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Gun salutes mark death of UK's Prince Philip

Gun salutes across the U.K., in Commonwealth countries and at sea are marking the death of Britain’s Prince Philip on Saturday as military leaders honor the former naval officer and husband of Queen Elizabeth II.

Batteries of cannons in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast and other cities were set to fire 41 rounds at one-minute intervals starting at midday. The Australian Defense Force offered its salute at 5 p.m. local time outside Parliament House in Canberra, and New Zealand planned to give an artillery tribute celebrate on Sunday.

“His Royal Highness leaves us with a legacy of indomitable spirit, steadfastness and an unshakeable sense of duty,’’ said General Nick Carter, chief of the U.K. Defense Staff. “From all of us who serve today and who have served, thank you.”

Members of the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery place empty shells into boxes in advance of firing a 41-round gun salute at Woolwich Barracks, to mark the death of Prince Philip, in London, Saturday, April 10, 2021. Britain's Prince Philip, the irascible and tough-minded husband of Queen Elizabeth II who spent more than seven decades supporting his wife in a role that mostly defined his life, died on Friday. (Daniel Leal-OlivasPool Photo via AP)

Also known as the Duke of Edinburgh, Philip served in the Royal Navy during World War II and once had a promising military career. He joined the Royal Navy as a cadet in 1939 and won mentions during the war for his service aboard the battleship HMS Valiant at Cape Matapan, on Greece’s Peloponnesian peninsula. He rose to the rank of commander before he retired from active duty.

Two years after the war ended, Philip married the future queen at Westminster Abbey when she was 21 and he was 26. His naval career came to an abrupt end when King George VI died in 1952 and Elizabeth became queen.

At the queen’s coronation in 1953, Philip swore to be his wife’s “liege man of life and limb” and settled into a life supporting the monarch. The couple had four children — Charles, the heir to the throne, Anne, Andrew and Edward.

Members of the Honourable Artillery Company fire a 41-round gun salute from the wharf at the Tower of London, to mark the death of Prince Philip, in London, Saturday, April 10, 2021. Britain's Prince Philip, the irascible and tough-minded husband of Queen Elizabeth II who spent more than seven decades supporting his wife in a role that mostly defined his life, died on Friday. (Dominic LipinskiPA via AP)

Members of the public left flowers outside Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle on Saturday, ignoring appeals from authorities and the royal family to refrain from gathering because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Oh, I think everyone’s in shock,” Maureen Field, a 67-year-old Staines resident, said. “ I think everyone would like to pay their respects. Because of the virus, a lot of people have to stay away. He didn’t want a big funeral. He wanted a very private time with his family to say their goodbyes. So, we’ve all got to respect that.”

Associated Press Writer James Brooks contributed

People stroll on The Long Walk towards Windsor Castle in Windsor, England, Saturday, April 10, 2021. Britain's Prince Philip, the irascible and tough-minded husband of Queen Elizabeth II who spent more than seven decades supporting his wife in a role that mostly defined his life, died on Friday. (AP PhotoFrank Augstein)

For AP’s full coverage of the death of Prince Philip go to https://apnews.com/hub/prince-philip

Britain's Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, leave Windsor Castle in their car following the death of Britain's Prince Philip in Windsor, England, Saturday, April 10, 2021. Britain's Prince Philip, the irascible and tough-minded husband of Queen Elizabeth II who spent more than seven decades supporting his wife in a role that mostly defined his life, died on Friday. (AP PhotoFrank Augstein)

People put down flowers at Cambridge Gate on top of the long walk in Windsor, Saturday, April 10, 2021. Buckingham Palace officials say Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, has died. He was 99. Philip spent a month in hospital earlier this year before being released on March 16 to return to Windsor Castle. (AP PhotoFrank Augstein)

People leave flowers near Windsor Castle, one day after the death of Britain's Prince Philip, in Windsor, England, Saturday, April 10, 2021. Britain's Prince Philip, the irascible and tough-minded husband of Queen Elizabeth II who spent more than seven decades supporting his wife in a role that mostly defined his life, died on Friday. (AP PhotoFrank Augstein)

Flower tributes and notes left outside the gates of Windsor Castle, one day after the death of Britain's Prince Philip, in Windsor, England, Saturday, April 10, 2021. Britain's Prince Philip, the irascible and tough-minded husband of Queen Elizabeth II who spent more than seven decades supporting his wife in a role that mostly defined his life, died on Friday. (AP PhotoFrank Augstein)