It was with a heavy heart that we received the news on Friday (April 9th 2021) of the death of Prince Philip. As Duke of Edinburgh and, of course, the husband of our Queen for more than 70 years, his passing will leave a huge gap in the hierarchy of the British monarchy.
We have grown used to seeing him at public events over the decades, typically a pace or two behind his beloved wife and usually quick to share a joke with one of the many people out to welcome him. Although these quips occasionally landed him in hot water, he was famed for his ability to break the ice for those nervous at being in the royal spotlight.
Prince Philip was also a devoted public servant in his own right and championed a number of good causes in his role as royal consort, particularly those concerned with preserving the natural habitat of the British Isles and beyond.
However, perhaps his biggest achievement and most lasting legacy will be the Duke of Edinburgh Awards, the youth programme he launched in 1956. How many of us have struggled up mountainsides in the pouring rain to secure ‘Gold’ since then is anyone’s guess.
At Majique, we have been watching with interest some of the news reports and programmes commemorating the duke, and we were surprised to be able to learn things about him we hadn’t realised before.
For instance, did you know that he had designed the Queen’s engagement ring and a diamond bracelet as a present for her? Or that, at the funeral of Princess Diana, he had thoughtfully chatted about the history of London to Prince William to take his mind off the public spectacle of the funeral cortege? It has been extremely moving to hear about this more private side of a man who spent so much of his life in public.
Indeed, many people we have spoken to over the weekend said they were more moved than they expected to be upon hearing the news, and we would agree. Perhaps we, as others have also remarked, had subconsciously adopted the Duke of Edinburgh in our minds as ‘the nation’s grandfather’ too, making our sense of loss keener.
It is important to remember, though, that despite Prince Philip’s dedication to his country and his status in the public eye, he was first and foremost a family man – and it is his real family who will now be struggling to adapt without him.
While flags fly at half-mast across the United Kingdom and the funeral is prepared for Saturday (April 17th 2021), our thoughts are with Queen Elizabeth II in particular as she readies herself to continue life without, as she once called her husband, her “strength and stay”.
So, farewell to the indomitable Prince Philip from all of us here at Majique – and thanks for the memories.