To celebrate the upcoming 90th Birthday of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, which takes place on June 10th, I will be posting a series of articles on Queen Elizabeth’s husband and consort. The following, published on June 2nd is an excerpt from Peter Oborne of London’s, The Daily Telegraph:
The Duke of Edinburgh at 90: Prince Philip’s Exemplary Life Can Be an Inspiration to All of Us
“The colossal importance of the Duke of Edinburgh, who celebrates his 90th birthday next week, is that he has defied the spirit of his time. This is why, for most of his adult life, he has been forced to endure such hostility and contempt…
He has always been happy to walk a step behind the British monarch. Always, he has offered her unfailing support. Never once has be caused her embarrassment or got her into trouble. At this late stage of her long reign, it can be confidently stated that Queen Elizabeth II has been one of the great monarchs in our history: that achievement simply would not have been possible without the Duke of Edinburgh.
There has never been the slightest hint of scandal, or any reproach against his personal integrity. Over a span of six decades, this is also extraordinary. And yet he never surrendered his personality while carrying out his self-effacing task. He has been one of the most vivid figures in our national life, with a unique ability to project his own personality.
It is very easy to say what he stands for: duty, service, discretion, kindness, concern, eccentricity. His commitment to the cause has been exemplary. Until last year, when he cut down for health reasons, he was still carrying out well over 300 engagements a year. No wonder the political and media classes that have gradually taken control of Britain over the past few decades have so much contempt for the Duke…
For the Duke, his formative years were the 1940s. He served in battleships and destroyers throughout the Second World War, being mentioned in despatches, was involved in the Allied invasion of Sicily and was in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese surrendered. Returning to Britain, he wooed and won the Queen.
That generation of the 1940s made terrible and, to us, unthinkable sacrifices. They risked their lives again and again, at home and on the frontline, and knew death and destruction in the struggle against fascism. They had very few material comforts (Prince Philip had to borrow a suit when he first visited Balmoral) and perhaps it is true that some of their humour was a little uncouth. My own feeling is that they were the greatest generation of Britons there has ever been, and that Prince Philip, like so many of his contemporaries, has a great deal to teach us as he approaches his 90th birthday.”