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Prince William shares new pic of George and Prince Philip in tribute to late grandfather

The Duke of Cambridge remembered his grandfather for his life of service and more in his first comments since Prince Philip's death.
/ Source: TODAY

Prince William called his grandfather "an extraordinary man" whose life was defined by service in his first public comments since Prince Philip's death at 99 last week.

William, 38, released a statement through Kensington Palace on Monday about his grandfather's life along with a never-before-seen photo of Philip and Prince George as the royal family mourns his loss ahead of his funeral on Saturday.

"My grandfather’s century of life was defined by service – to his country and Commonwealth, to his wife and Queen, and to our family," William said. "I feel lucky to have not just had his example to guide me, but his enduring presence well into my own adult life – both through good times and the hardest days."

William has previously spoken about how his grandfather's calming presence helped him endure the hardest moment of his life when his mother, Princess Diana, died in a car crash in 1997 when William was 15.

Philip's steady strength helped convince William and his younger brother, Prince Harry, to walk behind their mother's coffin during the public ceremony mourning her loss. Philip said he would accompany the young boys if they decided to make the difficult walk.

Kensington Palace released this never-before-seen photo of Prince Philip sharing a sweet moment with his great-grandson, Prince George, the oldest of Prince William's three children.
Kensington Palace released this never-before-seen photo of Prince Philip sharing a sweet moment with his great-grandson, Prince George, the oldest of Prince William's three children. The Duchess of Cambridge

Philip also was a doting great-grandfather to William's three children. Kensington Palace released a heartwarming photo, taken by Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, of Philip sharing a sweet moment with his great-grandson, Prince George, 7, the oldest of William's three children with the former Kate Middleton.

"I will always be grateful that my wife had so many years to get to know my grandfather and for the kindness he showed her," William said in his statement. "I will never take for granted the special memories my children will always have of their great-grandpa coming to collect them in his carriage and seeing for themselves his infectious sense of adventure as well as his mischievous sense of humor!"

William also alluded to Philip's sense of duty, which he fulfilled in Queen Elizabeth II's shadow as her husband for 73 years.

"My grandfather was an extraordinary man and part of an extraordinary generation," William said. "Catherine and I will continue to do what he would have wanted and will support The Queen in the years ahead. I will miss my Grandpa, but I know he would want us to get on with the job."

Harry also released a heartfelt tribute to his grandfather on Monday in his first official statement since Philip's death. Last week, Harry and his wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, posted a message to their production company's website that read: “In loving memory of His Royal Highness, the Duke of Edinburgh, 1921-2021. Thank you for your service… you will be greatly missed.”

In Monday's statement, Harry said: "My grandfather was a man of service, honor and great humor. He was authentically himself, with a seriously sharp wit, and could hold the attention of any room due to his charm—and also because you never knew what he might say next."

"He will be remembered as the longest reigning consort to the Monarch, a decorated serviceman, a prince and a duke," he continued. "But to me, like many of you who have lost a loved one or grandparent over the pain of this past year, he was my grandpa: master of the barbecue, legend of banter, and cheeky right ‘til the end.

"He has been a rock for Her Majesty The Queen with unparalleled devotion, by her side for 73 years of marriage, and while I could go on, I know that right now he would say to all of us, beer in hand, ‘Oh do get on with it!'

"So, on that note, Grandpa, thank you for your service, your dedication to Granny, and for always being yourself. You will be sorely missed, but always remembered—by the nation and the world. Meghan, Archie, and I (as well as your future great-granddaughter) will always hold a special place for you in our hearts."

The Duke of Sussex has arrived in the United Kingdom from his home in California and will be in attendance at his grandfather's funeral. The former Meghan Markle, who is pregnant with the couple's second child, stayed at home with their son, Archie.