May 14, 2021

Premium Newspaper

The Premium News Provider

‘Never slowed down at all, which I admire the devil out of’: Biden leads US tributes to Prince Philip


President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden have led US tributes to Prince Philip following his death at the age of 99.

In addition to a formal statement released by the White House on Friday morning, Mr Biden made some brief comments to reporters during an Oval Office meeting in the afternoon.

He said: “Jill and I and the entire administration send our condolences to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on the loss of Prince Philip. He was a heck of a guy.”

The president noted “his bravery, serving in World War Two, as well as his being champion of the environment as well as the charitable things he set up.”

He added: “I think he’s going to be missed, particularly in the United Kingdom. 99 years old and never slowed down at all, which I admire the devil out of.”

The formal statement says the Duke of Edinburgh “dedicated himself to the people of the UK, the Commonwealth, and to his family”.

“On behalf of all the people of the United States, we send our deepest condolences to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the entire Royal Family, and all the people of the United Kingdom on the death of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh,” the statement reads.

“Over the course of his 99-year life, he saw our world change dramatically and repeatedly. From his service during World War II, to his 73 years alongside the Queen, and his entire life in the public eye — Prince Philip gladly dedicated himself to the people of the UK, the Commonwealth, and to his family.”

It continues: “The impact of his decades of devoted public service is evident in the worthy causes he lifted up as patron, in the environmental efforts he championed, in the members of the Armed Forces that he supported, in the young people he inspired, and so much more.”

“His legacy will live on not only through his family, but in all the charitable endeavors he shaped,” Mr Biden says. “Jill and I are keeping the Queen and Prince Philip’s children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren in our hearts during this time.”

Vice President Kamala Harris conveyed her and her husband Doug Emhoff’s condolences to the royal family. She hailed the duke’s service in the Royal Navy; marriage and partnership with the Queen; and the “profound sense of purpose” he brought to all he did, whether promoting environmentalism or the wellbeing of military families.

Statements of condolence were also issued by former presidents. Donald Trump described Prince Philip as defining “British dignity and grace”, and personifying “the quiet reserve, stern fortitude, and unbending integrity of the United Kingdom”.

Mr Trump called his death an “irreplaceable loss” for “all who hold our civilization dear”.

Barack Obama and Michelle Obama met the Duke in London during both terms in office. Mr Obama wrote a personal recollection of a “kind and warm” man “with a sharp wit and unfailing good humour” who alongside the Queen had put them at ease with “grace and generosity”.

In a further message, the former president said: “Through his extraordinary example, His Royal Highness Prince Philip proved that true partnership has room for both ambition and selflessness — all in service of something greater. Our thoughts are with Her Majesty the Queen, the Royal Family, and the British people.”

President George W Bush and his wife, Laura, who hosted the Queen and the Duke at the White House in 2007, offered condolences to the monarch and the entire royal family.

“He represented the United Kingdom with dignity and brought boundless strength and support to the sovereign,” Mr Bush said in a statement.

“Laura and I are fortunate to have enjoyed the charm and wit of his company, and we know how much he will be missed.”

Former president Bill Clinton said: “Hillary and I mourn the passing of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, and we join people from all around the world in giving thanks for his remarkable life of service.  We enjoyed every opportunity we had to visit with him through the years, and will always be deeply grateful for the kindness he showed us.”

A statement from former President Jimmy Carter’s presidential library accompanied a photo of the two meeting at an event: “We are sorry to hear that Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, has passed away. President Carter and other heads of state dined with His Royal Highness and other members of the Royal Family on May 7, 1977, while attending the G7 Summit in London.”

President George W Bush, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip and First Lady Laura Bush wave after an arrival ceremony at the White House in May 2007

(AFP via Getty Images)

News of the death of Prince Philip broke in the US with morning news shows on air or just beginning their broadcasts on the east coast. On CBS This Morning, anchor Gayle King read the contents of the bulletin from the palace before cutting to a prepared video package.

Ms King was later criticised for awkwardly asking a London-based reporter whether the 99-year-old duke had died of natural causes.

A special report cut into programming on NBC with Today hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb in place behind their studio desk to read the statement from Buckingham Palace. The network later cut live to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s statement from outside of 10 Downing Street.

George Stephanopoulos, the anchor of ABC’s Good Morning America, called on the network’s London correspondent Maggie Rulli to provide details from her position outside of Buckingham Palace. Similar scenes played out beyond the major networks and on cable news channels as London-based reporters, royal correspondents, and experts appeared on air to share their thoughts.

Much of the focus was on the Duke of Edinburgh’s long marriage to the Queen, constant support of the monarch, his position at the heart of the family, and his efforts to modernise the institution in the last century.

Most broadcasters and publications also noted his occasional “frank comments”, as The New York Times described them, had tarnished the duke’s image.

Jostling with a number of other major stories — the trial of Derek Chauvin, gun control, the Matt Gaetz scandal, and coronavirus vaccines and variants — the news nevertheless led on most bulletins and websites for the morning.

With the Oprah Winfrey interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle fresh in the minds of many Americans, current tensions within the royal family were also noted in US media coverage.

There is much speculation about the practicalities of funeral arrangements and the potential for family reconciliation, with tabloid The New York Post leading with a story that Harry would return to the UK for the funeral.

On Fox News, host Brian Kilmeade caused a storm online after linking the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s statements in the interview with the death of Prince Philip — comments echoed on the same show shortly afterward by the UK’s former Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage.