The Buckingham palace along with the world is mourning the loss of Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip. He has been the longest-serving consort in the history of the British monarchy. Being a complete outsider to the British royal traditions and having successfully served the royal duties for such a long time is no simple achievement and this needs to be celebrated. The life of the royals has always been a public affair with paparazzi around the castle and the news channels picking up instantaneously. When the news of HRH’s death broke on April 9th, the immediate question that came into my mind was “Why was he not referred to as King Philip but Prince Philip”? Little did I know that “Kings always reign “and one can chalk this to their patriarchy. With such strong royal traditions, Prince Philip stood strong as a pillar behind his queen in delivering her royal duties for over 70 years.
Prince of Greece to the Duke of Edinburgh
Prince Philip was born in Corfu, the Greek island on 10 June 1921. He was a royal himself born to Prince Andrew of Greece and Princess Alice, great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria. Prince Philip was a handsome 25-year-old man serving the naval when he first met the then Princess Elizabeth. With the announcement of their engagement coming in 2 years after the World War, mixed emotions were surrounding the news. The marriage had initial struggles since Prince Philip was a complete outsider to the royal traditions, but princess Elizabeth stood firm on her decision to marry the prince of Greece.
“Lilibet is the only thing in this world which is absolutely real to me and my ambition is to weld the two of us into a new combined existence”- wrote Prince Philip about Princess Elizabeth to his mother-in-law . “Philip is an angel – he is so kind and thoughtful”- wrote princess Elizabeth to her parents, and both Prince Philip and Princess Elizabeth were deeply in love. The nation and the royals felt that this wedding in the November of 1947 came as a festive moment after the wartime austerity. The queen and the Duke had their son ‘Prince Charles’ immediately after their marriage and Princess Anne 2 years later; Prince Andrew and Prince Edward were their younger siblings. HRH loved traveling around the world with the queen, and the seasonal Alphonso mangoes delivered just ripe from India where one of his favorite treats.
With the untimely demise of King George in 1952, the British throne was acceded by princess Elizabeth who became Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and she has been the longest-serving monarch since then. With Queen Elizabeth on the throne, Prince Philip became the ‘Duke of Edinburgh. To allow the queen to perform her royal duties, the duke had to always maintain a 2 feet distance behind her, which is not easy for any man let alone being a commanding officer in the marine. To balance this, the royal couple had made early accommodations in their marriage giving the duke complete power in their private family affairs, which aided in a long successful marriage.
His Royal duties
HRH’s service during World War and his contribution towards the country and Commonwealth deserves a special mention. He was regarded as a man of great purpose and conviction by many world leaders. His interest towards wildlife conservation needs a special mention . ‘The Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme’, a charity by Prince Philip has benefited many in the country. Also as part of the common wealth tradition, the royal couple had to undertake many official international visits representing the British empire.
Prince Philip, also had a lighter side in addition to his royal responsibilities. The duke’s tongue-in-cheek attitude in referring to himself as “the world’s most experienced plaque unveiler” and calling “Beijing a ghastly city” was received with mixed feelings. Though many believed his remarks were quite flippant, there was always a crowd enjoying his sense of humor. Prince Philip, being an outsider himself in the early stages, was quite empathetic towards princess Diana and could understand her battling emotions in understanding the British royal traditions. HRH was quite attached to his grandchildren Prince William and Prince Harry after their mother Princess Diana’s death and even accompanied them to their mother’s funeral. The royal family faced the lowest point in their reign during Diana’s death until the recent Megan Markle and Harry’s interview with Oprah Winfrey. Prince Philip stood by the Queen during such tough times. Having served for the longest time as Consort in British history, Prince Philip officially retired from his royal duties in 2017.
His Final Days
Prince Philip, being quite unwell for a prolonged period of time, passed away peacefully on the 9th of April 2021,at the age of 99. Leaders from all over the world mourned the loss of the Duke and remembered him for his extraordinary tenure in Royal duties. Messages of Strength during these tough times were passed on to the Queen, who had the Duke as a pillar of support.
World Leaders remembering Prince Philip
Boris Johnson(PM,UK) :HRH earned the affection of generations here in the United Kingdom, across the Commonwealth and around the world.
Narendra Modi (PM, India): My thoughts are with the British people and the Royal Family on the passing away of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. He had a distinguished career in the military and was at the forefront of many community service initiatives. May his soul rest in peace.
Joe Biden(President , The US):Over the course of his 99-year life, he saw our world change dramatically and repeatedly. Jill and I are keeping the Queen and Prince Philip’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren in our hearts during this time.
George W Bush: Laura and I are saddened to learn of the passing of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, Laura and I are fortunate to have enjoyed the charm and wit of his company, and we know how much he will be missed.
With the passing away of the Duke of Edinburgh, it is the Beginning of the End of an Era.
:I Seward (2017)- My Husband and I: The Inside Story of 70 Years of the Royal Marriage(abstract)