Barack Obama Prince Philip
Queen Elizabeth II (L) and US President Barack Obama (2ndL) pose with US First Lady Michelle Obama (2ndR) and Prince Philip (R), Duke of Edinburgh, in the Music Room of Buckingham Palace ahead of a State Banquet on May 24, 2011 in London, England. The 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, and his wife Michelle are in the UK for a two day State Visit at the invitation of HM Queen Elizabeth II. AFP PHOTO / POOL

Tributes for the late Duke Of Edinburgh have been published by figureheads from all over the world this weekend. But it was former US President Barack Obama’s words about the type of husband Prince Philip was to Queen Elizabeth II that is striking a chord with women.

While Prince Philip gave up his career to support his wife – an uncommon notion for the times – he is credited with keeping her steady and in turn ensuring the monarchy remained relevant.

On their 50th wedding anniversary in 1997, the Queen acknowledged her husband’s role. “He is someone who doesn’t take easily to compliments but he has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know,” she said.

1953: Queen Elizabeth II waving from the balcony at Buckingham Palace with her husband Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Over the weekend, Obama – who met the Queen and Prince Philip many times during his presidency, along with his wife and First Lady Michelle – talked about the extraordinary example the Royal couple set for a true partnership.

“At the Queen’s side or trailing the customary two steps behind, Prince Philip showed the world what it meant to be a supportive husband to a powerful woman,” wrote Obama when news of Prince Philip’s passing made headlines on April 9, 2021. “Yet he also found a way to lead without demanding the spotlight — serving in combat in World War II, commanding a frigate in the Royal Navy, and tirelessly touring the world to champion British industry and excellence. Through his extraordinary example, he proved that true partnership has room for both ambition and selflessness — all in service of something greater.”

The Duke passed away peacefully – and reportedly “gently” – on April 9 at Windsor Castle. He was 99. The funeral will take place at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle on Saturday, April 17, 3pm local time. It is set to be televised with just 30 guests allowed to attend due to the ongoing health risks in the United Kingdom.

Barack Obama Prince Philip
US President Barack Obama (C) is accompanied by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (R) as he walks to review a guard of honor at Buckingham Palace in London, on May 24, 2011. AFP PHOTO/ JEWEL SAMAD.

Read Obama’s full statement here:

When we first met His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, he and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II had already been on the world stage for more than half a century — welcoming leaders like Churchill and Kennedy; Mandela and Gorbachev. As two Americans unaccustomed to palaces and pomp, we didn’t know what to expect.

We shouldn’t have worried. The Queen and Prince Philip immediately put us at ease with their grace and generosity, turning a ceremonial occasion into something far more natural, even comfortable. Prince Philip in particular was kind and warm, with a sharp wit and unfailing good humor. It was our first introduction to the man behind the title, and in the years since, our admiration for him has only grown. We will miss him dearly.

Barack Obama Prince Philip
US President Barack Obama and his wife First Lady Michelle Obama are greeted by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh after landing by helicopter at Windsor Castle for a private lunch on April 22, 2016 in Windsor, England. The President and his wife are currently on a brief visit to the UK where they will have lunch with HM Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle and dinner with Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge at Kensington Palace. Mr Obama will visit 10 Downing Street on Friday afternoon where he is to hold a joint press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron and is expected to make his case for the UK to remain inside the European Union. (Photo by Jack Hill – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Like the Queen, Prince Philip saw world wars and economic crises come and go. The radio gave way to the television, and the television to the internet. And through it all, he helped provide steady leadership and guiding wisdom. It has long been said that the United States and Great Britain have a special relationship — one that has been maintained and strengthened not just by presidents and prime ministers but by the Royal Family that has outlasted them all.

Credit: Getty Images

At the Queen’s side or trailing the customary two steps behind, Prince Philip showed the world what it meant to be a supportive husband to a powerful woman. Yet he also found a way to lead without demanding the spotlight — serving in combat in World War II, commanding a frigate in the Royal Navy, and tirelessly touring the world to champion British industry and excellence. Through his extraordinary example, he proved that true partnership has room for both ambition and selflessness — all in service of something greater.

As the world mourns his loss, we send our warmest wishes and deepest sympathies to the Queen, their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren; and everyone who knew and loved this remarkable man. 

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