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.