Prince Philip died at age 99, he held the position of Prince Consort for the longest time in Great Britain’s history. Elizabeth II’s husband attended more than 22.000 events, in addition to those where he accompanied the Queen. Furthermore, Philip was known for his frank and strong, but also inappropriate opinions.
- The “Grandfather of the Nation”
During his years of life, the Duke of Edinburgh had always done things “in his own imitable way, with a down-to-earth, no-nonsense approach that the British people I believe find endearing”, the Former Primer Minister David Cameron once said. Before getting married, Philip was a member of the British Navy and played an active role in World War II.
The partnership between him and Elizabeth consolidated with their marriage, which was the key to the monarchy’s stability. In 1997, the Queen commented that “he has, quite simply, been my strength and stayed all these years, and I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know.”
Even though he was seen as a supporting member, Philip possessed a leadership spirit that was crucial to his family. Experts say that the only reason why the scandal in which Harry and Meghan left their official positions in the Royal Family has taken on massive proportions is the absence of Philip as a mediator, as he was sidelined due to ill health. According to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, “like the expert carriage driver that he was, he helped to steer the royal family and the monarchy so that it remains an institution indisputably vital to the balance and happiness of our national life.”
The Duke of Edinburgh encouraged approximately 800 organizations, and along with all the tradition coming from Royalty, he won the respect of many British people. Prince Andrew, in his father’s death speech, said that we’ve lost the “grandfather of the nation”.
- A collection of controversial, unsuitable and racist comments
The Prince was also known for inappropriate comments and opinions expressed throughout his life, some of his points of view had racist and xenophobic content. “If you stay here much longer you’ll all be slitty-eyed”, was one of his sayings to British students during a royal trip to China in 1986.
In 2002, visiting Australia, “Still throwing spears?” was the Duke of Edinburgh’s question to an Aborigine. While in 2013, when he met a Philippine nurse, Philip commented that “the Philippines must be half empty as you’re all here running the NHS.”
Prince Philip’s speeches also do not leave aside sexism and fatphobia. He claimed that “British women can’t cook” in 1966 and told a thirteen years old boy who dreamed about visiting space that he was “too fat to be an astronaut”. This collection of controversial comments can explain why groups of people, especially non-British, do not admire him.
- A surprising look into modernity
The Duke of Edinburgh can be considered a controversial man. Despite the wide variety of outdated comments, Philip was one of the only Royal Family members who had a surprising look into modernity, which was a major point for the monarchy’s stable permanence despite the monumental conservatism of manners that circles around it.
The broadcasting of Elizabeth’s coronation on television is behind a strong insistence by Philip, who quickly understood the media’s importance and saw the opportunity to use it as a dissemination element of this extremely important British symbol.
The Prince was also a World Wide Fund for Nature Patron, thus revealing his concern with the environment. Pavan Sukhdev, President of WWF International, said: “The Duke of Edinburgh has been a tireless champion for the environmental cause and passionate ambassador for conservation issues around the world for decades. His Royal Highness helped chart the course of WWF from its very beginning and has truly made enormous contributions to the organization.”
His tangle of opinions and actions, either negative or positive, made Prince Philip an unforgettable man, even after his death.
The article above was edited by Anna Bastos.
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