Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is remembering Prince Philip as a man of “great service to others” amid the news of his passing on Friday.
The Duke of Edinburgh and husband to Queen Elizabeth II died at the age of 99 after suffering numerous health difficulties in recent years.
“It was with deep sadness that I learned of the passing of The Duke of Edinburgh,” Trudeau said in a statement.
“A man of great service to others — first as a decorated naval officer and later as a dedicated leader in the areas of community engagement and philanthropy — the Duke always sought out the best in people and challenged them to strive for greater heights.”
Trudeau went on to commemorate Philip’s “special relationship” with the Canadian Armed Forces. He had become Colonel in Chief of six Canadian units, Trudeau said, and was named honorary general of the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force. Philip was also an honorary admiral of the Royal Canadian Navy.
That wasn’t the only contribution Philip had made to Canada.
“The global program that bears his title — the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award — has helped empower millions of young people from all backgrounds to realize their greatest potential, and is but one example of his contributions to the social fabric of this country and the world,” Trudeau said.
Philip was also the patron of more than 40 Canadian organizations and had visited Canada as recently as 2013, when, as Trudeau recalled in his statement, Philip was named the “first-ever Extraordinary Companion of the Order of Canada by the Governor General of Canada.”
“Prince Philip was a man of great purpose and conviction, who was motivated by a sense of duty to others. He will be fondly remembered as a constant in the life of our Queen — a lifelong companion who was always at her side offering unfailing support as she carried out her duties,” Trudeau said.
“A family has lost a beloved husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather. The thoughts of Canadians are with Queen Elizabeth II and the members of the Royal Family as they mourn such a significant loss.”
The prime minister also expressed his condolences during a press conference later in the day, where he spoke of Prince Philip’s “many contributions.”
“I know that through the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, he helped empower millions of young people from all backgrounds, including here in Canada, to realize their greatest potential,” he said, adding, “and that’s just one example of his many contributions.”
“Prince Philip will be remembered as a champion for young people, a decorated naval officer, a dedicated philanthropist, and a constant in the life of Queen Elizabeth II,” he said.
Trudeau wasn’t the only Canadian political figure to express their condolences. Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole also issued a statement, calling the death a “deep loss.”
“With the passing earlier today of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Her Majesty the Queen has lost a loving husband and noble consort,” O’Toole wrote.
“The very embodiment of loyalty, honour, and committed service, His Royal Highness will be deeply missed. Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition to the Government of Canada offers Her Majesty, and her family, our deep condolences.”
O’Toole reflected on Philip’s “strong bond” with Canada, his life of “remarkable service” and the Duke’s “strong” support of the Canadian Armed Forces.
“A great man is gone. What remains is Prince Philip’s example of steadfast service during a life of obligation, and a legacy of discreetly performed good works through which our country will be blessed for years to come,” he wrote.
While the Queen’s representative in Canada has recently been replaced following a “scathing” report on allegations of workplace harassment, the man fulfilling her duties on an interim basis — Chief Justice Richard Wagner — also offered his condolences.
“(Philip) valued community, duty and service. He believed in wildlife conservation, volunteerism and supporting young people. A tireless world traveller, he showed that Canada held a special place in his heart by visiting this country more than any other,” Wagner wrote.
“He was a great friend of this country and he will be dearly missed. On behalf of all Canadians, I offer my deepest condolences to the members of the Royal Family.”