The end of an era in England in Daydreaming on the Porch

  • April 12, 2021, 5:34 p.m.
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  • Public

Prince Philip

It’s a sad time for the people of the UK. The royal family’s patriarch, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, has died at 99. One could say that was a good, long life. He was the longest serving consort to a British monarch, with 73 years in that role married to Queen Elizabeth. He was known to be involved with 400 charitable organizations and accompanied the Queen on numerous public engagements. He was the father, grandfather and great grandfather to three heirs to the throne of the House of Windsor. He was gruff, unpredictable, and outspoken, but obviously much loved and respected by his family and country.

I’m writing this off the top of my head. The British royal family is one of those rabbit holes from which, once you’ve developed an interest in their history and story, there’s no going back. To reiterate something I wrote recently about my fascination with all this, I’ve been following news of the royal family and the British Commonwealth for 55 years, to be precise, ever since I began collecting stamps from all over the Commonwealth starting in 8th grade. I spent a lot of my hard-earned lawn mowing earnings on stamps. I stopped collecting when I went off to college, but have no regrets. It was a rewarding, educational and calming hobby, considering I was a rather anxious youth. Stamp collecting was therapy for me. So, putting aside all the horrendous imperialism of Britain and its monarchy and governments in the 19th
and 20th centuries, I still consider the monarchy a fascinating institution.

With the death of Philip, the British are saying they’ve lost the country’s father. The queen is the mother. This sounds a bit absurd to people in the US, nevertheless, I guarantee that most people have read or will read news about this family and its decades and centuries-long history of rule, who captivated the “ordinary” mortals among us, as kings and queens throughout history have. There’s something so larger-than-life about them, and now we see just how human and like us they are. They’re not mythical gods and godesses.

So what do we have to ponder about this in-grief family of royals whom people are awed, repelled, befuddled, and/or fiercely devoted to? Here are a few thoughts:

The private and public grief of the Queen who is known for her stoicism

A subdued funeral because of the pandemic

24-hour TV coverage in Great Britain

Interviews with Prince Andrew talking about his late father that make even him sound less pitiable and dishonored than he is.

Prince Philip’s other children and grandchildren giving very moving brief testimonials in advance of the funeral this Saturday. I just read what Princes William and Harry said about their late “granpa” and it was tender and familiar.

Countess Sophie, wife of Prince Edward, the Queen and Philip’s youngest son, giving glimpses of Philips last moments

Additional focus on Prince Charles, the longest serving heir to the throne in British history

And finally, the big question: whether Philip’s death will result in the healing of the massive family rift opened when his grandson, Prince Harry, gave up his royal obligations to live in California with his American-born wife and actor, Meghan Markle.

Only time will tell. But I keep telling myself to remember that this is just a normal family deep, deep down, that just happens to be continuing centuries-long inherited royal family traditions.

ConnieK April 12, 2021

We do the same here with celebrities. Prince dies and everyone's suddenly a Prince fan and mourning a man they never knew. I'm more interested in the fascinating stories of Henry the VIII or Elizabeth I or Mary, Queen of Scots. Ever since I learned about how the Royals are controlled by "The Corporation", I've sort of pitied them all. Birds in gilded cages.

Oswego ConnieK ⋅ April 12, 2021 (edited April 12, 2021)


Yes, I agree, the royals are a “firm” within “The Corporation,” but what a fantastic gilded cage it is they live in with all the pomp and pageantry, and on and on....The Queen in full regalia with jewels and crown is a stunning sight. I mean, they don’t call her “Her Majesty” for nothing. Still, I’m glad I’m just a learned, though landless, peasant! 😌

ConnieK Oswego ⋅ April 12, 2021

Ah, my friend, trust me, all that glitters is not gold. In fact, some of the most wealthy people I know are not any happier or depressed than the rest of us.

Oswego ConnieK ⋅ April 12, 2021

So very true! 🧐

Marg April 13, 2021

The Royal Family fascinates me too but I don’t envy their lives one bit! I do admire how strong a marriage those two had though and stoic though the Queen definitely is, she’s still lost her soulmate of 73 years.

Oswego Marg ⋅ April 13, 2021

Yes. It’s hard to conceive of being married to someone that long. I would imagine she feels she has lost not only her soulmate, but the other half of her very self.

Marg Oswego ⋅ April 14, 2021

Very likely.

Jinn April 15, 2021

I was sad when I heard he was gone but I expected it . He was an interesting, complex man , who had a life that would be a best selling novel. Game of Thrones in real life .. without dragons and a few less battles. :-(

Oswego Jinn ⋅ April 15, 2021

Yes, he was a stolid and stalwart figure. “Keep a stiff upper lip, you know” WWII generation type.

Jinn Oswego ⋅ April 15, 2021

Definitely .

Jinn April 15, 2021

I am sorry for the Queen . It must be a hard loss .

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