LONDON: Gun salutes echoed around the United Kingdom on Saturday as the military paid solemn tribute to Queen Elizabeth II’s husband Prince Philip after his death aged 99.
Coordinated 41-round salutes to the former Royal Navy commander were fired at one round per minute from 12:00 (1100 GMT) in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, as well as at naval bases, from ships at sea, and in the British territory Gibraltar.
The number of shots fired — the longest salute used according to military protocol — has been fired in the past to mark the deaths of queen Victoria and wartime prime minister Winston Churchill.
Similar salutes were also held in Canberra and Wellington, as the queen is head of state in Australia and New Zealand.
PM Imran Khan, other world leaders condole death of Queen Elizabeth II’s husband
Sporting events, including Premier League football matches and at English county championship cricket, held moments of silence as part of worldwide tributes to mark the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, during a period of national mourning.
The death of the duke, the longest serving royal consort in British history, on Friday is a profound loss for the 94-year-old monarch, who once described her husband of 73 years as her “strength and stay” throughout her long reign.
Current and former world leaders joined a chorus of condolences from around the world following the death of Prince Philip. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed Philip’s “extraordinary life”, sending his condolences to Queen Elizabeth after her husband’s death was announced. Among other world leaders who paid tribute to Prince Philip included Prime Minister Imran Khan, US President Joe Biden, former president Donald Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and EU Commission head Ursula von der Leyen.
Flags half mast
Flags are flying at half-mast on government buildings and will do so until the morning after his funeral, the date of which has yet to be announced.
A two-minute silence will be held ahead of Saturday’s Grand National, the country’s showpiece horse race.
The well-rehearsed protocol for the duke’s death — codenamed “Forth Bridge” — includes the recall of parliament on Monday.
British television stations cleared their schedules for special broadcasts looking back on his life, although the BBC said it had received complaints about the blanket coverage.
Westminster Abbey, where the couple married in 1947, tolled its tenor bell 99 times on Friday, once for each year of the prince’s life.
Published in Dawn, April 11th, 2021