Today we remember Prince Philip. A long life of service lived fully and with impeccable distinction, dedication and duty.
It will be a service of thanksgiving, a celebration of his life and achievements.
He really was an astonishing man. The scale of his influence on this country is impossible to overstate – he represented some 700 charities, members of 500 of them are due to attend today’s service, he founded the Duke of Edinburgh Award, his role in conservation and environmentalism showed foresight beyond his era, and, of course, he was instrumental in repositioning Britain on the world stage with the scaling-back of the Empire.
He was our dear Queen’s strength and stay, her rock, his quick whit and sense of fun shone through in that unmistakable twinkle in his eyes.
And a word now for our Queen. Today will be an opportunity to have the kind of send-off that was so cruelly denied originally due to Covid. It is not yet known for certain whether the Queen will be able to attend but one would imagine she’ll do everything within her power to be there.
I think the only thing more sad than the passing of Prince Philip was having to see our Queen sitting there with a mask on at a socially distanced service…many people watching who weren’t already in tears, certainly started welling up when they saw that.
But today will be different. It is set to be a slightly sombre symphony of celebration involving the armed forces, recipients of the Duke of Edinburgh Award and his family.
Unfortunately, not all of his family, though. Representatives from many Royal families around the world will be in attendance, Prince Albert of Monaco, representatives from the old Romanian and Bulgarian thrones, the Prince and Princess of Jordan, the Crown Prince of Bahrain. They’ve bothered to make the journey.
The Queen, who is clearly in her dotage, is expected to be there. She is clearly now incredibly frail and there is talk of her needing a wheelchair. But regardless of her physical frailties she, hopefully, will manage to summon up the strength to pay her respects to her beloved husband.
Meanwhile, Prince Harry will probably watch the ceremony from his Montecito mansion. He is an absolute disgrace and I suspect what little respect was left for him will evaporate with his absence.
Presumably there’s some kind of lucrative after-dinner speaking event or a climate rally to attend, or maybe he’s holding the microphone for Meghan while she records another podcast about micro-aggressions.
But I doubt he’ll be missed, today of course is about commemorating the life of a deeply special man who dedicated himself to a life of impeccable service to his country and family, something Harry would know little about.
Prince Philip’s funeral was a very sad day. Hopefully today will be more of a celebration of a very unique life. His passing also marked the end of a certain era, a tremendous era. A certain type of British chap, strong, stoic, dignified, daring, dashing classy, quick-witted and not afraid to be slightly controversial at times.
Simply put, they don’t make them like Prince Philip anymore.