Edinburgh pays tribute following death of Prince Philip

Flags on Edinburgh’s public buildings flew at half-mast after the death was announced of Prince Philip just two months away from his 100th birthday.

Lord Provost Frank Ross led the Capital’s tributes, offering “heartfelt sympathies” and saying he left a “longstanding legacy”.

Councillor Ross, who is also Lord Lieutenant, said: “Throughout Prince Philip’s extraordinary lifetime, he showed great appreciation for this city and its people.

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“During his countless visits, he regularly reached out to fellow veterans and serving personnel and thousands of our children and students, both through the Duke of Edinburgh Award and his longstanding links with our Universities.”

The Duke of Edinburgh at a presentation reception for The Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award holders in the gardens at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in July 2017 Photo: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Buckingham Palace issued a statement shortly after midday on Thursday, announcing the Duke had died earlier in the morning at Windsor Castle, where he had spent much of the Covid-19 crisis along with the Queen. He had returned there on March 16 after spending a month in hospital, during which he had heart surgery.

Prince Philip was Chancellor of Edinburgh University for more than 50 years and was patron, president or member of around 30 Edinburgh-based organisations, including Heriot Watt University, the Botanical Society of Scotland and Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, the National Galleries, Royal British Legion and the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce.

The Palace statement said: "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. The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss."

The Lion Rampant flies at half mast above the Palace of Holyroodhouse following the death of the Duke of Edinburgh. Picture: Lesley Martin/PA Wire

Born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark in Corfu on 10 June 1921, he married the then Princess Elizabeth on 20 November 1947.

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On the morning of their wedding, he was created the Duke of Edinburgh and she became the Duchess of Edinburgh.

He retired from his royal duties in August 2017, having completed more than 22,200 solo engagements since 1952. He was the longest-serving consort in British history.

Campaigning for the Holyrood election was suspended following the announcement of Prince Philip’s death..

As Chancellor of Edinburgh University the Duke of Edinburgh attended the installation of Iain Macwhirter as Rector in March 2009. Picture: Jane Barlow
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In a statement First Minister Nicola Sturgeon expressed her deepest sympathy to the Queen and the rest of the royal family on behalf of the people of Scotland.

"The Duke of Edinburgh had deep and longstanding ties to Scotland, attending school here at Gordonstoun and regularly holidaying at Balmoral Castle.

"From his patronage of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme, to his close association with the University of Edinburgh as chancellor for over 50 years and his commitments to countless charities and organisations, Prince Philip's long contribution to public life in Scotland will leave a profound mark on its people."

But the First Minister urged people not to lay floral tributes at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

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The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh host a reception at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in July 2016 Pic Greg Macvean

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: "We have lost a tremendous public servant who for decades served his Queen and country.”

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said Scotland was mourning the loss of "a dedicated public servant".

One of Prince Philip’s lasting legacies will be the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award which he launched in 1956.

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Its director in Scotland, Helen Anderson, said: “The Duke was a remarkable man who achieved so much in his life. It was through his sheer determination, drive and vision that The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award became the success it is today.“The DofE started in Scotland which is a heritage we are incredibly proud of. This legacy has helped transform the lives of thousands of young people in Scotland, and millions more around the world. It remains as relevant to young people’s lives today as it ever was.”

The Duke was Chancellor of Edinburgh University from 1953 until 2010, making regular visits, conferring honorary degrees and officially opening many university buildings.

In a statement, the university said: "Throughout nearly 60 years of change, he oversaw the development and growth of the University and gave invaluable support to students, staff and senior University officials.

“His passionate belief in the positive benefits of education, as well as an innate inquisitiveness in scientific development was evident during his time as Chancellor.”

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The university opened a virtual book of condolence on its website and plans a celebration of his life at a date to be announced.

Former principal Professor Timothy O'Shea said the prince was an unforgettable character who made a tremendous contribution and liked "a certain amount of student wildness".

"He was reminiscing with me about riotous installations of the rector, with students throwing flour and doing all sorts of things," recalled Professor O’Shea.

"He asked me when the next one was and I said I would let him know. The administration and other colleagues said you mustn't tell him, but I felt honour-bound to.

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"He immediately, despite attempts from the Special Branch, insisted he came along for some uproar. In the event it was quite mild and he remonstrated with me afterwards that I'd made it too orderly."

The Rt Rev Dr Martin Fair, Moderator of the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly, said: “The death of the Duke of Edinburgh marks the end of an era in the life of our nation. Prince Philip’s naval service to our country in time of war, and his enormous service to the nation afterwards, and his support of many organisations and charities in industry, education, conservation and sport have been an example to many.”

Provost of Midlothian Peter Smaill recalled the last occasion Prince Philip visited Midlothian on September 9, 2015, when he and the Queen travelled by steam train to Newtongrange to unveil a plaque marking the opening of Newtongrange Station on the Borders Railway line.

“It was an historic and joyful event, made all the more memorable as it fell on the same day the Queen became Britain's longest-serving monarch.

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“Everyone who was there will remember how Her Majesty and Prince Philip took time to speak to local people and to share the excitement of that momentous day.”

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