Prince Philip became the oldest-ever male British royal in February 2013, and the third-longest-lived member of the British royal family (following Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother) in April 2019. Personally, he was not enthused about living an extremely long life, remarking in a 2000 interview (when he was 79) that he could not “imagine anything worse” and had “no desire whatsoever” to become a centenarian, saying “bits of me are falling off already”.
In 2008, Philip was admitted to King Edward VII’s Hospital, London, for a chest infection; he walked into the hospital unaided, recovered quickly, and was discharged three days later. After the Evening Standard reported that Philip had prostate cancer, Buckingham Palace – which usually refuses to comment on health rumours – denied the story and the paper retracted it.
In June 2011, in an interview marking his 90th birthday, he said that he would now slow down and reduce his duties, stating that he had “done [his] bit”. His wife, the Queen, gave him the title Lord High Admiral for his 90th birthday. While staying at Sandringham House, the royal residence in Norfolk, on December 23, 2011, the Duke suffered chest pains and was taken to the cardio-thoracic unit at Papworth Hospital, Cambridgeshire, where he underwent successful coronary angioplasty and stenting. He was discharged on December 27.
On June 4, 2012, during the celebrations in honour of his wife’s Diamond Jubilee, Philip was taken from Windsor Castle to King Edward VII’s Hospital suffering from a bladder infection. He was released from hospital on June 9. After a recurrence of infection in August 2012, while staying at Balmoral Castle, he was admitted to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary for five nights as a precautionary measure. In June 2013, Philip was admitted to the London Clinic for an exploratory operation on his abdomen, spending 11 days in hospital. On May 21, 2014, the Prince appeared in public with a bandage on his right hand after a “minor procedure” was performed in Buckingham Palace the preceding day. In June 2017, he was taken from Windsor to London and admitted to King Edward VII’s Hospital after being diagnosed with an infection. He spent two nights in the hospital and was unable to attend the State Opening of Parliament and Royal Ascot.
Prince Philip retired from his royal duties on August 2, 2017, meeting Royal Marines in his final solo public engagement, aged 96. Since 1952 he had completed 22,219 solo engagements. Prime Minister Theresa May thanked him for “a remarkable lifetime of service”. On November 0, 2017, he celebrated his 70th wedding anniversary with the Queen, which made her the first British monarch to celebrate a platinum wedding anniversary.
On April 3, 2018, Philip was admitted to King Edward VII’s Hospital for a planned hip replacement, which took place the next day. This came after the Duke missed the annual Maundy and Easter Sunday services. On April 12, his daughter, Princess Anne, spent about 50 minutes in the hospital and afterwards said her father was “on good form”. He was discharged the following day. On May 19, six weeks later, he attended the wedding of his grandson Prince Harry to Meghan Markle and was able to walk with the Queen unaided. That October, he accompanied the Queen to the wedding of their granddaughter Princess Eugenie to Jack Brooksbank, with The Telegraph reporting that Philip works on a “wake up and see how I feel” basis when deciding whether to attend an event or not.
Philip died on the morning of April 9, 2021 at Windsor Castle, aged 99, two months before his 100th birthday. He was the longest-serving royal consort in British history. In private, the Queen described her husband’s death as “having left a huge void in her life”.
The cause of death has not been disclosed, though the palace said Philip died peacefully. Philip’s daughter-in-law, the Countess of Wessex, confirmed the official statement, describing his death as “…so gentle. It was just like somebody took him by the hand and off he went.” His death led to the commencement of Operation Forth Bridge, the plan for publicly announcing his death and organising his funeral. The funeral is scheduled to take place on April 16, 2021 at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.