The death of Prince Philip is one of those moments I shall remember, exactly where I was, when I heard the news. As it was with Princess Diana. I shall not cry as much as I did when then. The days of tears for a lost princess, taken so young – not this time, for a race well run, a life well lived, though sad, is not as heartbreakingly tragic.
Yet, the news draws opinions. We are all so lovingly important in our views of a family thrust into the limelight. All the more when flaws, and family dysfunction is ours to comment upon, being the experts on it all. We love to love, and hate, and criticise as we feel, is our right, for after all, is the Royal British family, not ours, as taxpayers, to dissect, to regale, to give our little two pence worth? Forget the fact that we only read, and take the bits we want to from a story. Or so it seems …
Time to pause. Right to have an opinion. To comment, though on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral, I for one, am grateful to the Royal Family. As a British citizen, following years of arriving, visas, costs and all that, the proudest day was my swearing allegiance to the Crown, the Queen and becoming a British citizen. You had to be there, all of us, immigrants with our own stories, so proud. We were proud.
I was there to see the sea of flowers at Kensington Palace when Diana died. I grieved with all those close. The tales of intrigue, betrayal and intimate scrutiny, mattered not. A family was grieving, in full public view, and how many of us have to endure the same invasion of loss? Tomorrow the world will watch a Queen, having lost her companion, her husband and friend, as part of her role, in full public view. I cannot begin to understand the private to public scene and yet I know, despite the criticism of Prince Philip, the gaffes, the innuendos, we are saying goodbye to a man who played an indelible part in Britain’s history, who gave willingly, supported unconditionally and contributed to our country in his own way. Pragmatic first, personal last.
Of late, yes, negative programmes, stories of woe – claims made. And I think to myself. Do we forget the history, the sacrifice, the intrusion? Do we forget the fortitude during the wars, the many stages of government that come and go, the endless tours and state dinners? Ribbon cutting, balcony posing, the relentless attacks by the press? And still, what remains is the quiet getting on with the job.
Tomorrow, as a British citizen, proud of the monarchy who, in it’s very self is something few countries can claim to, will be a testament to traditions held, despite the very need for privacy at such a time. And I am grateful and honoured to have these traditions, the tales and history of the Royal family. They are not perfect, but they are there for us, as we should be for them.
A friend watched ‘The Crown’ and lamented at the coldness of those involved. Who would ever want to be part of the Royal Family.
The Family. A family. Born or brought into, it is the way it is, and will be. Times have changed, and the Royals with it, still upholding their duties and traditions as we expect. As we expect.
Goodnight Prince Philip. You make me proud to be British. I feel, at times, part of your family, and know that I am, but also not. And that is fine with me. You have served your country well. You have done your duty. Step down soldier. Step down.
Long live the Queen. My Queen. My Royal Family.
Images: The Daily Mail. The Guardian