Whanganui leaders and royal enthusiasts have paid tribute to Prince Philip, who died on Friday just two months shy of his 100th birthday.
Mayor Hamish McDouall said Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, played a pivotal role in the life of the longest reigning British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.
"He's been alongside our Queen her entire reign. He was obviously a great support to her and helped her through some difficult times. My sympathy is with the Queen and to the Royal Family."
The Queen and Prince Philip visited Whanganui for a civic reception in January 1954 during their 1953-54 tour of New Zealand. They also had public welcomes at Marton Junction and Pātea and a ceremonial drive through Hāwera. Prince Philip also attended the funeral service held in Wellington for the victims of the Christmas Eve 1953 Tangiwai rail disaster in which the Wellington-Auckland night express fell into the flooded Whangaehu River, killing 151 people.
McDouall said there was another Whanganui connection with their son, Prince Edward, who spent six months working as a house tutor at Whanganui Collegiate School in 1982.
"He called Whanganui his home for the best part of a year. Our sympathies to Your Royal Highness on the loss of his father comes from the entire district."
The Whanganui District Council will fly its flag at half-mast in line with government protocols.
"It's just a recognition for living a long life."
McDouall said it was easy to overlook some of the experiences Prince Philip had gone through, including being exiled from his birth country of Greece at the age of 1.
"Those things add a blush to his life. Someone who served in World War II. Some of things have been partly forgotten over his 99 years."
He reflected on the personality of Prince Philip, who became famous for gaffes and controversial humour.
"You don't often get that from someone in royalty. My mum had the honour of sitting next to Philip when they were travelling and she was randomly seated next to Prince Philip. He sat down and the main course came out and he looked at it, 'Ugh, salmon for the third time this week'. That was the kind of character he was.
"He lived an extraordinary and privileged life, but he never took himself too seriously."
Whanganui district councillor and Monarchy New Zealand executive member Josh Chandulal-Mackay said Prince Philip's passing was a huge loss.
"The Duke of Edinburgh has been the one constant in [the Queen's] life over the 69 years of her reign. He has been the one rock she has been able to rely on during some trying times over those years.
"He came from a time where the man was the leader of the household. He was willing to step back and support his wife as the sovereign over such a long period of time.
"He has always been the head of the family. He has been one of the core people that has held them together."
The Duke of Edinburgh's Award, a youth award available to 14 to 24-year-olds, had seen a surge of applicants since Prince Philip's death and Chandulal-Mackay expected that to continue for many years to come.
"That is one of his lasting legacies. Because his role over a 70-year period has been primarily to support the Queen, he needed something to ensure his legacy of supporting people to be the best people they can be."
Local royalist Marie Sheppard said it was a sad loss of a true Royal.
"When I first heard, it was quite sad to hear. He has always been by the Queen's side. Loyal and everything."
Although he meant well, Sheppard said the Duke would sometimes put his foot in it for the sake of it.
"He was known for his sarcastic remarks, but at the same time, quite true to what he said as well. He tried to make people feel at ease."
She said the car crash he was involved with in 2019 didn't help his health and could have contributed to his decline.
"He was a brilliant father and a brilliant husband. He was absolutely fantastic, whether he agreed with the Queen or not, he always stuck by her. He has been her rock really."
Sheppard said it would have been quite the scene if Prince Philip had got to 100 years old, when he would have received a letter from his wife.
"I was really hoping he would get to 100."