A Prince Indeed

The news today of Prince Philip’s death shocked and saddened me. Like everyone, I knew he was 99 years old. His passing shouldn’t have come as a surprise. He was old by any standard and had been in the hospital recently.

Time and circumstances stack up, though, and the odds go from being against you to overcoming you.

Being typically American, I guess, I didn’t really become interested in Queen Elizabeth’s consort until I watched Netflix’s “The Crown” television series. I then became interested in his life. The more I learned, the more I came to appreciate the role that fell to him, the grace with which he seemed to assume it (most of the time), and the stamina and vigor with which he lived.

His tragic and turbulent childhood forged, by all accounts, a pretty tough cookie. Blunt to the point of profanity, he did not mince words or suffer fools gladly. Long an outsider in the most insular institution on earth, he nevertheless pushed ahead, supported his wife, raised his children (for better or worse, and I like Anne the best), and held up the side.

Racist? Probably. Archaic? Sure, in some respects. Duty bound? Most definitely. Reports estimate that he attended some 22,000 royal events during his 70 years as spouse to the Queen of England and benefactor to hundreds of charities.

People criticized him for being out of touch. They didn’t grow up in his time or live in his world. Some recalled his eccentric and even off-color humor. Many still took him to their hearts over the decades and cried today, hugging each other in the streets, Covid be damned.

I liked him because he dressed with classic style, did his job, kept his personal issues private, and spoke truth to paparazzi.

In an age of self-entitlement, he was titled and entitled, to be sure, but he pulled his weight. He played his part. He carried on.

Now, we must do the same. But there’s a void, it seems. It will take a moment for his memory to fill it.

Farewell, your highness.

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5 thoughts on “A Prince Indeed

  1. A great example in many ways, and a real personality. I love his comments and actions for environmentalism and conservation that were made long before many were aware of the concept

  2. HRH, The Duke of Edinburgh, has been the consort of our Queen longer than I have been alive. His death has been a major news story here, almost all of it has been positive. We have done our share of travel to many parts of the world, but nevertheless we have lived our entire lives in a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentarian system. I did check the American news (New York Times primarily) to see how the world’s largest republic was reporting the Duke’s passing. I was pleased that most of it appreaed respectful.

    He is being remembered here as a friend of Canada and of the Commonwealth. At our local this evening, folks were outside raising their pints. They could really not gather inside the pub as British Columbia is under partial lock-down, so they drank out of doors. We did not go, as it was beastly raining and my wonderful wife can be a bit of a hot house flower with the rain at times, but heard it was well attended. We raised a glass at home.

    I saw Prince Philip once at a business luncheon in Vancouver years ago. It was at a distance but he was dressed exactly as you described, Byron. Good classic woolens for a blustery Vancouver fall day.

    By contrast, I once met Prince Charles here for a Commonwealth event. He was dressed in the same classic style as his father, but I could not help but notice as I progressed through the receiving line, that one of his shoes had been patched on the right side with a square piece of leather.

    The Queen wears solid, brighter colours as she must be seen, even from a distance. The rest of the family, Anne, the Princess Royal especially, is famous for wearing the same classic, timeless clothing items over and over again. Prince Edward, the Queen’s youngest son and his wife also wear their items quite a bit. Most of them are quite frugal, are our Royals.

  3. Nothing like him or the queen, worked endless hours visiting patronages and members of the common wealth. Simple healthy diet by eating what their properties produced also leading a frugal live style. It’s amazing what you can discover about this incredible person and family online. (Outside of that interview with the current generation)

    This brings me to the topic of a solid marriage which the Queen and Prince had. About four generation ago in my family I had a relative that had a number of correspondence with royalty. This was passed down from generation to generation. Until a daughter in the family married what is technically called a bum. This is quite common in the working social class and can bring a family down. You have hard working parents and the daughter will marry someone who doesn’t work. They live with the family as if nothing is wrong and start reproducing. Until people start dying. There I was offering a 35 year grandchild a place to stay because his father spent everything. When I asked what happened to the letters I was met with a blank stare. I stopped all contact.

    Another irony. The most likely last living dependent of George Washington worked as a manager of a Building supply store and King George the III 6x great grandchild just received a 25 million Netflix deal. I can’t picture Prince Phillip doing something like that.

  4. Agree with everything you said, Byron – he led an amazing life. His sense of style was brilliant – especially in the context of the role that he played.

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