UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson honored the late Prince Philip as a “much loved and highly respected figure” on Friday shortly after news of the royal’s death spread across the world.
Addressing his nation from Downing Street, Johnson said the Duke of Edinburgh, who died Friday at age 99 after recent health setbacks, “inspired the lives of countless young people.”
“Prince Philip earned the affection of generations here in the United Kingdom, across the Commonwealth and around the world,” Johnson said, according to BBC News.
“He was an environmentalist and a champion of the natural world long before it was fashionable.”
The prime minister also underscored Philip’s 74 years of marriage to Queen Elizabeth II, who once called her husband her “strength and stay.”
“We remember the Duke for all of this but above all, for his steadfast support for Her Majesty the Queen, not just as her consort by her side every day of her reign but as her husband her strength and stay of more than 70 years,” Johnson said. “It is to her majesty and her family that our nation’s thoughts must turn today.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury said the legacy the prince leaves behind “is enormous.”
“He consistently put the interests of others ahead of his own and, in doing so, provided an outstanding example of Christian service,” he said.
The principal leader of the Church of England recalled Philip’s strikingly easy-going personality and warmth even as a member of one of the most famous families in the world.
“On the occasions when I met him, I was always struck by his obvious joy at life, his enquiring mind and his ability to communicate to people from every background and walk of life,” the archbishop said. “He was a master at putting people at their ease and making them feel special.”
The Royal Family website was taken down on Friday as a sign of respect, replaced with a photo of Philip and the tribute, “The Duke of Edinburgh 1921-2021,” as well as the statement announcing his peaceful death at Windsor Castle.
Other tributes flowed in from around the world.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, whose nation is part of the commonwealth, shared her “sincerest condolences” to the Queen and her family, according to the New Zealand Herald.
“Our thoughts are with Her Majesty The Queen at this profoundly sad time,” Ardern said in a statement. “Prince Philip will be fondly remembered for the encouragement he gave to so many young New Zealanders through The Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award. In over 50 years of The Award in New Zealand, thousands of young people have completed life-changing challenges through the program.”