Sunday, April 11, 2021

Britain's Prince Philip, 'His Royal Highness', Queen Elizabeth's 'Beloved' Husband, Dead at 99 (VIDEO)

I first actually read the news of the passing of "His Royal Highness" at the New York Times, on the app on my iPhone.

And it did still include this headline, which has now been changed by the disgusting "Old Gray Lady, embedded at left, though I tried to "center it," but it messed up all the formatting of the rest...

...And you know, it's no surprise at all, as the New York Times, as much as I do enjoy reading the country's "newspaper of record" (as I do learn a lot there, and sometimes the editors "hit the mark" with real, good, and actual journalistic reporting), it's truly a trash site most of the times these days, with literally no "balance" of views, unless you consider columnists Ross Douthat and David Brooks actual "conservatives"; and don't get me going about the hack, hit piece "journalism" routinely published at that rag (here's looking at you, Taylor Lorenz); and I actually feel bad for longtime N.Y.T. science reporter, Donald McNeil, who was fired by the newspaper, after profusely apologizing, more than once, for simply having a discussion of the "N-Word," which he uttered himself during said discussion with a young person he was responsible for during a field trip to Peru a few years back. 

Here's the piece, with the changed title, though I'm not going to read it all again to see if the editors "fixed" their asinine and stupid editorializing about this truly great and candid Duke of Edinburgh: "Prince Philip, Husband of Queen Elizabeth II, Is Dead at 99."

The Los Angeles Times has a much, much better obituary, which I read in hard-copy yesterday morning, by Kim Murphy, a veteran foreign affairs correspondent, who started her career at the paper, and returned to it recently. And Ms. Murphy, who discusses Prince Philip's notable public and "gaffe-tastic" quips and rejoinders, puts up an overall balanced and well-meaning commemoration to the man, who, one might argue, literally save the British monarchy.    

It was an enduring alliance that outlasted the Cold War, 15 prime ministers, war and peace in Northern Ireland and Britain’s union with Europe — followed by the country’s shattering decision, 43 years later, to leave.

Side by side for as long as most Britons could possibly remember, Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II stood as a reassuring constant even during the most trying or turbulent times, an epic love story that seemed unshakable.

But the longest marriage of a reigning monarch in British history came to an end Friday when the prince — two months shy of his 100th birthday — died at Windsor Castle in England. The flag above Buckingham Palace was immediately lowered to half-staff, and the official announcement of Philip Mountbatten’s death was posted on the palace gates.

“It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen has announced the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement Friday, just after noon in Britain. “His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.”

Standing outside No. 10 Downing St., Prime Minister Boris Johnson praised Philip for a life of service and endurance.

“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,” Johnson said.

“Over the course of his 99-year life, he saw our world change dramatically and repeatedly,” President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden said in a statement. “From his service during World War II, to his 73 years alongside the Queen, and his entire life in the public eye — Prince Philip gladly dedicated himself to the people of the U.K., the Commonwealth, and to his family.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Philip and the queen had been staying at Windsor Castle, west of London. Though he enjoyed robust health for most of his life, he was hospitalized for a month this year, from Feb. 16 to March 16, during which he underwent a heart procedure.

He was treated for chest pains in 2011, was hospitalized for two days in 2017 and was hospitalized again for 10 days in 2018 for a hip replacement. He was forced to give up driving in 2019 — at the age of 97 — after smashing into another car while driving his Land Rover.

Prince Philip never held the official title of prince consort, as did Queen Victoria’s Prince Albert, but he nonetheless was Queen Elizabeth II’s closest confidant, most reliable political advisor and the undisputed master of the royal household for more than seven decades.

Philip was known equally as a curmudgeon and a charmer who could quickly put nervous guests at ease with an easy (and sometimes outrageous) one-liner. Courtiers, his own children and the queen herself backed down under the quick flash of his temper, and guests at Buckingham Palace were expected to stay up to speed with his lively intellect and encyclopedic command of facts or were hastily dismissed as being not worthy of the duke’s time.

While Elizabeth presided over affairs of state, Philip championed dozens of charities, including the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, which has promoted self-reliance, physical development and other personal accomplishments for more than 6 million youths around the world.


He also set down the ground rules for rearing of the royal children, wrote books about horses and equestrian sports, oversaw the palaces and handled hundreds of official engagements every year until he retired from his official public schedule in August 2017. (“Unveil your own damn plaque,” read a cartoon drawn specially for the occasion, to Philip’s delight.) He was nearly always at the queen’s side during more than 73 years of marriage.

“Prince Philip is simply my rock. He is my foundation stone,” the monarch said at a lunch in 1997 honoring their 50th wedding anniversary. “He is someone who doesn’t take easily to compliments, but he has quite simply been my strength and stay all these years, and I and his whole family … owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim or we shall ever know.”

Philip, for his part, seldom talked about his contributions to the royal enterprise, though he was known on rare occasions to reflect on what he had given up to be the man who walks two paces behind the queen, the husband of one monarch and the father of presumably the next, with no historic role of his own.

“It was not my ambition to be president of the Mint Advisory Committee,” he told the Independent on Sunday newspaper in 1992. “I didn’t want to be president of [the World Wide Fund for Nature]. I was asked to do it. I’d much rather have stayed in the navy, frankly.”

His chief contribution in the end was simply to have been there for the queen: a man of keen rationality and wide reading who in some ways intimidated her, who was not legally answerable to anyone and who was available as a voice of reason and dissent when all around had a habit of agreeing with her.

He had a slight reputation for pushiness and being opinionated … and he is as right-wing as ever, but there’s never been the slightest suggestion that he influenced the queen in that way,” said Robert Lacey, the British historian best known for his work on the award-winning drama “The Crown.”

“We can now see he was free to state his own opinions because he had no constitutional responsibilities,” he said. “So that made him a particularly strong and useful pillar for the queen.”

A former government secretary told the Daily Telegraph in 2001 how the Duke of Edinburgh had once quizzed him about a policy issue in his department.

“‘What’s the object of the exercise?’ he asked me. I stumbled through the answer and tried to explain that the aim was a bit of A and a bit of B. ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘but which is it — A or B?’ I replied, probably rather incoherently, that it really was a mixture of both. ‘I’d always thought that what was wrong with this country was that all the best brains went into the civil service,’ said Prince Philip, ‘but that was before I met you!’ — and walked away.”

He also had a knack for the painfully politically incorrect remark. Amid the recession of 1981, as more Britons sought public assistance, he observed: “Everybody was saying we must have more leisure. Now they are complaining they are unemployed.” When the royal couple were introduced in 2002 to a teenage army cadet who had been blinded in an Irish Republican Army bombing, the queen asked the 15-year-old boy how much sight he had left. “Not a lot, judging by the tie he’s wearing,” Philip quipped, as the crowd fell silent.

But Philip was also the ultimate salt-of-the-earth English country gentleman. Royal hunting weekends would not be complete without the sight of Philip, his head wreathed in smoke, barbecuing the day’s take of pheasants. He was an enthusiastic sailor, polo player and carriage driver who went bolting with his horses around the royal estates until well into old age, when Elizabeth begged him to give it up. (The Daily Mail carried photos of the prince once again at the reins of his carriage in November 2017, prodding his horses around Windsor Castle at the age of 96.)

There's still more at the link.

And Fox News' report from Friday:

I'll try to put up some more entries tonight or tomorrow.

Thanks for reading. (I'm watching Sunday Night Baseball, and I'm looking forward to a "normal" season, hopefully, and I plan to take my family to as many Angels games as possible, as that's, really, the best kind of "family therapy" I can think of.)