Prince Philip was a "renaissance man" who lived his whole life in duty, says royal expert, as death of Duke of Edinburgh aged 99 is announced

A Yorkshire royal expert has hailed the late Duke of Edinburgh as a “renaissance man” who lived his whole life in duty to the wife he was always two steps behind.

Prince Philip’s death was announced earlier today. He died peacefully at Windsor Castle at the age of 99.

Prince Philip’s death was announced earlier today. He died peacefully at Windsor Castle at the age of 99.

Elisabeth Basford, who has written a book on the Queen’s aunt Princess Mary, paid tribute to the Duke’s sense of duty to his wife.

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The Duke and the Queen were married for 73 years, after she fell in love with him as a teenager.

Mrs Basford, who lives in Barnsley, said: “It must have been hard for him to realize that he had to take two steps behind his wife all the time. It shows his commitment to the monarchy, to the institution, that he did that for so long.

“She will be terribly, terribly at a loss because they were married 73 years but also she's known him since she was 13.”

The Duke did not take easily to royal life, according to Mrs Basford, which raised concerns with both of the Queen’s parents.

Mrs Basford said: “I think George VI wasn't terribly keen on him marrying Elizabeth, but over the years he's really shown himself. He had quite a difficult time because the Queen became Queen much sooner than they thought.

“He did quite a lot of revolutionary things in terms of the royal family, he was the one who got the Queen to do more walkabouts when she visited places. He also was the one who got the coronation to be televised.

“I don’t know if consciously or unconsciously he modelled himself on Prince Albert because he was a very much a renaissance man. He pioneered things in British business and he was talking about environmental issues in the 60s.”

The Duke was well known for his caustic remarks at official events that sometimes gave offence, but according to Mrs Basford, they were the marks of a good sense of humour.

She said: “If you look at him as a person and what he has done, you can see that he wasn't a xenophobic person, it's just his dry wit.

“He didn’t suffer fools. If you're a royal person you might encounter a lot of people who are sycophantic and bowing down to you, but I think he was very much his own man.”