Poland’s embassy extends condolences to British royal family

“We extend our deepest sympathies to the Royal Family,” Poland’s embassy to the UK wrote on Twitter as Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth's husband, died on Friday morning at Windsor Castle.

“We are very sad to hear of the death of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. We extend our deepest sympathies to the Royal Family.,” the Polish embassy wrote.

Prince Philip had been by his wife's side throughout her 69-year reign, the longest in British history. During that time he earned a reputation for a tough, no-nonsense attitude and a propensity for occasional gaffes.

"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," the palace said in a statement.

"His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle. Further announcements will be made in due course. The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss."

A Greek prince, Philip married Elizabeth in 1947. He went on to play a key role in modernising the monarchy in the post-World War Two period, and behind the walls of Buckingham Palace was the one key figure the queen could turn to and trust.

"He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years," Elizabeth said in a rare personal tribute to Philip, made in a speech marking their 50th wedding anniversary in 1997. "I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know."

Philip spent four weeks in hospital earlier this year for treatment for an infection and to have a heart procedure, but returned to Windsor in early March. He died just two months before he was to celebrate his 100th birthday.

Flags at Buckingham Palace and at government buildings across Britain were lowered to half-mast. No details about his funeral were disclosed yet, but ceremonies are likely to eschew the grand displays of pomp that often follow royal deaths.

That would reflect Philip's well-known aversion to drama, and it is unlikely there will be a state funeral or that his body will lie in state.

The prince's charm and disinclination to tolerate those he regarded as foolish or sycophantic earned him a position of respect among some Britons. But to others, his sometimes brusque demeanor made him appear rude and aloof. He was a delight to newspaper editors keen to pick up on any stray remark at official events.

The former naval officer admitted he found it hard to give up the military career he loved and to take on the job as the monarch's consort, for which there was no clear-cut constitutional role.

"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," British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

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