London, Apr 10 (EFE).- Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, offered his first public comment Saturday on the death of his father, Prince Philip.
“My dear papa was a very special person who I think, above all else, would have been amazed by the reaction and the touching things that have been said about him,” Charles said a day after Philip died at the age of 99, two months shy of his 100th birthday.
Philip, his eldest son said, gave “the most remarkable, devoted service to The Queen, to my family and to the country” over more than 70 years of marriage to Queen Elizabeth II.
“As you can imagine, my family and I miss my father enormously. He was a much loved and appreciated figure,” the 72-year-old Prince of Wales told the media in front of his official residence of Highgrove House in Gloucestershire, on the Welsh border.
Buckingham Palace announced Saturday that the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral would take place April 17 in St. George’s Chapel on the ground of Windsor Castle with attendance limited to 30 members of the royal family.
Prince Harry, Charles’ younger son, plans to attend, but wife Meghan, who is pregnant with the couple’s second child, will remain at their home in the United States.
Gun salutes were fired from London’s Tower Bridge and elsewhere across the United Kingdom on Saturday to mark the passing of Prince Philip.
Volleys also rang out from Royal Navy ships at sea. Philip served in the Navy during World War II.
Pope Francis on Saturday became the latest in a long list of world figures to pass on his condolences over the death of the Duke of Edinburgh.
“Saddened to learn of the death of your husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, His Holiness Pope Francis offers heartfelt condolences to Your Majesty and the members of the royal family,” a statement from the Vatican said.
Prince Philip had recently spent a month in hospital and was released on March 16 after undergoing surgery for a pre-existing heart condition. That was the last time he was seen in public.
Besides Charles, Philip had three other children with Elizabeth II: Princess Anne (1950), Prince Andrew (1960), and Prince Edward (1964).
The future husband of Elizabeth II was born into a traditional European royal family: his father was Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark, while his mother, Princess Alice, was a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who said the Duke of Edinburgh had “inspired” generations of Britons.
“We are a kingdom united in both grief and gratitude; grief at Philip’s passing, and gratitude for his decades of selfless service to the country,” he said in a statement.
The leader of the opposition, Labour’s Keir Starmer, said that with the Duke’s death “an extraordinary public servant” has been lost, while Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was “saddened” by the news and conveyed her “personal and deepest condolences” to Queen Elizabeth II. EFE