European royals have mourned the loss of their beloved cousin and ‘dear uncle’ Prince Philip, revealing family connections that date back centuries.
King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain telegrammed ‘Dear Aunt Lilibet’ to mourn the passing of ‘Dear Uncle Philip’, who died at Windsor Castle at the age of 99 on Friday.
The familiarity between the British and Spanish royal households are thanks to Felipe’s maternal great-grandfather, King Constantine I of Greece (1868 – 1923), also being uncle to the Duke of Edinburgh.
Born to Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg, Philip’s ancestry was a mix of Greece, Denmark, Russia and Prussia on his father’s side.
His maternal grandmother, Princess Victoria of Hesse, was also granddaughter of Queen Victoria, dubbed ‘Europe’s grandmother’ because of her nine children and many grandchildren marring into other European families.
Queen Elizabeth II announced her husband’s death at midday on Friday as the Union Flag was lowered to half-mast outside Buckingham Palace.
King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain pictured at Buckingham Palace with the Queen and Prince Philip
King Felipe and Queen Letizia telegrammed (above) ‘Dear Aunt Lilibet’ to mourn the passing of ‘Dear Uncle Philip’, who died at Windsor Castle at the age of 99 on Friday
European royals were quick to offer their condolences, with Felipe sharing a touching and personal message to his ‘Dear Aunt Lilibet’ to mourn the passing of ‘Dear Uncle Philip’.
The message expressed ‘all our love and affection’, adding: ‘We shall never forget the moments that we shared with him and the legacy of service and dedication to the Crown and the United Kingdom by your side.’
Game of thrones! How Queen Victoria sat at the centre of a spider’s web of European royal connections
With nine children of her own and 42 grandchildren, Queen Victoria sat at the centre of a spider’s web of royal connections across Europe.
Her husband Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha had dreamt of a Europe held together by family connections, and Victoria was determined to carry out his wishes.
They married their offspring into royal and noble families across the continent, earning Victoria the nickname ‘the grandmother of Europe’.
Eight of their children married into royal houses, starting with Vicky, who wed the Crown Prince of Prussia.
But after Albert’s death in 1861, Victoria retreated from public appearances and became known for wearing black and living in mourning.
Elsewhere, King Harald of Norway added: ‘Our thoughts are with Queen Elizabeth and the rest of her family. We also send our condolences to the British people.’
Harald is a second cousin of the Queen and the first foreign monarch in succession to the British throne, as they both share British King Edward VII (1841 – 1910) and Queen Alexandra (1844 – 1925) as great-grandparents.
King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, who like Her Majesty and Prince Philip is descended from ‘Europe’s grandmother’ Queen Victoria, called the Duke of Edinburgh ‘a good friend of our family [and] a friendship we have placed great value on.’
In a statement, he said: ‘The Queen and I were deeply saddened to learn of the death of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh.
‘Prince Philip has been a great friend of our family for many years, a relation which we have deeply valued. His service to his country will remain an inspiration to us all.
‘We offer our sincere condolences to Her Majesty The Queen, The Royal Family and the people of the United Kingdom.’
King Philippe of Belgium, who is related to Britain’s monarch through Queen Victoria, and Queen Mathilde also shared their sadness over the news of Philip’s passing.
In a joint statement, shared to Instagram, the couple said: ‘Deeply saddened by the passing away of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
‘We wish to express our deepest condolences to Her Majesty The Queen, the British Royal Family and the people of the United Kingdom. We will always cherish the memories of our warm encounters.’
The Queen and Philippe are also both descendants of Christian IX of Denmark, whose six children married into other royal families across Europe, earning him the title ‘father-in-law of Europe’.
Prince Philip’s father, Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark, was the son of King George I of Greece, whose father was Christian IX of Denmark.
Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden (left, alongside Queen Elizabeth, Queen Silvia, and Prince Philip in 1983) also paid tribute, calling the duke ‘a good friend of our family’
In a statement (above), he said: ‘The Queen and I were deeply saddened to learn of the death of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh’
King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands and his wife Queen Máxima also issued a statement honouring the duke’s ‘lively personality’ which they said ‘never ceased to leave an unforgettable impression’.
‘Throughout his long life, he committed himself with dedication to the British people and to his many duties and responsibilities,’ they added.
‘Our deepest and most heartfelt sympathy goes out to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and all the members of the Royal Family.’
The Queen is the fifth cousin twice removed of King Willem-Alexander, because of their relation to Princess Carolina of Orange-Nassau (1743 to 1787).
Another descendant of Princess Carolina, Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, also paid tribute to the late duke, writing on Instagram: ‘Your Majesty, The Grand Duchess and I are deeply saddened to learn of the passing away of your dear husband, Prince Philip.
King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands (with the Queen and Prince Philip in 2015) paid tribute to his ‘lively personality’
King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands and his wife Queen Máxima issued a statement (above) honouring the duke’s ‘lively personality’ which they said ‘never ceased to leave an unforgettable impression’
‘The Duke of Edinburgh’s long standing service for your country is unparalleled, starting in the Royal Navy, where Prince Philip excelled in several battles during the Second World War.
‘He brought the same discipline and intelligence to his activities as Prince Consort and will be fondly and respectfully remembered for his strong support and dedication to Your Majesty, Your family and the United Kingdom.
‘Personally, we hold many great memories of our meetings over the past decades. Not only his earnest commitment to social and environmental causes, but also his wit and humour impressed us deeply. The friendship that Your Majesty and His Royal Highness shared with my late parents still holds a special meaning for my family.
‘Together with the people of Luxembourg, we send Your Majesty, Your family and the people of the United Kingdom our sincere condolences and deepest sympathies.’
Queen Margrethe of Denmark, who is a cousin of Philip as they shared a common ancestor in King Christian IX, and is also thought to be a very close friend of Her Majesty’s, is said to have sent her personal condolences to the Queen.
Norway’s King Harald (pictured greeting Philip with his wife Queen Sonja in 2001) said: ‘Our thoughts are with Queen Elizabeth’
King Philippe of Belgium, who is related to Britain’s monarch through Queen Victoria, and Queen Mathilde also shared their sadness over the news of Philip’s passing (above)
The Queen announced her husband’s death at midday as the Union Flag was lowered to half-mast outside Buckingham Palace.
The Royal Family said in a statement: ‘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.
‘His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle. Further announcements will made in due course. The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss’.
His funeral will be a small family service at St George’s Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle before the duke is buried in Frogmore Gardens, where Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were laid to rest.
The date has not been set officially, but sources claim it could be on Saturday, April 17.