Newsreaders are wearing black as a mark of respect for Prince Philip

Jennifer Savin
·2-min read
Photo credit: BBC/ITV
Photo credit: BBC/ITV

Today (9 April) the very sad news was announced that Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, has died at the age of 99. Given his prominent position within the royal family, many news channels have dedicated plentiful airtime to Philip, paying tribute to his life and work, and while watching, viewers will have likely noticed that the majority of newsreaders are wearing black.

The reason why newsreaders are wearing black is a relatively straightforward one: it's simply an obvious way of showing respect following the Duke's passing. The Prime Minister Boris Johnson also wore black while paying tribute to Prince Philip today, outside 10 Downing Street.

During his statement, Johnson praised the Queen's husband for his pivotal role in helping the monarchy to maintain its relevance and popularity, both within the UK and abroad: "Like the expert carriage driver that he was, he helped to steer the royal family and the monarchy, so that it remains an institution indisputably vital to the balance and happiness of our national life."

Both ITV and the BBC have cancelled their regularly scheduled programming until 6pm today in order to continue on with their news coverage of Prince Philip.

Newsreaders are not the only ones who will be reflecting the sad news with a change in attire either - it is expected that alongside wearing black jackets, ties or dresses, some other broadcasters will also adopt a black armband, as will MPs in the House of Commons.

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

A pre-prepared black outfit is likely something that many newsreaders will have had on standby, just in case there was a breaking news story involving the death of a royal or high profile person. This custom is also adopted by the royals themselves when travelling – each member of the royal family is expected to pack a black outfit should the worst happen.

Heartbreakingly, this long-standing rule was first established in 1952, after Queen Elizabeth's visit to Kenya with Prince Philip. While there, the then-Princess heard the news that her father, King George, had died – but she didn't have a black dress with her to arrive home in. The Queen had to wait for a dress to be delivered before disembarking the plane, so now members of the royal family always come prepared to ensure they can properly pay their respects if anything were to happen during a trip.

Our thoughts are with Her Majesty and the entire royal family at this very sad time.

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