not prevent a steady stream of them from coming to pay homage to him in front of Buckingham Palace on Friday afternoon. Nothing would have stopped Mark Goodall and Shamus McCornick, 57 and 58, who had tears in their eyes anyway. “When the ad fell, I was paralyzed. I had goosebumps “, testifies the first. “We just lost half the Crown. He supported the queen all his life, flawlessly “, adds the second.
Union Jack is at half mast
On the roof of the palace, deserted since the start of the pandemic, the Union Jack is at half mast. Hundreds of wreaths of flowers were placed in front of the gates, as well as cards with messages of condolence. “Rest in peace, your royal highness”, “he was a gentleman like no other”, “We will miss you so much” … The atmosphere has nothing to do with the emotion that gripped the UK in 1997 when Diana died. Prince Philip was very old, his health was fragile: his death is not a shock. However, “He was the grandfather of the nation, 25-year-old Max James explains. The royal family is important, it serves as the glue of the nation, it brings us stability. “
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